Grand Canyon Parking: A Common Sense Solution to Everyday Problems    page 2

A Short-term parking proposal add 1850 spaces

Currently, there are some 2400 parking spaces in the South Rim Village area.  The addition of 1800 spaces would raise this total to 4200, well above the current plans with regard to parking in Tusayan, which would require a bus/train to shuttle visitors into the park. [1]  These additional spaces can be added exactly where visitors most seem to want them (as shown by Appendix 1).  Specifically:

Mather Point Extend the overlook and parking area all the way to the Yavapai Observation Station, quadrupling the capacity.  Reroute the road to parallel this area, allowing for easy entry/exit from this parking at numerous points.  If the road is pulled back from rim an additional 100 feet, this would allow for the addition of 2 more rows of parking, further doubling this capacity.  Total parking in this area could accommodate 450 to 900 additional vehicles. [2]  Ideally, some separation of the parking from the rim would help screen off the viewpoint.  One can easily imagine a landscaped rim view extending from Mather Point to Yavapai Point.  See a very rough approximation of this location in Appendix 2.

Old Visitors Center Restore visitor parking and services here.  Move park service personal elsewhere.  Redesign to add 50-100 spaces east of the old visitors center.  Also, add spaces in old gas station area.  Total additional spaces estimated to be 250.  See Appendix 2.

Bright Angel Lodge Area Reroute West Rim Drive so that it is accessed via the Maswik Lodge area.  Add parking to the west of the current interchange area, which is expandable over time.  Additional spaces here estimated to be 700.  See a very rough approximation of this in Appendix 3.

Long-term parking proposal add 3300 spaces

The final GMP had envisioned parking for some 3,262 vehicles at the new visitors center - CVIP.  This would seem to be an ideal area to allow for the gradual expansion of parking to accommodate increased visitor flows over time, without serious disruption of existing visitor travel patterns.  This would bring total South Rim Village area parking up to approximately 7,500 spaces. [3]

Other parking proposals

While this proposal focuses on the key concern of parking in the Grand Canyon Village area, there are additional areas that can better serve the visitor by expanded parking.  These would include the West Rim Drive, the East Rim Drive and the South Kaibab Trailhead/Yaki Point area.  While the details for these areas can be glossed over for now, the major improvement in this regard can be made in the Yaki Point area, which serves the South Kaibab Trail.  An addition of at least 200 spaces here should be part of any overall plan.

[1] The NPS wants to build a lot accommodating about 3500 vehicles in Tusayan.
[2] This range is rather wide due to the uncertainty over how many vehicles can actually be accommodated  at Mather Point.  The figures in Appendix 1 are lower than the current capacity, which was expanded, through reconfiguration, in April of 2001.
[3] By way of contrast, it may be noted that the number of parking spaces on the campus of Northern Arizona University, in nearby Flagstaff, Arizona, is approximately 9,000.

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