FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Coconino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved amendments to the County’s annual Winter Parking Ordinance at their regular meeting on Tuesday, November 15, 2022; amendments that will enable the Sheriff’s Office to enhance enforcement during the winter recreation season with the goal of increasing public safety on County roads and rights of way.
Each year during the Winter season, Coconino County becomes a recreation destination for many visitors from across Arizona, nationwide, and internationally. With numerous natural areas suited for snow play located close to County-maintained roads, rights of way, and private property, Coconino County Sheriff Jim Driscoll believes the added enforcement is necessary to ensure the public’s safety.
“We’ve seen an exponential increase in the amount of traffic associated with snow play on Highway 180 north of Flagstaff and also in neighborhoods like Kachina Village, Mountainaire, Munds Park, and along Lake Mary Road,” Sheriff Driscoll commented during the public meeting. “The increased visitation has brought with it an increase in parking violations, traffic congestion, litter, and even trespassing on private property which sometimes leads to confrontations between visitors and residents.”
Coconino County has had a seasonal parking ordinance in place since 1986, which addressed removal of vehicles from County roads to ensure proper plowing and snow removal. The ordinance was modified in 2017 to add verbiage specific to violations associated with the increase in snow play visitation. This year’s amendment, which will now take effect on December 15, 2022, further enhances the Sheriff’s office’s ability to enforce violations and clarifies that the registered owner of a vehicle in violation of the ordinance is the responsible party.
“What we’re trying to do is create areas that are managed appropriately, to increase safety around roadways, and reduce the potential negative impact to our neighborhoods,” added District 3 Supervisor Matt Ryan.
In January of this year, an 11-year-old boy visiting Flagstaff from Mexico was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle while trying to cross Highway 180, where parking and snow play are prohibited.
In addition to the amended ordinance, Coconino County’s Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with Discover Flagstaff, the City’s tourism office, and other regional partners to develop a winter recreation educational campaign with materials to guide visitors to approved and appropriate snow play areas, with prohibited areas and no-parking zones also clearly identified.
“Coconino County Parks and Recreation is committed to supporting safe, fun, and responsible winter recreation. Please remember to travel safely, follow parking ordinances, and pack out trash and sleds so that everyone can enjoy winter recreation,” added Parks and Recreation Director Cynthia Nemeth.