Parking garage, 10 gates in proposal
By Steve Schmidt
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
May 2, 2008
SAN DIEGO – Lindbergh Field officials yesterday approved an environmental study and master plan that set the stage for major changes, from the terminals to the taxiways.
By unanimous vote, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board backed both documents, which include a proposal for a 5,000-space, five-level parking garage.
San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and some airport-area residents urged the board to drop the garage idea, saying it would add to the traffic tie-ups on North Harbor Drive.
Board members said the vote does not lock them into building the $196 million structure, targeted for Terminal 2. They said they need to study parking and traffic issues at Lindbergh in more detail before making decisions.
Board member Ramona Finnila said a garage on that scale, if built at all, could wind up on a different part of Lindbergh property.
Her comments followed a public hearing that alternated between calls to postpone changes at Lindbergh and pleas to start construction as soon as possible.
“We believe it is time to move forward, and we believe this plan does so in a responsible way,” said Andrew L. Poat, representing the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
The master plan and environmental impact report approved yesterday examine more than $650 million in possible short-term projects, including expanded taxiways and the addition of 10 gates to Terminal 2.
Authority staff members say the improvements are needed to deal with the growth in air traffic.
Many nearby residents and others, already fed up with traffic, worry that any expansion in Lindbergh parking will lead to constant gridlock on their streets.
“We've created the perfect storm here for Point Loma residents,” said longtime area resident Dianne Reichardt.
Although more than a dozen residents raised concerns and questions about the master plan and environmental report at the hearing, just as many speakers urged approval.
Many represented business and tourist interests, including the San Diego World Trade Center and the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association.
Authority board members said traffic and parking issues will loom large in whatever decisions they make about the future of Lindbergh.
Agency planners, along with a team of consultants, say the parking lots near Lindbergh's Harbor Drive terminals are already 2,000 spaces too small.
Steve Schmidt: (619) 293-1380; firstname.lastname@example.org
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