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Massport wants to add 5,000 parking spaces to Logan; says they will be an environmental boon

Massport has filed plans with state environmental regulators to stack additional layers on top of the existing economy garage and build new levels on top of the Terminal E parking lot - moves that would require a waiver from the current state ban on new airport parking spaces.

In the filing, Massport explains what might seem counter-intuitive: How increasing the current number of 18,640 spaces by 27% would be environmentally friendly because of the unique nature of airport parking, the fact that Logan garages and lots are now often at capacity and the fact that people continue to drive to the airport despite such efforts as Logan Express:

Despite Massport's industry-leading efforts promoting and providing transit, shared-ride, and other HOV mode use, the number of private passenger vehicle trips to the Airport continues to increase as Logan Airport air traveler numbers increase. In particular, the constrained parking supply at Logan Airport, which results from the Logan Airport Parking Freeze (the Parking Freeze), has the unintended consequence of causing an increase in environmentally harmful drop-off/pick-up vehicle trips. Survey data collected from the 1970s to the present at Logan Airport have consistently shown that when demand for parking starts to exceed supply, approximately 75 percent of would-be parkers shift to drop-off/pick-up travel modes. These modes generate higher vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and associated vehicle emissions and exacerbate vehicle congestion on the Airport's terminal area roadway and at the terminal curbs during peak travel periods.

Massport further explains why it needs a waiver from the ban on new parking spaces - itself put in place to reduce emissions:

Airport commercial parking differs from other urban parking facilities in two important respects, which cause the drop-off/pick-up phenomenon. First, airport parking spaces turn over much less frequently; thus, more parking capacity is required at an airport to support the same number of vehicles than in an urban/workplace setting. Second, commuters traveling daily to an urban work location will not turn to drop-off/pick-up modes as an alternative means of travel if parking is constrained. Hence, in an urban core such as Boston, parking constraints tend to force commuters to travel by less environmentally harmful HOV transportation alternatives. Unlike urban commuters, air travelers do not go to the airport on a daily basis, so drop-off/ pick-up modes are more practical options. Accordingly, constrained parking at Logan Airport can have the unintended adverse environmental consequence of increased VMT and air emissions.

Massport claims that by building the new spaces, Logan would reduce miles driving by drivers around Logan - and the emissions their cars belch out - by 25% in 2022.

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Logan parking environment filing (16.7M PDF)

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Comments

I won't drive to the airport, not because of capacity issues, but cost issues.

(edited) Parking at the airport is $48 for the first day and $23 a day! If you're gone for 5 days (a work week), that's almost $150 in parking costs alone!

Now, if you told me that by increasing the parking amount that they'd also be lowering the costs, then I could see how you'd reduce drop-off rates and increase parking rates. Otherwise, they can fuck off. More $20-30/day spots isn't going to get me to drive to the airport any time soon when my friend can drop me off for free.

(edited: amended due to incorrect facts and math)

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It's $46 for the for the first day and $23 each day after that.

http://www.massport.com/logan-airport/parking-information/where-to-parkr...

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Fixed it.

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Parkshuttlefly is $22.50 a day. At most airports, private off-airport parking costs a lot less than the official economy parking lots. The private parking lots also have far better shuttle service.

That tells you how much profit Logan makes from parking. Massport is filthy rich.

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It costs me around $100 (including tips) to take a taxi round trip to the airport. Any trip more than 3 days and it's more expensive for me to drive and park. And don't even get me started on the times I've had to park on the top deck of the lot & have had to shovel out upon returning home...

There are off-site parking lots that are a lot cheaper than Massport, but then you have to add in the extra stress of taking a shuttle.

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If you're gone for 5 days you're going to want to park in economy parking. They raised the prices by $5/day and it's now $23 per day. The economy parking garage is still completely full and it's gotten worse in the past two years. People are parked in the fire lanes and wherever there is space including outside the last marked spot at the end of the aisles. This past weekend there was actually someone from Massport diverting people from entering the garage because it was completely full as I was leaving.

