The lowdown on parking before flying

This week, readers want to know about flying. Specifically, how much it’ll cost to park your car when jetting out of town, and how spy planes up high catch speeders down low.

And the Road Warrior finds more people making stupid on Las Vegas roads and sidewalks.

Rae Leta Newman asks: What does it cost to park at McCarran International Airport?

It depends where you want to park. The garage next to the main terminal costs up to $12 per car, per day. The outdoor economy lot, located along Russell Road between Paradise Road and Maryland Parkway, costs up to $6 per day, according to the airport’s Web site.

In either lot, the first hour costs $3, then $1 more per hour up to the specific lot’s daily price ceiling. Drivers can pay with cash or credit card.

A free shuttle bus roams the economy lot and shuttles passengers between their cars and Level Zero of the main terminal.

Valet parking is available in the main garage, on Level 2. That service costs up to $16 per day (plus tip).

And there’s a short-term parking area on Levels 1 and 2M of the main garage. There, parking by meter is 25 cents for 10 minutes, up to $4.25 for the three-hour maximum. The meters only accept quarters, so bring plenty of change.

At Terminal 2 — primarily used for international and charter flights — the outdoor lot charges up to $8 per day and takes cash, coins or credit cards for payment.

During major travel holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, the airport opens overflow satellite lots when the garage and economy lots become full. There is no charge for parking in the overflow lots.

More parking information is available by calling the airport’s parking department at 261-5122 or visiting the airport’s Web site at www.mccarran.com, then clicking on "ground transportation," then "parking and driving directions."

Judy Kunda asks: Could you please explain how helicopters patrol the freeway system? I see them often and wonder how they catch speeders, and when they do, how do they ticket them?

Actually, the Nevada Highway Patrol uses a single-engine Cessna airplane to seek speeders in rural areas. Rather than using a radar gun, the pilot uses road markings to help gauge the speed of cars that appear to be going faster than other traffic.

"There are thick white lines painted on the side of the road" at various intervals, said Highway Patrol trooper Kevin Honea. "There’s a little computer in the aircraft where you hit a button when it (a car) enters that zone, you hit a button when it exits that zone, and then it calculates its speed."

The plane won’t land so the pilot can issue a ticket.

"You have (squad) cars on the ground that are in contact" with the pilot, Honea said. The pilot will radio a vehicle description to a ground trooper, who will then pull over the suspect’s car and issue a ticket.

Roads where air patrols are common include Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to the California state line; U.S. Highway 95 north and south of Las Vegas; and U.S. Highway 93 north of I-15, according to Honea.

Hit ‘n Run: More random stupidity observed around the valley:

1. A helmeted old man riding a moped on the sidewalk along Anasazi Drive at Town Center Drive on March 26. Let’s get this straight: If it has wheels unattached to shoes and you’re not handicapped or a baby wearing poopy pants, it probably can’t legally use the sidewalk. That includes bicycles. And there’s no doubt about mopeds!

2. An SUV blowing past other stopped cars and through a stoplight that had long turned red along eastbound Sahara Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard on March 27. Just FYI, green does mean "go," but yellow does not mean "go faster." And red definitely doesn’t mean "stop, ’cause I’m coming through anyway.’"

3. A pickup making a right turn later that same day onto Wyoming Avenue from the inside lane of northbound Main Street, thereby cutting off northbound traffic — also known as me — using the outside lane.

Stupid is as stupid does, I hear.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call the Road Warrior at 387-2904, or e-mail him at roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com or OSofradzija@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.

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