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PD cracking down on illegal parking near Camelback Mountain

PHOENIX -- Police will soon start cracking down on hikers who park their car illegally near Camelback Mountain.

The Echo Canyon and Cholla trails are popular for hikers, especially on weekends and in the early morning. That can cause traffic jams in the area. Signs were erected this week warning police will ticket or tow vehicles along nearby McDonald Drive, where police have received reports of jams.

"Stopping in the middle of the road and blocking traffic has always been not allowed," said David Urbinato with the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. "Now with the signage, and with the fact that cars are blocking traffic, (police) going to be out there more consistently to make sure that traffic keeps moving and neighbors can get in and out of their house. It's just not safe to have traffic backed up to where it wasn't meant to be."

They'll also ticket drivers who stop in parking lots near the entrance while they wait for parking spots to open up. Urbinato said that if a parking lot is full, motorists must move on and completely leave the parking lot, then return to look for a spot later.

Urbinato offered a suggestion.

"Throw a bike in the car, park your car a few miles away, then bike up to the trailhead," he said. "We've got dozens of bike racks for you to park your bike. You can also have someone drop you off. That way you don't have to worry about parking. You can just ask them to pick you up in a few hours."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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