Aug. 20--Bob Hope Airport officials are considering adding three new parking areas that would be closer to the terminal in an effort to increase parking revenues -- a major funding source for the airfield -- as well as providing more convenient parking.
They began eyeing the extra lots because Lot E, which is within walking distance from the terminal, is almost continuously packed.
"If you come in here Monday through Friday any time after about 8 a.m., you're going to pretty much see E Lot is full," said Denis Carvill, deputy executive director of operations and maintenance/airline relations, during a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday.
One of the proposed lots would be to the north of the new transportation center and would primarily serve passengers who are using rental car services, which are now housed in the center.
[It would] also be priced to be attractive to a rail traveler who is doing Metrolink commuting during the day," said airport spokesman Victor Gill after the meeting. It would not be for overnight parking, he added.
A Metrolink train station is near the transportation center and eventually a bridge is slated to be built over Empire Avenue and into the second level of the transportation center.
Until the bridge is built, train travelers would be able to park in the new lot, walk across the center's ground level and cross Empire using a crosswalk.
Further north, another lot would be built on a portion of the former Lot D, which was closed to make room for the transportation center. Travelers parking there would be able to take an elevator or escalator to the center's second level and use the new moving walkway that connects to the airport terminal.
Officials are also looking at using existing covered parking that was formerly used for valet parking, and letting passengers park there and walk to the terminal. The covered parking is located to the east of the valet parking center.
Parking revenues have been a concern for airfield officials because they sometimes don't follow passenger numbers.
One recent change that appears to be a factor was the temporary closure of Lot B in January to save money during the slow season, according to airport officials.
"It was our lowest yield car parking lot," Carvill said during the meeting. "It was costing a little bit more to run it, with buses and everything, than the money it was bringing in."
In looking at the calculated parking transactions at competitor VSP Parking -- located across from the airport on Hollywood Way -- it appears the Lot B closure had a financial impact because the number of transactions climbed at VSP.
"[It] peaked drastically when we closed Lot B, so the initial reaction of our customers when we closed Lot B was to just go a few yards down the road and park in VSP," Carvill said.
However, about a month and a half later, the number of transactions began to rise in Lots A and C at the airfield as travelers began finding parking alternatives, he added.
Officials are looking to reopen Lot B as an express-pay, credit-card-only lot with no bus service. That change must be approved by the authority to be implemented.
Rates for the proposed lots are still being evaluated, and airport officials will return to the authority's operations committee with a possible structure, Carvill said.
In letting passengers know about the new lots, airport officials may use a billboard at the airport, but the airport's website may be the most effective way to get the word out.
"The No. 1 thing that people come to our website to look up is parking information," said Dan Feger, the airfield's executive director. "We need to use our website to our advantage."
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