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Terminal Headache Awaits Travelers at RDU

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RDU INTERNATIONAL — Circling for a parking spot is a holiday tradition, along with waiting in long lines. Expect to do both atRDU InternationalWednesday and Thursday. And the really good news is that Sunday may be even worse.

There's little to be thankful for at the Triangle's only major airport. As many as 200,000 people are expected to pass through RDU during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Airport police are cracking down on people who leave their cars at the terminals unattended; they're towed quickly.

Those picking up passengers are not allowed to stop and wait at the terminal curbs. Parking at the terminal lots, or circling the terminal areas, are the only options.

"They reason for that is we would end up with gridlock in front of the terminals," said RDU spokesman Mike Blanton.

Long-term parking is available, but park and ride lots are filling quickly. "We're expecting by noon today that the only spaces available are in park and ride 4," Blanton says.

Officials say they encourage travelers to head directly for that lot.

Blanton says, "One of the things we're doing this year is eliminate as much of the congestion in front of Terminal A as we can. As a result of that we're asking people to go directly to a park and ride lot -- number 4 is our biggest with the largest capacity -- to avoid coming through the terminal area."

Drivers must follow temporary black and white signs when approaching Terminal A. The lanes are marked, and crossing lanes is not allowed.

Some travelers have been confused aboutAviation Parkway.

The old Aviation Parkway on the west side of the airport has been closed. To get to RDU from US70, take 540 toward 40 and look for the new Aviation Parkway. The new Aviation Parkway provides access to the south side of the airport.

Traffic patterns are also different. Vehicles approaching Terminal A must choose a lane and stay in it.

Many people are taking cabs to and from the airport to avoid the parking situation.


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