You could of course take 2 checked bags plus a stroller plus a car seat, etc onto the subway and hope that it's actually running on time. Or pay about the same price for a van to drop you off and pick you up from the airport. Or try to take a taxi. The more bags and the more people you have the more it makes sense to drive yourself, leave your car at the airport and have a dependable and predictable (and perhaps more comfortable) transit time before you get to the actual airport scrum.

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I just got back from San Diego and their Economy lot is $13 a day!
http://www.san.org/parking-transportation/parking

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Hate to rain on all you u haters out there, but yes, people still love to drive their cars. Contrary to what some dimwits like you to believe, not everyone takes their bikes when they need to go to Logan.

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To take my kid to hockey practice with his equipment all on my seatless unicycle.

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When you have to bike all the way around through Everett and Chelsea to get to the airport and East Boston from the rest of Boston while motor vehicles enjoy the luxury of short rides through a choice of two harbor tunnels, how many people are gonna bike it?
We need to stop catering to those who travel by motor vehicle. Adding more parking is misguided. Use that money to improve public transportation and add protected bike lanes to the tunnels.

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Right, let's add bike lanes to the airport runways too.

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People who properly assess plans that currently don't work well and could be made worse if we continue to double down on them. They're all the same, right??
Traffic in Boston is pretty light so we might as well encourage people to drive more. It's because they want it so we should give them the means to do it. Don't design to discourage what doesn't work and encourage what can work better.
Great point. Totally agree now. I wanna drive because I like to and I don't care what problems it causes.

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It's about getting to park your car using the available infrastructure. Before I get to my point, let me digress and stoop to your level and say that you sound like the kind of person who honks and growls at "those holier-than-thou dimwitted cyclists" passing you in the bike lane while you're stuck in traffic.I know it upsets you that any of a combination of getting exercise; being eco-friendly; enjoying some fresh air (especially on a great day like today!) or simply not wanting to sit in minutes/hours of traffic, huffing fumes, is not in line with good old-fashioned American values.

Which brings me to the main point: traffic. If cars could teleport to parking garages at the Airport, hey, build them 50 stories high! But they can't! Every car that drives to the Airport isn't just using the circuitous route around the Airport, it's contributing to the volume of every other roadway that it uses. Think about it: when tunnel traffic is backed up it backs up I-93 and Route 1; which, in turn, backs up Storrow Drive, McGrath Highway and Memorial Drive. All the parking spaces in the world aren't going to make getting to the Airport easier; and, if anything, it's only going to make it worse, especially for couriers, contractors, safety personnel and other personnel who need to drive there.

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I think what Massport is asserting is that it's not a question of driving vs other non-driving means. They want to change drop-off trips (which are 4 driving legs) for self parking (which are 2 driving legs).

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Environmental or not, we all know it is nearly impossible to find a spot at Logan, and despite significant terminal and flight expansions, parking has not kept up.

I DO sometimes take advantage of the low-cost less than one hour cost to quickly park and meet someone, help with the bags, etc. It is MUCH less stressful on the driver (and the environment) than circling around constantly, adding to traffic, or rolling the dice with the cell phone lot.

And that cell phone lot is a joke. Inconveniently several traffic lights away and a tiny parking lot that should be 5x its size.

If the main lots were expanded, make less than 15 minutes free, less than an hour (or two) $2-3, and always had spots available, traffic and stress would be significantly reduced.

Or, hey, just build a real traffic-independant subway that actually goes to the airport and does not require waiting for and riding a bus that also gets stuck in traffic. It would help if the subway also runs at all times needed to serve the airport...

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Riding an overloaded Silver Line bus through the stop-and-go Ted Williams tunnel, standing up, with all your winter crap... if you can afford it why would you pick the hardest way possible especially during Dec/Mar/Apr holiday madness or just regular hot days in the summer.

But really the Silver Line is so difficult and crowded it's easier to Uber/Lyft even during off hours - and obviously if you have an early flight you can't take the T anyway if you're more than one transfer from the airport.

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Last time I took the Silver Line it had no place to store your luggage. What the actual fuck?

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The goal is to get people to use transit. Either the silver line, the blue line, or one of the various logan express routes. Or the ferry.

