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Phoenix drops proposal to install parking meters at popular trailheads

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix has dropped a proposal to install parking meters at three popular hiking trailheads, Councilman Sal DiCiccio confirmed with KTAR on Friday.

On the heels of Phoenix raising rates and extending meter hours, the city considered putting hourly meters at the Echo Canyon, Piestewa Peak and South Mountain trailheads, which would have affected roughly 9 percent of parking across all of the city’s preserves, said David Urbinato with Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Following an open house on Aug. 20 to hear public comment on the proposal, the city hired a consultant to study parking at the trailheads and report back to the parks department board for evaluation, Urbinato said. The board continued to hear public comments up until dropping the proposal just before Labor Day weekend.

New meters would have acted as a source of revenue for the city. Funds collected from the meters would have gone into the city’s general fund, according to Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who added he was highly opposed to the proposal.

“I think it’s great news for people that love our city parks,” DiCiccio said about Friday’s decision, “but I think it’s bad news long term for the citizens of Phoenix. Staff has a mandate that they’re going to go out there and raise taxes and fees on the public — even though the city of Phoenix is going to realize more revenue this year than it ever has in the history of its existence.”

The councilman called the decision to drop the proposal a victory for taxpayers, but he said city workers and some councilmembers will continue looking to raise taxes “in every other area.” He cited streets and the water department as examples of what the city will target next.

“City and staff cannot justify these fee and tax increases that they’re going to be pushing forward on everybody else,” he added.