Airport parking demand continues at high rate

Parking is expected to be full in the coming days amid fall break; officials encourage getting a ride to the airport.
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 2:34 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Travel is taking off again at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The airport has rebounded better than many others around the country amid the pandemic -- and airport officials say COVID-19 has changed the type of traveler they’re seeing.

“We are seeing people actually start their travel here not only with the population growth that we’re seeing, but people actually wanting to get out and travel more,” says Annie Turner, Public Relations Coordinator for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.

“And also potentially being able to work from the road and whatnot-- it’s just changed how much traffic has initiated here. ”

That’s putting a lot of pressure on parking. It’s increasingly filling up. That was the case last weekend and it’s expected again this weekend heading into the Washoe County School District’s Fall Break.

“So that’s why getting a ride, using rideshares, talking to family members, that’s the best way to go so people don’t miss their flights,” says Turner.

But if you do have to drive and park at the airport in the coming days, the airport does have a plan in case all 3,400 spaces are taken inside the parking garage and surface lot. It can open up overflow parking, which would create about 400 more spaces. And then, if that gets full...

”There would be shuttles, shutting folks to parking off of National Guard Way, if it comes to that,” says Turner.

With travel and growth in the area only increasing, the airport is looking at longer-term solutions.

”We’re doing a landside parking study that will show us what some of the trends are for parking in the future,” says Turner. “That includes a facility which would move the rental cars out of our parking garage into their own facility close enough that’s within walking distance, opening up between 700 and 900 spaces inside the parking garage in the future.”

While it could be three to five years before that plan comes to fruition, the airport is looking at providing some relief as early as late spring. There’s a possibility 300 spaces could be developed on the property in a new paved lot.

”We’re so pleased to have the air travel back, but we’re dealing with some of those pains that we’ll have to address in terms of parking,” says Turner. “But we’ll want to do it in a smart and safe way for travelers.”

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