The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is no longer considering putting parking meters at hiking trails, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of residents.
“Parks and Recreation Department staff has heard from hundreds of residents over the past several weeks, including more than 60 that spoke at the Aug. 28 Parks and Recreation Board meeting, on ways to manage crowding at heavily used hiking areas, especially the Echo Canyon area of Camelback Mountain,” said a statement from the department. “Because of public feedback opposing the addition of parking meters, the department will continue to work with its contracted consultant and the Parks and Recreation Board over the coming months to identify other management tools to address crowding and trail and resource impacts and improve the visitor experience at Echo Canyon, Phoenix Mountains Park (Piestewa Peak Summit Trail access) and the Pima Canyon area of South Mountain.”
The efforts against putting up parking meters were lead by City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. His office passed out more than 1,500 flyers to hikers on the trails letting them know about the proposal.
“In the past week, more than 500 people have taken the time to contact my office to voice their opposition to this senseless plan,” he said in a statement Friday. “I have fought hard to ensure that their voices were heard, and am very pleased that the City has listened and reversed course. This is great news for our taxpayers and our parks system, but this proposal should never have been brought up in the first place. Instead of looking at internal efficiencies, City management has instructed departments to find new ways to raise revenue from hardworking taxpayers. Because of that, this proposal to grab more money from Phoenix residents is likely the first of many. ”
DiCiccio said the city collects enough revenue to solve the problem internally but the city also spends too much each year. This past year, Phoenix brought in the second highest amount of revenue in its history and this year is expected to bring in the highest revenue in history, DiCiccio said.
The Parks and Recreation Department will continue to seek public input on ways to maintain the city’s most popular trails.