As SFO’s ‘cell phone wait lot’ opens, circling expected to abate

For most, picking up a friend or family member at the airport has become a ritual of circling, cutting across lanes and giving other drivers “the wave” as they wait for the cell phone to ring.

But “cell phone wait lots” have popped up to provide safe haven for drivers not looking to pay for short-term parking or catch heat from security officers asking them to move along as they pull through the terminal.

San Francisco’s award-winning airport has finally joined its Bay Area competitors by providing such a lot for drivers in an effort to ease congestion and improve traffic flow around its terminals.

The waiting area, one exit north of the airport off of San Bruno Avenue, opened this week and is roughly two miles away from the main terminals.

Formerly an employee parking lot, the waiting area has 68 parking spaces just off San Bruno Avenue by the long-term parking area. San Jose International Airport and Oakland International Airport already have wait lots, and travelers to San Francisco’s airport seemed to welcome the new addition, but worried about its location.

There are signs on San Bruno Avenue for the new lot, and the airport will place signs by the terminals within the next few weeks, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. The airport is also working with Caltrans to put up signs on U.S. Highway 101.

Steve Reimers, a San Francisco cab driver for 35 years and resident for 57 years, caught some shut-eye Wednesday in the newly christened lot while waiting for his father-in-law to call from the baggage claim.

Reimers said the wait lot was a good idea because traffic going to the terminals can sometimes back up all the wayto the overpasses.

“The cars are moving around, in and out. It really slows down the traffic,” Reimers said. The location of the wait lot, somewhat separated from the terminals, could pose a problem for some because “there’s quite a maze of exits and entrances,” he added.

As has been the practice for at least 16 years, McCarron said, there can only be active loading and unloading area along airport curbs because of both airport and Transportation Security Administration regulations.

Without the space for the cell phone wait lot, recent relocation and redesigning of long-term and employee lots cleared up room to provide the service that customers had mentioned to the airport in surveys, McCarron said.

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

National Weather Service flood watch in the San Francisco Bay Area for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (National Weather Service via Bay City News)
Storm pounds Bay Area, leaving over 145,000 without power: Closures and updates

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Most Read