Saturday, April 21, 2018
Editorials

Enforcing airport pickup policy overdue

It's about time that Tampa International Airport enforced tougher curbside pickup rules. These lanes should not be parking lots for motorists waiting in idling cars for friends and family who haven't arrived or are still waiting for luggage. But the airport needs to ensure it doesn't replace one problem with another by enforcing the policy unfairly or unreasonably.

The airport will ban idling in the arrival lanes starting this month. That should create a safer environment in the arrivals area, where cars are often stacked up in the two lanes closest to the curb, forcing passengers to dart between traffic in the outside lanes. The gridlock also forces motorists to weave between parked cars across all four lanes of the arrivals area. This is an abuse of the convenience of the arrivals area.

Under the new rules, drivers not loading luggage or meeting their passengers at the curb will be asked to move along. It's not like there aren't other options. TIA has a cellphone lot, where drivers can park for free and wait, and it offers the first hour free in the short-term garage. This may not be as convenient as parking at the curb. But you can still collect your passengers there when the time comes.

The airport was heavy-handed at times in the past in enforcing the no-idling rules, and officials will need to ensure that airport police and traffic specialists are not unreasonable in applying the new policy. The airport is not the easiest place to navigate. Flights are late; cellphones die. And the last thing the flying public needs today is aggravation at the end of a trip. This is a sensible policy. Enforce it with common sense.

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