Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

Places in Washington DC

Norton Asks MWAA to Correct Lack of Signage at National Airport to Eliminate Confusion for Passengers and Drivers During Ongoing Construction

Sep 4, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Aviation Subcommittee, today released Norton’s letter to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President and CEO John Potter regarding the absence of signage and direction at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to inform people where to pick up arriving passengers and to inform passengers where to meet arriving private vehicles during construction at the airport.

In her letter, Norton wrote, “Like many Members of Congress, I recently was picked up at Reagan by a staff member.  The signage for taxis was clearly posted.  However, it was almost impossible for drivers of regular cars to determine where to go.  Some private cars, which may have been Uber or Lyft, seem to have decided simply to line up beside the taxis (awkward and dangerous), but private cars found no directions about picking up passengers…Consequently, only a small area clearly designated for taxis was available for all arriving passengers, even those not waiting for cabs.  Moreover, it was also difficult for passengers to know where to depart from the inside of the airport to exit to meet their cars.  Additional signage inside where passengers depart is also necessary to keep them from meeting with a phalanx of cones that block off virtually all automobiles…I appreciate that construction is necessary.  Like most residents, I have no issue with that necessary inconvenience.  At the same time, the airport has a reciprocal obligation to provide appropriate signage and directions to minimize inconvenience.”

Norton’s full letter is below.

John E. Potter
President and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
1 Aviation Circle
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Potter:

I write to bring to your attention the considerable difficulty I experienced – and I am sure many others as well – because of the absence of signage and direction at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to inform traffic where to pick up arriving passengers and to inform passengers where to meet their arriving private vehicles during construction at the airport.  As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Aviation subcommittee, I was surprised to see that only confusing and clumsy steps had been taken to direct traffic for arriving residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, as well as visitors being picked up by relatives or other private cars.

Like many Members of Congress, I recently was picked up at Reagan by a staff member.  The signage for taxis was clearly posted.  However, it was almost impossible for drivers of regular cars to determine where to go.  Some private cars, which may have been Uber or Lyft, seem to have decided simply to line up beside the taxis (awkward and dangerous), but private cars found no directions about picking up passengers, particularly at doors 7 through 10, where I waited.  Adding to the confusion, most of the airport sidewalk designated for arriving passengers is impassable from the curb for passengers waiting for cars because of additional strip barriers to prevent people from going into the streets, whether for waiting cars or to cross the street.  Consequently, only a small area clearly designated for taxis was available for all arriving passengers, even those not waiting for cabs.  Further, there were no directions informing cars picking up passengers how to reach them, and as a result, my staffer was pulled over and ticketed, through no fault of his own, because there was no signage to follow to get to arriving passengers, and he accidentally went into the area designated for commercial cars.

Moreover, it was also difficult for passengers to know where to depart from the inside of the airport to exit to meet their cars.  Additional signage inside where passengers depart is also necessary to keep them from meeting with a phalanx of cones that block off virtually all automobiles.

I have no doubt that many other residents have made similar errors, also through no fault of their own, and likely were ticketed.  I am particularly concerned that many of the passengers being picked up by relatives and friends may be visitors to the nation’s capital, a tourist mecca, which could lead to a negative view of our area and therefore deprive the District of Columbia and the region of some revenue.

I appreciate that construction is necessary.  Like most residents, I have no issue with that necessary inconvenience.  At the same time, the airport has a reciprocal obligation to provide appropriate signage and directions to minimize inconvenience.

Please provide me with the steps the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority intends to take to resolve the confusion for arriving passengers and cars, who currently encounter a long line of cones and lack of direction as to how to find their cars as they try to exit the airport.

I ask that you look into this issue and respond concerning progress, in writing, within 30 days.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Member of Congress

CC: Warner H. Session, Chairman of the Board

###