Alerted by a brief item about National Airport parking lot congestion in yesterday morning's paper, MetroScene took a driving tour of the busy facility at midday yesterday. Things weren't as bad as advertised. But with Easter week approaching and many people going home or to a resort for a vacation, it's clear that the 4,700 public parking spaces will soon be filled to overflowing.
Hugh Riddle, the airport's deputy director, also speculated that one reason things eased up yesterday was that people flying out of National may have heeded the warning and rode Metro, took taxicabs or got someone to drive them to the airport rather than parking there all day.
My airport tour also provided an opportunity to try out the new low-power radio station intended to direct airline passengers arriving by car to the parking lots where space is available. Signs at the airport entrances advise drivers to tune in at 530 on the radio dial.
Simply stated, the radio station was a disaster. Operated by the airport's parking contractor, its narrator had no voice training for broadcasting. She spoke so fast that even an attentive listener couldn't comprehend the words.
But even worse, the station signal was repeatedly drowned out by a country-rock station.
"We are clearly having technical difficulties with that station," said Riddle. "We are working to rectify that."