LINCOLN — Following years of safety concerns about illegal parking by hikers headed to nearb…
So far, said DOS Commissioner Robert Quinn, no one has been ticketed.
What the state police are doing in Franconia Notch, he said, is education, not enforcement.
“Parking there is not legal,” Quinn said, “and it’s not safe.”
Victoria Sheehan, the commissioner of the NHDOT, said the parkway is a busy place and that her agency views the hiker shuttle as “the safer alternative.”
DNCR Commissioner Sarah Stewart said there have been 1,200 riders in the five weeks that the shuttle has been running and that even though the state charges $5 per rider, it has lost money.
While DNCR is “looking at other appropriate ways of generating revenue to support the shuttle system,” the department nonetheless backs it, said Stewart.
“We believe that in spite of the financial loss in the short term, the program has been a great success,” Stewart said, “because it has provided a safe alternative to parking on the highway while still allowing visitors to get to their favorite hiking trails.”
Taylor Caswell, the BEA commissioner, said the shuttle initiative “is a prime example of multiple agencies and stakeholders coming together to develop a positive solution with minimal impact on the visitors' experience.”
FRANCONIA -- Despite losing nearly $10,000 so far and projected to lose another $40,000 this season, the state says a hiker shuttle has helped eliminate dangerous, illegal parking on the Franconia Notch Parkway.
On Monday, representatives of White Mountain National Forest and the Appalachian Mountain Club, along with reps from the state departments of Business and Economic Affairs, Safety, Transportation, and Natural and Cultural Resources, gathered for a brief update on the hiker shuttle at the Lafayette Place Campground.
Located on the west side of the parkway, the campground is opposite the parking lot on the east side for the Bridle Path/Falling Waters trails. Both venues are extremely popular and in the past have resulted in drivers parking on the parkway when the parking lots were full.
Recognizing the inherent danger of people leaving their vehicles on the parkway and then, in some cases, crossing the road to get to their recreational destination, the DNCR’s Division of Parks and Recreation last summer began running a shuttle from the state-owned Cannon Mountain ski area.
The shuttle was brought back this year, with the DOT installing bollards and roping in the parkway to deter parking, and with state police enforcing the parking ban. The DOT last year set up electronic signs directing drivers to park in the approved lots at Cannon.
Under state law, the parkway is deemed a restricted access highway where parking, stopping and standing are illegal and punishable by a $62 fine.