Revised draft study released outlining San Diego Airport improvements
A revised environmental study has been released which details plans to build a more modern, efficient San Diego International Airport which has seen an increase of passenger numbers of 400 per cent since it opened in 1967.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has released a revised draft environmental study for the Airport Development Plan (ADP), which envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 with a modern, efficient facility and related improvements to ensure a better customer experience for decades to come.
The revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) incorporates new information gathered over the past year through more than 100 meetings with regional partner agencies, community stakeholders and others. The original DEIR was issued in July 2018.
Kim Becker, the Airport Authority’s President/CEO, said: “The Airport Authority is committed to being a collaborative community partner. That’s why we felt it was necessary to reach out to our stakeholders and do a lot of listening. Then we went back and revised our thinking to make the project work better for everyone.”
One major issue related to the ADP has been transit connectivity to San Diego International Airport (SAN). The Airport Authority believes a strong connection to the region’s transit system is extremely important for its passengers, for the 9,400 people who work at SAN, and for overall traffic circulation in the area around the airport.
To that end, the Airport Authority is working with SANDAG and other regional agencies to assist in their efforts to determine the best transit solution for carrying people to the airport. The Airport Authority has set aside space between the terminals for a transit station that could connect to a project chosen by regional transportation planning agencies.
The designated transit station area will be able to accommodate whatever type of system is ultimately chosen by SANDAG and the other agencies.
In addition, the Airport Authority will launch an all-electric shuttle fleet that will carry transit riders from the Old Town Transit Center to the airport and back. This service is set to launch in early 2020.
The need for the ADP has been fuelled by the tremendous growth seen in passenger volumes. When Terminal 1 opened in 1967, it served 2.5 million passengers that year. In 2018, the same facility served more than 12 million.
Its design is dated and inefficient. The new Terminal 1 would be a more modern facility with up to 30 gates – 11 more than the existing Terminal 1. It would offer more gate-area seating, restaurants and shops, as well as additional security checkpoints with more lanes and a host of energy-efficiency upgrades.
A proposed on-airport access road would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from North Harbor Drive. The ADP also sets aside right-of-way for outbound lanes.
After a 45-day period to gather public comments on the revised DEIR, the Airport Authority will endeavor to present the report to the Airport Authority Board for certification by early 2020.
The California Coastal Commission and federal environmental approvals processes will follow, and if all approvals are secured, the Airport Authority aims to break ground in 2021 and open the first phase of the new Terminal 1 (19 gates) by 2024.