SAN DIEGO – July 7, 2014 – The Board of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority voted to direct staff to proceed with construction of a long-anticipated parking plaza adjacent to Terminal 2. The Board also approved an Addendum to the 2008 Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) that originally included a parking structure. The Addendum showed there were no significant changes since 2008.
“Our need for more close-in parking is clear,” said Airport Authority President/CEO Thella F. Bowens. “Our single lowest customer satisfaction rating is for availability of parking. Building this plaza will enhance customer service, especially for the business traveler for whom convenient, close-in parking is a priority.”
Although the Board certified the FEIR on May 1, 2008, the parking structure was deferred while the rest of the airport master plan, including The Green Build proceeded. Although the expansion of Terminal 2 added 10 new gates, it did not add any parking capacity.
The original project was envisioned as a five-story structure with 5,000 parking spaces. The current project scope is for three stories and 3,000 spaces.
The parking plaza is also expected to have environmental benefits, by reducing total vehicle trips for passengers who park on site vs. being dropped off and picked up. And Smart Parking Technology will allow parkers to reserve spaces and pay before leaving, reducing circulating and idling times.
Another consideration is phasing during the anticipated replacement of Terminal 1 as part of the Airport Development Plan (ADP). While multi-year construction takes place, parking in front of Terminal 1 will be lost. The parking plaza will help offset that loss during construction. Also proposed as part of the ADP is a future on-airport roadway that would take all airport traffic off of Harbor Drive.
Other projects that have reduced traffic include the new central receiving and distribution center, which takes 50 to 75 trucks a day off Harbor Drive, and the rental car center being built on Pacific Highway will take another 10% to 15% of all traffic off Harbor Drive.
“This airport is very constrained and its footprint is only 661 acres. We need to make use of every available bit of land to meet the needs of air travelers into the future,” Bowens added. “Increasing parking capacity by building vertically rather than horizontally is a necessity.”
Airport Authority staff will also be emphasizing aesthetics as they design and build the parking plaza, and include a public art component.
Next steps are to prepare a programmatic document, complete project design and obtain a California Coastal Development Permit. After that, project construction bidding and award will precede actual work. Current estimates are that it will be three years before the parking plaza is complete.