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Local, prefecture leaders to study Miyako Airport parking

Date Posted: 2008-09-12

Parking at Miyakojima’s airport is currently free, and many cars parked there are not really airport customers.

That concerns Okinawa Prefecture officials, who’ve established a new working group within the Miyakojima City Office to study parking reform. The new Arrangement Group is proposing parking fees be implemented in 2010, citing a 2007 survey that indicated 79% of respondents endorsed the pay-to-park concept. More than 353 people thought paid parking was necessary.

A bigger problem facing the new group is coping with illegally parked cars. Many cars filling the 389 parking spaces at the airport aren’t using the airport at all. Officials say the number of cars in the lot has peaked at 480, well beyond the approved number. Many drivers, they say, leave cars in the airport parking lot for days at a time, with no reason.

The Miyakojima City Vice Mayor says “we want to listen to local peoples’ opinions.” Manabu Shimoji says “we also need to promote the Miyakojima tourism business,” adding that a smooth flowing airport parking area is a large part of tourists’ impressions of the island.

Officials all agree that charging for parking will reduce the number of illegally parked cars, and acknowledge it won’t hurt to have the additional revenues into city coffers. A recent survey of cars parked in the airport showed 34% of the spaces were filled at night. If those represent legally parked vehicles, it creates a good revenue stream.

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