The hassle of circling the lower level of Miami International Airport waiting for arriving passengers could become a thing of the past.
MIA officials are forging ahead with plans to develop a free parking lot on the airport's perimeter where drivers can wait for a cellphone call from their arriving human cargo, reducing the traffic on the oft-congested lower traffic circle roadways.
''Rather than coming into the airport and circling, parking, waiting to get moved along by the police and circling again, we want to make the whole process a lot more convenient,'' airport spokesman Greg Chin said.
Chin said the airport hopes to have the cellphone parking lot ready before the Thanksgiving weekend crowd.
Nationwide, airports have started to create ''cellphone lots'' where cars are allowed to sit and wait for free.
The MIA lot will be accessible from southbound LeJeune Road, just south of the airport's main entrance, south and west of the State Road 112.
The exact size and number of spaces is still being determined.
Airport construction crews will have to realign some of the secured areas at the adjacent administration building and the employee remote parking area.
The idea has been bouncing around MIA for a couple of years, but became a heightened customer service priority when new Aviation Director José Abreu started in mid-July.
Broward officials are hoping to create a similar lot at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Commissioners will discuss the concept next week.
Broward Commissioner Ilene Lieberman wants to remedy very weak cellphone reception at the most likely remote parking area or find another site that could be developed.
Palm Beach International Airport opened a 24-space cellphone lot in 2003. The free lot -- one of the first in the country -- includes a sign with phone numbers for drivers to call the airlines to check on arrival times.
News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.
Thousands of $38.50 citations are issued each year to people who pull over on the side of the road leading to the airport -- a no-no in the age of heightened post-9/11 security.
Surface lots reserved for motorists waiting to pick up arriving passengers considered as a solution for traffic problems.
The changes are necessary, airport officials say, to make room for the light-rail system's airport station.