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Police a bit eager to issue park citations

Hikers at the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park started up the trail to enjoy last Saturday's sunshine only to receive an unpleasant surprise at the end of the loop. About 30 parking tickets were issued to Wilderness Park visitors on March 9, as no parking signs went up on Mills Avenue and Mt. Baldy Road in anticipation of the newly expanded north lot.

However, it appears officers may have been a little too eager. On Monday yellow plastic bags had been placed over the no parking signs located along Mills Avenue. Later that evening, city officials informed the public that parking along Mills would not be restricted until the new lot opens, which is not expected for another couple weeks. The tickets were mistakenly issued and will be voided, according to Claremont Chief of Police Paul Cooper.

“The signs were supposed to be covered until the lot was open,” Chief Cooper said. “Someone in engineering put up some no parking signs in areas that are going to be enforced once the new parking lot opens, and that wasn’t communicated to us.

Officers were simply doing their job, Chief Cooper continues, as the police department “gets complaints all the time about illegally parked cars [at the Wilderness Park].”

Those who received a ticket for parking within the newly restricted areas at the Wilderness Park over the weekend will be contacted by the police and advised that the citations will be voided, according to Chief Cooper. However, while the newest parking restrictions will not go into effect until the parking lot’s opening, it was noted that all previous restrictions would continue to be enforced.

Administrators expect the north parking lot to open within the next 2 weeks, but an official opening date is still unknown. City staff will be available to answer questions at the Wilderness Park entrance this Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17. Information on the new parking restrictions will be available. Questions may also be directed to the Claremont Police Department at 399-5411.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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