[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"DIA parking woes"
Thursday, October 7, 2004
DIA parking woes
Air travelers looking for close-in spaces are finding lots full
By Ann Imse
The Denver (CO) Rocky Mountain News
Denver International Airport is so busy these days that all close-in parking
is full on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Despite the inconvenience, the airport doesn't have plans to do anything
about it until 2006.
That's partly due to the shaky finances of the airline industry, prompting
caution by DIA before embarking on multimillion-dollar construction
The close-in parking shortage -ruined the day for Rosemary Griggs, of
Colorado Springs, who was about to miss her flight Wednesday morning because
she had to retreat to the shuttle lot three miles away and got lost along
"I couldn't find a place," said Griggs, as another 20 people jammed
themselves onto the bus that would take her back to the terminal. "I'm
supposed to be checked in by five minutes from now. . . . Do you know how I
can reach Frontier to tell them?"
The close-in lots generally fill up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because
business travelers depart early in the week and and don't return until
Thursday or Friday, said DIA spokesman Steve Snyder. Business travelers on
expense accounts apparently don't mind paying $15 a day for the garage or $7
a day for the adjacent surface lots.
Another factor: Airline travel out of the airport is breaking records this
"Nobody foresaw a 15 percent traffic increase," said DIA spokesman Chuck
The result on Wednesday morning: "FULL FULL FULL" signs at all close-in
parking lots and garages.
In the east garage, Jim Scriven, of Denver, was driving around and around,
unable to find an open space for the handicapped, even though DIA says it
has the number required. Due to a disability, "I need to get close," Scriven
An attorney on crutches, who declined to give her name, said she also was
stressed by the search for a handicap space.
"I was thrilled to find it," she said. She had been close to giving up and
taking anything in the garage.
That would not have been easy, either. The few travelers who drove past the
"FULL" warning signs into the garage hovered over departing drivers,
swooping into their spaces.
"We were trying not to be too vulture-like," confessed Connie Grider, of
Denver, as she drove to within a few inches from the bumper of Ken Whelan's
vehicle, waiting for him to leave. Whelan, of Littleton, had also prowled
for a departing car because he was picking up an elderly couple not
accustomed to taking long hikes at high altitude.
As it stands now, close-in parking may remain nearly nonexistent on many
Tuesdays and Wednesdays until well into 2006, when a new garage is to be
built adjacent to the existing three on the west side. The $27 million
garage originally was planned in 1998, but the drastic drop in airline
traffic after Sept. 11, 2001 delayed both the garage and an airport hotel
planned to rise above it.
Airport manager Turner West said the garage can't be built faster. And
there's no room to expand the surface lots adjacent to the garages, he said.
"They're pretty much maxed out."
In addition, "What happens if we build all this parking and traffic drops
off?" asked Cannon.
"You do want to feel assured the business is going to stay," before making
major investments, added West. He's optimistic that the traffic levels will
continue, but noted that "the aviation industry is in a precarious situation
United Airlines and U.S. Airways are in bankruptcy and Delta is talking
about it. DIA already is taking a risk building additional regional jet gate
space for United, officials said.
Both the airport manager and Joe Hodas, spokesman for Denver-based Frontier
Airlines, said they have not received many complaints about the short-term
parking shortage. But Hodas ran into it himself on Wednesday, when he could
not park near the terminal to drop off his wife and kids for a flight.
When DIA opened in 1995, it had hundreds of spaces reserved for two-hour
parking for people dropping off and picking up passengers. The special
spaces were located on the fourth floor of the garages, but they disappeared
when the Sept. 11 attacks prompted federal security officials to ban parking
in parts of the garages closest to the terminal. They were never replaced.
Airport manager West said the issue of reviving short-term parking "is being
Cannon said there are no plans to raise parking prices.
The airport does plan to expand the Pikes Peak shuttle lot by November 2005
at a cost of $7.8 million.
Space at the lots
Parking options, and the number of spaces available, at Denver International
Garages 11,781 spaces
Close-in lots 8,203 spaces
Shuttle lots 16,966 spaces
How to deal with DIA's close-in parking shortage:
Days to avoid: You're most likely to run into full close-in parking
(the garages and adjacent lots) on Monday afternoons, Tuesdays and
Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday mornings.
Watch the signs: Airport signs on Peña Boulevard warn incoming traffic
if garages and lots are full, in time to turn off for the Pikes Peak shuttle
Shuttle lot: Plan on 15 to 30 minutes to park at Pikes Peak and take
the bus to the terminal. Buses come often, but when the close-in lots are
full, more passengers crowd the shuttle bus and it takes longer. The good
news: The bus drops you at check-in.
Call in advance: Call 303-342-7275 for parking information. Press 1 to
find out if close-in parking is full.
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org