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Chicago airports opening 'cell-phone' lots

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CHICAGO — Drivers meeting travelers at the city's two airports will be able to use new free parking lots while waiting. The so-called "cell-phone lots" are scheduled to open Monday at O'Hare and Midway international airports and are meant to cut down on congestion and air pollution from circling cars.

The lots also are intended to discourage motorists from parking illegally on the shoulder of roads leading to the airports as they wait for a cell phone call from the travelers they're meeting.

"We want to improve traffic throughout the core and make sure people waiting on the curb do not endanger themselves when it's time to weave into oncoming traffic to go meet family and friends at the terminal," said newly appointed Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez.

"This gives them a free parking location where they can wait in a safe manner without circling around waiting for that phone call to come in," Fernandez said.

O'Hare's cell-phone lot has 150 spaces; Midway's has 90.

Police officers monitoring the lots will ticket and tow unattended vehicles. Drivers will be required to stay with their vehicles, and there is a one-hour limit.

Other cities where airports also have opened cell-phone lots include Los Angeles, San Diego and Baltimore.

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