Raising parking prices and restricting supply pushes people to personal drop offs.
Lowering parking prices and increasing supply keeps people driving and parking.

Seems like the only solution is changing the drop-off behavior by pricing it.

$1 toll to enter the airport property?

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The goal is to get people to use transit.

I would have thought that "the goal" was to get people to and from their flights efficiently, allowing for cases ranging from a single traveler with a carry-on to a multi-generation family group with barely-luggable luggage, strollers, walkers, and toddlers. Annoying people into your preferred solution is probably unworkable and Procrustean.

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Take CR to South Station - great! Wait for an Airport serving silver line, fine. Circle through Southie like we're trying to evade a tail and then wait for the driver to switch modes to go through the tunnel - so terrible.

I can get from Roslindale to South Station much faster than from South Station to the airport. How about there's an express from South Station (major, major hub) to the airport and we don't have to stop at the design center or wherever each time? The mixed fuel thing probably made sense for environmental reasons but is deeply stupid from an efficiency standpoint. Every single trip has that break built right in.

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Couldn't agree more. The most frustrating thing is to seat (or more likely stand) in the Silver Line bus for 10 to 15 minutes after leaving South Station and come out of a tunnel to notice that you've only traveled a couple of blocks underground, and are headed back toward South Station! Not to mention all the stops along the way where the bus picks up only one or two person. The people who designed this route are clearly not the users.

We don't need additional parking; All we need is frequent, direct, and reliable bus to go from South Station to the airport within 10 minutes. It's not even two miles from one to the other. Is that too much to ask for in 2017? And it doesn't need to be free. After I have spent a few $hundreds on airplane fare, I wouldn't mind paying $5 each way for a fast and dependable shuttle to/from the airport -as opposed to the currently free (one way), lousy bus service.

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A fast, dependable shuttle to Logan Airport.

But, perhaps you are coming from the suburbs.

On the other hand, I live in the southern reaches of the city, and still a cab beats driving over more than 3 days of airport parking.

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Best to worst options from Roslindale:

1 Car service/cab to the airport for longer trips
2 Drive to the airport for shorter trips where parking costs are neutral
3 Commuter rail to South Station to silver line. Nightmare with any amount of luggage as silver line is totally undersized for droves of people each with at least a carryon suitcase.
4 Bus to orange line to blue line to shuttle bus to terminals.

Option 3 should be 1 in a landslide but it just isn't.

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True, this is an OK option if you live in the Back Bay, but I live on the Red Line in Dorchester. I and the multitude of South Station users wouldn't save any time or hassle by having to back track to Back Bay on the Orange line and catch a third connection that runs only every 20 minutes. South Station is the city's main transportation hub and the closest to the airport, so that's where it would make most sense to invest in the most reliable connection.

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Take the Expressway to Braintree and see link 2.

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I would not object to a toll if the money were used to actually make things better instead of funding random projects outside of the Airport.

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to get into East Boston in general, also levied by Massport. There are other, cheaper means to get to the airport AND park your car. Sullivan Sq, for instance, has several vastly under-used lots where parking is like $6 per day, plus a $2 train ride on the Orange/ Blue line to the airport. If you are gone for 10 days that is a grand total of $64 to park and get to/from the airport.
People are either too lazy, too incompetent, or too cool to use an option like this. If you are made of money, lazy, or can't be bothered to research the other options, then you pay. Simple as that. Pay for inflated airport parking, pay for inflated uber/taxi to the airport, tolls, etc.
Personally I think the pick up/ drop off argument they present is bullshit. If they really cared about pollution and emissions they would never have aircraft idling and taxi-ing for long periods of time on their runways. I see no studies or efforts to curb that practice however. Sounds like a bid to increase the revenue stream. Maybe the higher ups are running out of cash to steal.

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Interesting info, Marco. I live very close to Sullivan Square and did not realize that the nearby parking lots were so (relatively) inexpensive.

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Can one leave their car in those lots over night or for a couple of days in a row?

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add that $1 toll to the $8 convenience fee I already pay to take Uber to Logan for flights before 8 am (which I can't possibly make by taking the T).

Awesome.

