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Massport expands economy parking at Logan Airport

Backhoes are clearing an old lot and an enormous crane has begun piecing slabs of concrete onto steel rods, work that will triple the number of economy parking spots at Logan International Airport when the project is completed next year.
1281929216_5204[1].jpgOfficials at the Massachusetts Port Authority said the increase in passengers at the airport as well as the growing number of discount airlines has led to a surge in people seeking lower-cost parking.

Over the past year, the number of travelers parking in Logans economy lot has jumped. More than 7,500 people parked there in June, double the number who did in June 2009.

As a result, Massport broke ground last month on a $20 million parking garage near the airports Blue Line station that will offer 3,000 spots for $18 a day, or $108 a week $6 less per day than the other lots. The first part of the new three-story lot, which is farther from the terminals than the more expensive lots, is scheduled to open in November. The parking facility, being built on top of the old economy lot, is slated for completion early next spring and will add 2,100 spots to the existing 1,000 economy spaces.

Were just trying to keep up with the demand, said Jack Hemphill, business general manager of the aviation department at Massport, which runs the airport.

He said those parking at economy lots now account for about 4 percent of the 220,000 vehicles that use the airports lots in a typical month, up from about 2 percent a year ago.

The new lot is adjacent to the State Police barracks along Route 1A. The price for parking in the lot will remain $18 per day.

As construction crews yesterday pieced together what looks like a massive Lego set, the travelers driving in were sent through a maze of signs to find the temporary economy lots scattered around the airport.

Hemphill said there are now about 1,600 economy spots at Logan, a fraction of the airports overall 14,600 paid spaces. When the project is complete, there will be 16,700 spots.

Paul Van Der Weijden drove to Logan from his home in New Hampshire, as he does every few months, and was relieved when he finally found his way to one of the temporary lots by the car rental area.

He said he looked forward to the projects completion.

It will be nice when we get through this mess, he said. If its easier to find a spot when its done, that would be good.

Tony Soriente, also from New Hampshire, said he just wanted to have a safe place to keep his car when hes away. As long as its protected, Im comfortable, he said.

Sean Ridings, a parking attendant who was checking them in and running credit cards, said he is surprised by the number of people willing to drive the extra distance to save $6 a day.

Its been booming, he said. Maybe its the economy, but it used to be dead this time of the day.

In the hour and a half since his shift began, he said, about 20 cars had entered his lot. Every garage is filling up, he said.

His supervisor, Joe Guarino, said its been a challenge to figure out how to distribute all the people seeking economy parking to the different lots since the construction began.

There are people who complain and get aggravated, he said, but I think it will be worth it when its done.
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