In the first test of new "Emergency Parking Only" signs along Highway 180, Highway Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers wrote a dozen tickets over the snowy weekend.
According to Trooper James Carne, 12 tickets for parking citations were written on Highway 180 between mileposts 221 and 233 on Saturday and Sunday.
In order to control some of the traffic and snowplay along the highway, new signs reminding motorists that only emergency parking was allowed along Highway 180 were put up this winter by the state.
Coconino County also approved an ordinance this winter prohibiting parking along county roads in winter, and deputies were shooing visitors out of neighborhoods along Highway 180, he said. Deputies weren’t giving out citations but were mainly warning people they couldn’t park along the roadside and asking them to move along.
Violations of either law comes with a stiff fine. Motorists parking along Hwy 180 can be fined $168. Motorists violating the county’s parking ordinance can be fined $200.
Coconino County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Rex Gilliland said deputies were busy all over the county last weekend helping stranded motorists, responding to slide offs and accidents. Over the weekend of Jan. 20-21, deputies responded to 11 calls for non-injury accidents, 17 injury accidents, 18 motorist assists and three public assists.
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Gilliland said the last two categories could include some accidents or giving motorists and their passengers a ride back to town after they got stuck in the snow or mud on a U.S. Forest Service road. Deputies will give people a lift back to town if they get stuck, he said. But they do not pull vehicles that are stuck out of the mud or snow. You have to call a tow truck for that.
Deputies were called in from the Williams district to help cover some of the calls that came in but no off-duty offers were called in. Some deputies were held over after the end of the shift during the busiest hours.
Arizona Snowbowl had good weekend traffic during its 80th anniversary season. The ski and snowboarding resort saw 11 inches of snow over the weekend according to an email from Snowbowl General Manager J.R. Murray. The resort has seen a total of 29 inches this season.
And all of the lifts have been operating every day since the beginning of January, he said. More than half of the ski trails are also open for visitors to enjoy.
Looking to the coming weekend, Nordic Village is preparing to rent more snowshoes and open up its snow play area. However, the ski trails have become a little rough with the warm weather and they won’t be renting skis. They also have few yurts and cabins available.
Ed.note: this story has changed from its original.