Adot Purloins Pine Parking

State bars use of Highway 87 shoulders, businesses cry foul

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Arizona Department of Transportation’s decision to ban parking on both sides of Beeline during the July 4th Arts and Crafts Festival created a town-wide stir that drew complaints from vendors, visitors and sponsors.

“ADOT thinks they can come in and destroy our events and unless we are able to stop them, they will destroy the events,” said longtime Strawberry resident Christy Powers, also a member of the Mountain Village Foundation that hosted a pancake breakfast at the festival.

The ADOT ban disallowed parking 30 feet from the center of Beeline on both sides of the highway for about a 100-yard span in front of the Pine Community Center where the festival was held.

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Since the inception of the summer holiday festivals decades ago, those areas have been prime parking spots, especially for the elderly and the handicapped.

Without those locations, drivers scoured town searching for a parking spot.

The post office turned into a popular site, but the influx of cars, trucks and RVs prevented many Pine residents from picking up their mail for two full days.

ADOT’s ruling also said Beeline could not be obscured by vendors who in past years had set up shop on both sides of the highway where they’d hock fry bread, hot dogs, drinks, paintings, sculptures and novelty items.

Vendors, along Beeline and in the community center, were furious.

“They were very unhappy and most of them said they wouldn’t come back,” said Powers. “The whole thing stinks.”

The first inkling Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild members had the restrictions were going to be implemented came during a meeting more than a week ago with ADOT officials.

“We were told there had been five or so complaints over several years from people passing through that they were delayed going through Pine,” Powers said.

In addition to the Arts and Crafts Guild having to restrict parking, they also set up flashing message lights at both ends of town warning motorists to slow down.

Gail Jones of the Arts and Crafts Guild realizes that people were upset, especially the street vendors, but revealed the guild will working to rectify the situation before the Labor Day show, “We are hoping all issues are resolved soon.”

Comments

DONNA LAWRENCE 2 months, 3 weeks ago

That will hurt our community a lot. They need to revise this decision. There is no where else to park.

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Ronald Hamric 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm kind of conflicted on this issue. Having watched what started out as a venue for local artisans to offer their arts and crafts skills, has turned into more of a "Swap Meet" type of atmosphere where numbers of folks from places other than Rim Country come to hawk merchandise. I mean now we even see someone selling fiberglass spas/hot tubs.

And I am one of those who wonder when law enforcement, from any agency, is going to actually enforce the parking regulations in and around the Post Office parking lot where it clearly states "Postal Patron parking Only". Not all of us participate in these "events" yet we are impacted by that 10% in every group who simply think the same laws they would obey in "the Valley" simply do not apply up here in "Hicksville". And they are certainly right when it comes to enforcement of those laws.

My recommendation would be for the Guild to look into providing some sort of arrangement with some of the larger vacant lot owners to set up off the thruway parking for the attendees. That we may not see a return by those that are clearly now impacted from setting up within the highway right of way, will perhaps return us to what the venue was meant to be all along. A place for local artisans to display and sell their crafts. Anyone who hasn't noticed the change in the "character" of these events over the 18+ years I've been here, simply have not been paying attention. I would hope that we can somehow get back to the type and size of "festivals" that this all started out as. The fact that it has reached this point should not fall on deaf ears and those in charge can certainly find some resolution to the current conflicts/issues.

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