Pay-to-park plan scrapped at popular Phoenix trailheads - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

UPDATE

Pay-to-park plan scrapped at popular Phoenix trailheads

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Less than 24 hours after a group of Phoenix residents gave the city an earful about plans to start charging hikers to park at popular trailheads like Piestewa Peak, Echo and Pima Canyons, the city announced it's scrapping the idea.

"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," city spokesman David Urbinato said.

If the proposal had passed, people would be paying up to $4 an hour to visit the city's most popular trails.

On Thursday night parks officials took public comment at council chambers. It was a packed house with more than 60 people speaking, and none of them were in support of the idea of meters.

"It's going to make people who are using the parks very upset. All of the money that would come from the parking meters would go to the general fund. It does not upkeep the park system whatsoever," said concerned citizen Timothy Sierakowski.

Anna Trumble lives near the Echo Canyon trailhead. She told CBS 5 News that parking meters would push people to park in the nearby neighborhoods.

"They're there to take a two mile hike. What's another 300 yards to them," said Trumble.

"Really the number one thing we could do especially at Echo Canyon and Piestiwa Peak is a shuttle service," said Sierakowski.

Others offered solutions to help generate money such as business sponsorship of the parks and crowd funding.

Suggestions like community cleanup days and stewardship programs were mentioned in an effort to help keep litter off the trail.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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