Motorists ticketed for parking on Grand County roads
Ryan Summerlin July 25, 2012
A sign posted near the Idlewild Trail and Winter Park Ranch that indicated no parking was permitted on county roads cited the wrong state statute, but seven motorists received tickets any way.
Two locations where tickets were issued are at the intersections of County Roads 8514 and 8515 and County Roads 830 and 8350.
A Grand County resident voiced concerns at the July 10 Board of County Commissioners meeting by saying the ticketing sends a message that Grand County is generating revenue by ticketing cars parked on county roads.
“Grand County does not generate revenue for writing citations,” said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.
The Sheriff’s Office prefers not to write tickets due to the fact that they do not generate revenue from citations and also that it takes deputies off of the road and requires them to be present in a courtroom, Johnson said.
Fines from the tickets go to the state, he said.
While the wrong statute was cited on one sign, the proper statute was identified on the other sign.
The sign was taken down following the recommendation of the commissioners because it was misleading.
“It was never the intent of the commissioners to have no parking on county roads,” said James Newberry, Grand County commissioner for District 1.
A state statute does exist that allows the county to control parking on county roads, according to county officials. The commissioners will discuss when and where it would be appropriate to implement such rules at their meeting scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Aug. 7, Newberry said.
County roads with tight curves or steep hills may be subject to no parking rules and the rule could be used during the winter to ensure that snowplows can complete their job without interference, he said.
One of the areas that will be looked at by the commissioners is the intersection of County Roads 830 and 8350.
“It was on a bad corner where people were parking,” Johnson said. “They were having trouble making it around the corner with snowplows during the winter.”
There was an accident in the past in which a snowplow clipped a car parked at the trailhead, Johnson said.
Idlewild Trail is a popular trail used during both the summer and winter months.
The Forest Service would like to keep the trail open and accessible, Johnson said.
“There is always a lot of effort on building and maintaining the trail, and we like to have trails. However, there is little effort put into the parking at the trailhead,” he said.
“If we don’t try to enforce it in the summer it causes more problems for the winter,” he said.
“You would be surprised how one vehicle parked on the road can cause a lot of problems for snowplow drivers,” he said.
In total seven tickets written at the two locations, each totaling $24.50 in fines and surcharges, during the months of June and July.
Individuals who received the tickets are still liable to pay the fees or to show up in County Court to fight the ticket, Johnson said.
Even though the two signs had differing statutes, the proper statute was written on each ticket, Johnson said.