Meeting to discuss parking fees at popular hiking trails draws big crowd

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Parks and Recreation department held a meeting Thursday to discuss the idea of parking fees at popular hiking trails.

Right now the trails would be at Echo Canyon, Piestewa Peak and at South Mountain.

The fee would be $4 an hour.

Most hikers told ABC15 they’re opposed to the fee. Robert Gomez said he’s tired of seeing parking meters pop up in Phoenix. "Why have to deal with parking meters? They're already downtown. They’re everywhere. Not at the parks."

There was no decision or any action taken at the meeting. It was a discussion and a call to the public for comment.

People filled the city council chambers, most waiting to talk in opposition to the fee.

Parks and Recreation officials say the fee is to help manage the heavy flow of people visiting those trails. They claim it’s led to traffic concerns, parking problems, erosion on the trails and widening of the original trails.

Brian Caldwell says he’s fine with the. “It's realistic to charge what's fair to maintain the park," Caldwell said.

Officials also say they want to highlight the lesser utilized trail in the city. This may work for Gomez. “"It would probably open my eyes to other options."

Parks and Recreation board meetings are held every fourth Thursday of the month except November and December. They’ll be in city council chambers at 200 West Jefferson at 5 p.m.

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