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Okay but when I have a 8am flight and transit doesn't start running until 5:30, plus any delays, taking transit from Rozzie is a shitshow.

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Yeah, from an emissions point of view, it's better to park at the airport than have someone make two round-trips to drop you off and pick you up. The more parking, the better.

What would also help is running a bus between PVD and BOS, and code-sharing that bus as a flight. That way you can easily create an itinerary where you fly out of Logan and arrive back to TF Green without needing to arrange your own ground transportation. The SF Bay airports have a service like that and it gives you a lot more flexibility.

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Two things wrong with your assumption:

1) Unless it's a VIP car service, I'm pretty sure most sane cab/Uber/Lyft drivers would simply wait at/near the Airport to pick up a fare from so they're not deadheading back into town.

2) Even with all the redesigning and expanding in the world, you're still, eventually, going to run into the same issue of volume at choke-points at garages--the entrances and exits--not to mentioned hunting for parking itself. Driving to shop in December pre-Christmas at any of the suburban malls with few/nonexistent public transit options, such as the Natick Collection and Legacy Place, makes the point: if I drive there, it's highly likely that I'm not going to find a spot right away which means either driving around in circles waiting for someone to leave (wasted emissions) or sitting, idling, waiting for someone to leave (waster emissions). If, on the other hand, I took a cab/Uber/Lyft there, yes, the car I traveled in contributes to the traffic flow to/from the facility but does not contribute to the aforementioned volume at choke points nor enter the mix of vehicles waiting to park.

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Seems like your mall needs to charge for parking at peak times.

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A suburban mall is referenced that actually has paid parking.

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Oh cool!

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Their argument fails to account for Uber/Lyft/etc.

Sure, in the 70s people who couldn't park got a friend or family member to drop them off, which usually resulted in an entirely new round trip, which is wasteful. But now I'd wager more people would use Uber instead, which doesn't have quite the same environmental downside, since that car is not going all the way back to your house - it's going to go pick up someone else.

I know I always uber to the airport instead of park, but, like others have said, it's due to the cost. I'm actually out of town right now, and parked my car at a family member's house (can't leave it on the street more than 48 hours in Somerville) then Ubered to the airport. I would love to be able to park at the airport, and thus knock out two birds with one stone, but as long as they keep it more expensive than even parking downtown, that's not gonna happen.

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Since Uber and Lyft aren't allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, they still have the problem of drop-offs (though less bad, since they don't have to go all the way back to their starting points).

I think Massport's argument is very reasonable in this case.

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That was changed a few months ago. There's a designated area for Uber/Lyft pickups.

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Rideshares are now allowed to pick people up from the airport! There's a little waiting section for them and everything. I used it last month pretty flawlessly.

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They need to put in a high capacity people mover to facilitate movement between the terminals, the rental car center, and MBTA station before asking for an exemption to the parking cap. The Massport shuttle buses aren't even close to keeping up with demand and are very, very slow. Last week I took a dangerously overcrowded shuttle bus between Terminal C and the MBTA station and almost wasn't able to get off of it in time, because it was so overcrowded with passengers and luggage. It took about the same time to get from the terminal to the station as it did for me to get from the airport to Back Bay Station, where I got off. The week before, it took me longer to take the shuttle from the T station to Terminal B than it did for me to get from my desk at work in Government Center to Airport Station.

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There is a plan to add a "pedestrian connector" from Gate E to the Blue Line. I believe it would be the world's longest walking conveyor belt. They should do that pronto and do whatever they can to improve the buses and silver line. Improving public transit should be the priority over spending $250 million(!!!) on the new parking spots.

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Adding more shuttle buses is probably cheaper and more efficient than building a people mover.

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Once the bus it's full, it's full. The current vehicles are much too small for the ridership, despite running pretty frequently. They're extremely slow because they are mixed in with the rest of the traffic using the Airport Roadway.

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I disagree. I expect my handouts to keep coming. I can't afford higher parking rates and I'm sure as hell not taking the T or riding a bicycle like a loser.

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Sure you can make an environmental argument. However, DUH -- They just want more parking so they can make more money off of it! As others have commented, it's not like the price for a spot is going to go down after this.

