Aspen airport’s cellphone lot to be ready for winter |

Aspen airport’s cellphone lot to be ready for winter

A cellphone parking lot at Aspen’s airport that officials thought wouldn’t come to fruition until spring because of the early onset of winter will instead be ready for use by the end of the week, an official said Thursday.

The lot will provide a spot for people waiting to pick up passengers to park temporarily because they are no longer allowed to park in front of the airport, which was one of the last in the country to allow curb-side parking at the terminal.

Airport officials were set to design and pave the new lot last month, but the snow and cold weather initially nixed those plans, an airport official said in October. But according to a news release Wednesday, the lot and about 70 extra parking spots will be ready for use by the end of the week, weather permitting.

“We have struggled with a parking shortage at the airport and these improvements should alleviate that problem, at least for the short term,” John Kinney, airport director, said in the release.

The 30-space cellphone lot will be located along the airport’s frontage road “slip lane.”

The extra-wide lanes in that area allowed officials to restripe the area and create the lot.

Kinney said the cellphone lot and the additional new parking spaces were created “simply by moving some berms, shuffling rental cars around, moving employee parking, repaving and restriping …”

Parking rates at the airport also recently increased to $2 an hour for as long as 12 hours and a maximum of $40 a day.

“People will begin to understand that it costs them significantly more to park at the airport than in downtown Aspen,” Kinney said. “We hope this greatly reduces the possibility of someone missing their flight because they couldn’t find a place to park.”

Airport officials sent out numerous alerts this summer warning that airport lots were full. The previous rates were far cheaper, which attracted people who wanted to park near Aspen but were not using the airport, officials have said.

Finally, Kinney said the secure boarding area inside the airport is being expanded to accommodate more passengers waiting for their flights. Administrative offices and the airport’s gift shop were relocated to increase the capacity, according to the news release.

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