Philadelphia Airport Parking Shortage Shows No Sign of Abating

Both the 18,000 parking spaces in the airport's garages and economy lot, as well as 18,000 spaces in private lots surrounding the airport, are often full, especially on holiday weekends.

Parking Authority spokeswoman Linda Miller said the agency was updating a study it did in 1999 to address the shortage, "because the needs have changed out there since Southwest came in."

Among the ways to add space may be tearing down the old Overseas Terminal on Island Avenue so the economy lot can expand, but that is a year or more away, airport officials said.

The airport is surrounded by 19 privately operated parking facilities, situated on or near Route 291 in Tinicum Township, on Essington Avenue at the Philadelphia Auto Mall or just west of it, and on Island Avenue. Demand for space in the off-airport lots has been heavy all year, their managers said.

Pete Carrera, director of Winner Airport Parking, on Essington Avenue in the auto mall, said other long weekends had been worse than he expected Thanksgiving weekend to be. He said his facility had about 3,000 spaces and he did not anticipate it would be filled.

"We're seeing a huge increase," said Sue Suarez, general manager of Ampco Express Parking on Island Avenue. "We anticipate being full over the Thanksgiving weekend... . But people are always coming back from the airport, so spots open up."

Destination: Airport

Drive to the airport and park, if you dare. Or consider alternative transportation.

Parking at the airport costs $9 a day in the economy lot and $17 a day in the garages. Short-term ground-level parking is $17 up to four hours, or $34 a day.

Private off-airport parking lots are on Essington Avenue near the Philadelphia Auto Mall, on or near Route 291, west of the airport, and on Island Avenue. Costs range from $7 to $14.25 a day.

The R1 airport line leaves 30th Street Station daily at 4:34 a.m. and every 30 minutes from 5:34 a.m. to 11:34 p.m. A one-way trip costs $5.50.

Private companies run shuttle vans that start around $15 per person from Center City, higher in the suburbs.

Taxis charge a flat rate of $25 per trip (not per person) to and from Center City.

Philadelphia Inquirer

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