Hey, everyone has their budget to balance. Go for it Massport, but don't think this gets you out of working with the T and with your own shuttles to properly move people around. Anyone who's flown into LAX knows that more parking is not the infinite solution. After a while it will take you a year just to get from your spot to the gate.

Better run shuttles, express connection from South Station (and north station for that matter!) etc. etc... there are certainly options, but they all involve a lot more thinking than "let's plop some parking on top of that."

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...transit"

Liars. The current public transit connectivity to the airport is slow, uncomfortable, indirect, and impractical, and Massport has done nothing to improve that situation, other than subsidize that silly, overpriced Paul Revere bus that uses the even sillier slingshot turnaround on the Pike.

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industry-leading efforts promoting and providing transit, shared-ride, and other HOV mode use

Would those efforts include sticking those who take taxis to the airport rather than driving their own cars, with $6.75 in additional junk fees?

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People who are flying for personal reasons might be compelled to take a car service or public transportation. Business travelers, who make up the bulk of flyers, really don't care. Work travel is stressful enough without having to schlep your stuff all over the Silver Line, especially if you're expensing the parking. If Logan can't figure out how to fix the shit show that is Central Parking business travelers will opt for regional airports like TF Green. If they want to remain competitive, additional hassle-free parking is required.

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I'm a business traveler and I take public transportation whenever I can. See Denver for an airport with excellent public transport (with the recent addition of the train from the terminal straight to Union Station downtown).

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"Massport, we're a parking lot company that also runs a airport."

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Should build a ginormous garage in the Seaport area. It seems like they're the only ones who realizes that we need more parking not less and the fallacy of transit orientated development is bullshit.

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I can't tell if you're being sarcastic but in case you're serious, you're in luck - a 1,200-car garage is currently under construction right now on D Street.

Hope to see you and your Chevy Dart real soon!

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I'll have you know I once owned both a Chevy Chevette and a DODGE Dart (the Dart was a better car)

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After considering all costs and revenues, I wouldn't be surprised if the present value of future cash flows exceeds 50k per space.

Completed, the present value GAIN from this project could exceed $250 million. That would be for mass port of course, externalities for everyone else be damned.

Without straightforward mitigation (transportation, externalities, etc.) from every dollar in gain, this basically feels like money grab...

if they succeed, it will certainly make them look good "operating in the green". Imagine if "other" public transit agencies did this too... :)

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The real answer here is to SHORTEN or eliminate those double runs. Here's a suggestion:

build/acquire additional parking in two places - South Bay near the 93/90 corridor and along rte 1 or 1A. Build/Acquire dedicated travel lanes/roads from close to those sites to the airport itself. Acquire electric /natural gas vehicles appropriately equipped for people and luggage to transport to/from. And finally, charge REASONABLY parking (that means that you don't charge what the downtown garages get for a full day rate, in fact you should charge less than half and restrict it to airport travelers only). Also you need to let the existing off site parking companies access the dedicated roadways. I would not let cabs/car hires use the dedicated roadways but i would set up drop off/pickup areas at the offsite lots.

Just a thought!

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Massport needs to fix the Blue Line shuttle bus.

They totally screwed it up when they added the Rental Car Center stop. It used to be a quick zip from the Blue Line to Terminal A, which made it a good alternative at rush hour when the Silver Line is extra slow. But now the shuttle drives around airport land, stopping at long red lights. Then it sits at the Rental Car Center for a really long time, while dozens of rental car customers who didn't pack for a transit ride slowly drag their bags on one by one.

They should separate the rental car and Blue Line stops into different routes. The very few people who need to get from the Blue Line to the Rental Car Center can deal with an extra transfer.

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A ride that use to take just a few minutes can now take almost half an hour.

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Pickups would be less bad for the environment if the authorities didn't harass you into circling around the entire airport instead of waiting a minute for your passenger.

The Cell Phone Lot is not a useful alternative.

Is anyone here old enough to have flown in the 60s or 70s? I suspect people back then were a lot more likely to use short-term parking and walk into the terminal to meet the person they were picking up, since parking wasn't so overpriced.

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