Amid parking crunch, Hartsfield-Jackson opens new park-ride lot

The parking lots start to fill up at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday, May 9, 2021.   STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Caption
The parking lots start to fill up at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday, May 9, 2021. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

After parking decks and lots at Hartsfield-Jackson International’s domestic terminal reached capacity last weekend, the airport opened a new park-ride lot that had been shuttered during the pandemic.

By Monday, after vacationers returned from weekend trips, the Atlanta airport’s parking lots had space available again.

But the lots have been filling up on weekends as more people return to the skies. All of the domestic terminal parking lots reached capacity by Friday at 2:30 p.m., according to Hartsfield-Jackson. Airport officials directed travelers to the international terminal park-ride deck on the other side of the airport.

The ATL Select park-ride lot at 1800 Sullivan Road, open since Saturday, adds 1,500 parking spaces. The new parking lot was completed early last year, but remained closed when air passenger counts fell 60% in 2020. The lot was temporarily used as a COVID-19 mega-testing site last summer. Now, travelers can park there for $10 per day for uncovered parking and $14 a day for uncovered parking.

The airport cut its use of park-ride lots and shuttles last year to allow for social distancing and the other domestic terminal shuttle lots — Park-Ride A and Park-Ride C — remain closed. Park-Ride C will reopen July 1 but Park-Ride A will stay shut because the space is needed for construction of a taxiway end-around on the airfield.

Airport businesses including parking operators and concessionaires have struggled with staffing shortages that have hampered their ability to ramp up operations from cutbacks made due to COVID-19.

Hartsfield-Jackson officials advise travelers to check the airport website at atl.com for parking lot availability and status.

The Atlanta airport previously had about 30,000 parking spaces at the domestic terminal, including about 8,000 park-ride spaces.

The parking crunch has been brewing for years, as the airport cut more than 1,000 parking spaces in the North economy lot in 2019 to clear space for construction of an extension of Concourse T, then closed the West economy lot to make way for Plane Train tunnel work.

ExploreAirport squeeze: Hartsfield-Jackson expands on limited land

To replace some of the parking displaced by construction, Hartsfield-Jackson earlier this year opened to the public the ATL West deck connected to the domestic terminal via SkyTrain, opening up 2,250 of its 5,000 spaces. It costs $14 a day to park there, in line with the cost of daily parking in the terminal decks. Economy parking in the lots next to the terminal decks costs $10 a day.

ExploreHartsfield-Jackson debuts new parking deck

Other options used by thousands of travelers are privately run off-airport parking lots. Those lots, many of them located along Camp Creek Parkway near the airport, offer a variety of options, including some discounts and lower rates than airport-run lots.

Hartsfield-Jackson’s website lists 10 off-airport lots near the domestic terminal. The international terminal also has a nearby off-airport lot.

ExploreHartsfield-Jackson parking gets even tighter with construction closures

The airport seven years ago had planned to rebuild and expand the domestic terminal parking decks, doubling their size. But by February 2020 it had scrapped that plan due to the increased popularity of Uber and Lyft drop-offs at the airport.

Revenue from airport-run lots and decks was projected to decline to about $78 million this fiscal year ending June 30, down from $147.4 million in fiscal year 2019.

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