(KFYI News) – The Phoenix Parks Board meets next week to discuss a proposal to install parking meters in the parking areas of the city's most popular hiking trailheads.
The idea of "fee-based parking" was approved by the Parks Board in 2010 but never implemented. Now, with a looming city budget deficit, the idea is being revived to bring in extra revenue.
Deputy Parks Director Ken Vonderscher says the proposal would be for meters at only three trailhead parking lots: Echo Canyon at Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, and Pima Canyon at South Mountain.
"We have 37 others that range from moderately used to lightly used," he says, adding that the cost of parking could sent some hikers to some of those lesser-used trails where parking will continue to be free. "To a certain extent, it spreads the usage out."
The Parks Board held an open house this week where people could find out and ask questions about the plan, which met heavy resistance.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio says it's outrageous. "We estimated that if you hiked every day, it could cost you close to $1,500 a year just to enjoy our mountains."
Vonderscher says no decision is expected at next Thursday's Parks Board meeting where the proposal will be discussed. However if it's eventually approved, he says the "fee-based parking" could be implemented sometime this fall.