Sea-Tac Airport managers promise fewer back-ups on airport drives

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by JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Jimformanking5

KING5.com

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 28 at 11:32 PM

Sea-Tac Airport – After months of studying why traffic backs up so badly during the holidays, the managers at Sea-Tac Airport are instituting some changes that should speed your drive through the airport.

The holidays are not the busiest time for Sea-Tac, the summer tourist and cruise season see far more people passing through the airport than the estimated 100,000 who will come and go at the peak of the holiday season.

But experts have found holiday travelers are a different breed. Often infrequent fliers, and loved ones who want to be picked up at the curb can slow things down.

So over Thanksgiving, Port of Seattle Police began a program of stopping traffic from entering the drives when traffic backs up. Once the cars thin out, an officer gives the go sign.

“The metering is very similar to on-ramps on the freeways to spread vehicles out,” said Commander John Eliadis.

Airport Spokesman Perry Cooper says some of the signs with the various airline names have been moved further down the drive to keep cars from stopping at the very beginning, when there is often room down the road.

Cooper also suggests during peak arrival times, 9 to 11 at night, those picking up friends and family should consider using the upper arrivals drive, instead of fighting for a spot on arrivals.

“If we get people to pick them up a little further down,” Cooper said. “It is a great way to spread things out.”

Even if you never rent a car at the airport, the new consolidated rental car facility will benefit your trip. New estimates released to KING 5 show nearly 2 million cars will be diverted from the departure and arrivals lanes every year.

Sea-Tac has more tips for travelers: http://www.portseattle.org

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