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Airport Parking: History, Hobby and Contentious Relationships from Page 39

to cover the costs of construction and operation of parking spaces on-airport.Thismay come as a surprise tomany who think park- ing should be free.) Back then, notmuch considerationwas given, inmy view, to

segregating parking areas into airport employee, short-termpark- ers and long-term parkers. The parking supply estimated was on the low side, but there were opportunities to expand on-airport supply by multilevel surface parking lots. These and other chal- lenges were duplicated at most, if not all, airports serving large, growing,metropolitan areas. Around 1970, the off-airport parking industry was inaugu-

rated at Bush Intercontinental as a cheaper means of providing more supply. The other benefit gained by the passenger was the reduction of the search time for an empty space and the selection process of which parking facility was the one closest to the gate where one would depart. Com- plaints about not being able to find a vacant space during peak travel time were occurring too frequently. On-airport expansion was

design. They changed the way reservations are made and how tickets are paid. Ifwe fast-forward to the 2000s and 9/11, the increased secu-

rity has caused air travel to take a hit. It now takes dramatically more time to leave PointA to arrive at Point B. Plannersmust correctly prioritize theirwish list to fitmetro-

politan area needs, such as how it will be used for long- or short- term customers; security levels high or low; available land for expansion; primary ingress or egress traffic; existing alternative transportation options; and other variables. Inmy view, a lack of supply priced at an onerous rate dimin-

ishes the attractiveness of an airport. Competition for the traveling

Low parking fees and the expanded use of credit cards were two reasons demand increased.

being modified with the usual con- flict between more parking versus more terminal area versus more gates. Low parking fees and the expanded use of credit cards were two reasons demand increased.The often-contentious relationship between private ownership of off-airport parking facilities and publicly owned on-airport began. This strained relationship often occurs during low occupan-

cy times when off-airport lots are sucking parking revenue badly needed by the on-airport people. One way the on-airport people even the playing field is to impose an access fee for parking as well as for shuttle bus operations. With this approach, they become partners with the off-airport people.A negative to this approach can result in diminished expansion of off-airport park- ing, so competition for parking customers does exist atmany air- ports with privately owned off-airport facilities. In the 1980s, security checkpoints began to have an impact

on the time and cost it took to travel fromPointA to Point B. In the 1990s, the personal computer and the Internet began to have an impact on airport parking demand as well as on

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public to use your airport is one matter, and to use only your park- ing spaces begins to have a negative impact on what should be the objective: low overall cost. After all, parking spaces are

not created equal as far as conven- ience is concerned, nor in cost of construction for that matter. Politi- cal pressure customarily results in the same parking fee no matter

where the on-airport spaces are located. Congestion as a sign of success is far more desirable than

the opposite.With this in mind, airplanes as a means of trans- portation have been a roaring success. However, this continued success has been dampened to a certain extent by, for example, increased operating costs (due to securitymatters) and fuel costs. I’mstill waiting for a jet-powered backpack that will trans-

fer me from PointA to Point B without having to go to an air- port terminal.

Thomas J. Feagins has worked on parking issues at many airports, including HOU, DEN, DFW, MSY, JFK, LGA, MKE, SEA, BOS, ATL, LAX, ORD and SFO. He can be reached at

PT is a service of Transportation South and Mid-South Bus Center. 800.367.9463 40 APRIL 2010 • PARKING TODAY • 800.322.4024

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