FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies are taking measures to curb illegal parking at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
With more and more flights arriving and departing for the holidays come more rides to and from the airport, and that has given way to the illicit practice, said officials. “Ten months ago, this wasn’t an issue,” said BSO Deputy Michael Dingman.
Officials said ride sharing drivers are parking as close to the airport as they can get, in some cases right under the runway. Dingman said that poses a security risk. “This is an active part of the runway. If you really have bad intentions, this could be a really, really bad scenario right here,” he said.
Dingman calls the illicit practice a “soft target,” part of his job at South Florida’s second largest airport.
Despite the “no parking” signs surrounding FLL, a 7News crew spotted dozens of illegally parked cars in less than an hour, Tuesday afternoon.
Each driver could be issued a $155 citation. “Being the holidays, I’m not trying to be Mr. Scrooge, but I have a job I have to do,” said Dingman.
More than 12 cars were parked on the side of the road at U.S. 1 and Griffin Road, a few hundred feet from where planes take off.
It’s enough for a personal visit from Dingman. 7News cameras captured the deputy asking whether they were Uber drivers. Most of them nodded their heads.
Dingman opted to let them go without a ticket but not before delivering a stern warning. “Come on in, let’s get close ’cause I want to talk to you guys,” he said as he motioned the drivers to come closer.
It was time for some driving 101, courtesy of the BSO. “The runway is right there,” he told the drivers as he pointed to the brand-new addition to the airport. “You go right around this tree right there, you can see the runway. They’re taking off and landing on that runway.”
So where can Uber and Lyft drivers park? There is a lot located just south of the runway, but airport officials said they are saving it for limos and taxis. They said they are still searching for a place where ride sharing drivers can park safely.
As long as Uber and Lyft drivers are willing to risk the pricey ticket, officials said, illegal parking — and the reckless driving that it sometimes entails — will remain a concern for law enforcement.
“That’s up on the top main reasons why I’m out here enforcing this, is because of this infrastructure issue,” said Dingman, “because the planes are right here. The passengers are right there.”
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