As many of you know, the Airport Authority team has been working hard over the past several years on the Airport Development Plan (ADP), which envisions the replacement of the aging and outdated Terminal 1, along with related improvements. Our goal is to ensure that your airport can continue to provide a world-class customer experience for decades to come.
Last week, we took a big step in this process. We released a revised environmental study for the ADP that improves on the plan in a number of important ways. As you’ll recall, the original Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was released in July 2018, and the community had a lot to say about it! Since then, we’ve held more than 100 meetings and did a lot of listening. Then we went back and revised our thinking to make the project work better for everyone.
When we say “everyone,” we’re talking about the 24 million people who fly each year to visit families and friends or conduct business; as well as our neighbors who live and work around the airport; and, of course, the 9,400 people who come to work at SAN every day.
The planning process has been a collaborative experience with regional partner agencies, stakeholders and the greater San Diego community, as we seek to create a plan that address the significant growth in passenger volumes we’ve seen over the years.
Nowhere is the impact of this growth more evident than in the cramped and overburdened Terminal 1. It was built in 1967 and served 2.5 million passengers its first year. In 2018, the same facility served 12 million passengers. Realistically, Terminal 1 has outlived its useful lifespan. That’s a point on which virtually everyone agrees.
So the newest vision includes everything we’ve long planned for in a new, modern airport terminal, including more gate-area seating, restaurants and shops, as well as additional security checkpoints with more lanes. The plan still calls for a proposed on-airport access road that would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from North Harbor Drive.
But here are six important areas in which we’ve made changes to the original plan based on your feedback:
* Transportation/Transit: 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. In addition, the Airport Authority will launch an all-electric shuttle fleet early next year that will carry transit riders from the Old Town Transit Center to the airport and back.
* Forecast: The official activity forecast that projects growth in passenger numbers and flights has been updated, using data from 2018. The new forecast was approved by the FAA in mid-2019.
* FAA Funding for Off-Airport Improvements: The Airport Authority has submitted a request to the FAA to approve using airport revenues to help fund off-airport roadway and transit projects designed to increase mobility to the airport.
* Parking: The size of a planned parking structure in front of the new Terminal 1 has been reduced by 2,000 spaces, from a maximum of 7,500 spaces to 5,500 spaces (a net increase of only 650 spaces from 2018), to make room for the potential transit station.
* Climate Action Plan: The revised ADP is better aligned with the City’s Climate Action Plan. Initiatives include expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure, a bicycle path on Harbor Drive and new incentives to promote alternative commuting habits among employees.
* Sea-level Rise: The Airport Authority has completed a plan to address impacts from higher sea levels, more intense rainfall and extreme heat. For example, there is a plan to expand stormwater systems that provide the ability to capture and reuse more than 39 million gallons of rain annually. The Airport Authority is also partnering with Scripps Institution of Oceanography to monitor sea levels using advanced sensors in San Diego Bay.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the ADP is the need that drives it. A new Terminal 1 will ensure that the airport can provide a better experience for passengers as their numbers increase – and passenger volumes will continue to grow regardless of whether Terminal 1 is replaced. The FAA and the marketplace dictate how many airplanes can take off and land. It is SAN’s single runway – not the terminals – that determines the ultimate capacity of the airport.
You can read all about the ADP at http://www.san.org/plan
, or check out a concise summary of the project here. You can dive into the full Recirculated Draft EIR here – where you’ll find all of the revisions I talk about in this letter described in “Alternative 4.”
As always, thanks for your feedback, input and support.
Kimberly J. Becker
President / CEO