Fairbanks International Airport police are increasing their efforts to quell a resurgence in unattended vehicles left outside the terminals.
A post on the agency's official "Fairbanks Airport Police and Fire Department" Facebook page Wednesday morning announced the enforcement.
"Remember last year when we said we were going to start cracking down and making sure people didn’t leave their cars all alone and unattended on the concourse,?" the post reads. "Well, there are still far too many of you who don’t think the rules apply, or it’s OK to fudge for 'I was only inside for a minute' or 'I was dropping off my wife/husband/cousin/friend and he or she doesn’t know how to pack lightly, I didn’t want to carry 17 bags in from the parking lot.'"
Effective immediately, the post states, any vehicle left unattended for any period of time will be issued a $70 ticket.
Airport Police Chief Aaron Danielson said in a Wednesday interview that drivers have been ignoring the rules for too long.
"It's been a problem for a number of years out here, and last spring we took a concentrated effort to contact passengers and people coming through and inform them of the rules and make sure traffic stayed moving as opposed to becoming a parking lot," he said. "But we've been at this for about 12 months now, and we haven't really seen a change in behavior."
The crackdown wasn't instigated by a single incident. Rather, it was done in response to a pattern of behavior that Danielson and the other officers have noticed over time.
"We infrequently issued citations before. So I don't think it's anyone being under the impression that they're allowed to do this, but rather they're under the impression that they've been able to get away with it for years," he said.
The $70 is a federally set amount, Danielson added.
"It's a $50 citation with a $20 surcharge," he said. "But we don't get any of it. It's not like it's revenue for the airport; it goes directly into the state's general fund."
The Facebook post emphasizes the proper uses for each lane of the four-lane road in front of the terminal.
"Lanes 1 & 2 on the concourse are for active loading and unloading of passengers and their luggage only. Lanes 3 & 4 are for driving. At no time shall a vehicle be parked in the outside 2 lanes (unless yielding to a pedestrian in the crosswalk)," the post reads.
With peak travel season beginning, Danielson said enforcement is necessary as the airport sees nearly double the passenger traffic during the summer tourist months.
"We generally have two police officers on at a time," he said. "The middle of the night from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. is when the concourse gets busiest, so it takes both during those hours."
Danielson said the department decided to announce the change on Facebook to make sure everyone was aware of it.
"I mean, we have signage up along the entire concourse, there are regular audio announcements about not leaving your vehicle unattended, we have officers to contact people and give them direction, so I think it's pretty hard to say now 'I wasn't aware of the rules,'" he said.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.