Transportation

Picking People Up at D/FW Airport Will Get Trickier Starting in September

DFW curbs will be for loading and unloading only, starting in September.
DFW curbs will be for loading and unloading only, starting in September. DFW Airport
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport makes one of the worst chores in the world easy. Drivers doing their friendly or familial duty and picking up flyers can drive onto airport property, follow the signs to the appropriate gate and idle at the curb until their passenger shows up. Starting Sept. 8, the Saturday after Labor Day, that's going to change.

That day, the curbside areas at all five D/FW terminals will become active loading and unloading zones only, forcing those who arrive early to pick someone up to wait in a terminal garage. DFW officials say they're adding 1,200 one-hour parking spaces to accommodate those affected by the change.

Sean Donohue, airport CEO, said Wednesday that the decision — which brings D/FW in line with other major airports, like Love Field, that haven't allowed curbside idling since 2001 — to curb curbside pickup was all about improving traffic at the airport.

"There are more vehicles than ever at the airport, and we want to keep traffic moving while providing safer access to our terminals." — Sean Donohue

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"There are more vehicles than ever at the airport, and we want to keep traffic moving while providing safer access to our terminals," Donohue said. "These necessary changes will improve the overall customer experience as it relates to traffic flow, efficiencies and ease of navigation."

Beginning this month, signs indicating the ban will go up around the airport, with security officers directing drivers to move their cars to the garage if they are idling near the curb. Full enforcement of the new rule won't begin until September.

According to the airport, 245,000 more cars passed through the airport in February 2018 than in February 2015. Keeping those cars away from terminal curbs will allow the airport to allow more transportation services access to the upper and lower concourses as early as 2019, the airport says.

It's worth noting that the potential changes will not increase the amount it costs to pick someone up at the airport. Airport tolls are based on time, no matter where someone is on the property, not where one chooses to park his or her car.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young