Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

And exactly where is the PHL cell phone lot?

The story of stepped-up ticketing of drivers who park on the I-95 ramps to PHL sounds like deja vu all over again. Newspaper and TV reporters, starting as I recall with me and one or two others about four years ago, have been dutifully delivering the message from police and the airport that those idling on the ramps should be waiting in the airport's official cell phone lot, or as the signs say, the park-and-ride lot, on Bartram Avenue. The problem is and has always been, as Linda Loyd's story in The Inquirer this morning and others note, most motorists still can't find Bartram, much less the lot itself.

And exactly where is the PHL cell phone lot?

The story of stepped-up ticketing of drivers who park on the I-95 ramps to PHL sounds like deja vu all over again. Newspaper and TV reporters, starting as I recall with me and one or two others about four years ago, have been dutifully delivering the message from police and the airport that those idling on the ramps  should be waiting in the airport's official cell phone lot, or as the signs say, the park-and-ride lot, on Bartram Avenue. The problem is and has always been, as Linda Loyd's story in The Inquirer this morning and others note, most motorists still can't find Bartram, much less the lot itself.

So perhaps the tougher enforcement, and new signs, will teach some of those coming to the airport how to find the place and stay away from the dangerous practice of parking on the ramps where cars are flying off the interstate at 60 miles per hour.

But other airports with cell phone lots -- and that's at least half a dozen I've been to in this country -- have solved the problem by having the space for their lots precisely where PHL drivers now park. The lots are situated right off the main entrance roads, usually in places where the traffic has had to slow down to 25 mph or less. They're convenient, which our lot is not, and they're used.

Until PHL can solve that problem -- and it may be impossible to solve given the land-use constraints we have -- then PennDOT needs to use signage on I-95 and the Platt Bridge off ramps to help people find the lot. Otherwise, a few more drivers may find the lot with better signage. But I can mostly see more unhappy motorists either being ticketed or getting into disputes with police for slowing down at baggage claim.

Let's keep working on this problem folks, before anyone else is run down on the ramps.   

Tom Belden
About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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