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LAX Economy Parking Wins NPA Innovative Facility of the Year

Image for LAX Economy Parking Wins NPA Innovative Facility of the Year Photography by Pablo Mason

The LAX Economy Parking Structure was recognized as the Innovative Facility of the Year at the National Parking Association's Annual Conference and Expo in Austin, Texas. 

As the third busiest airport in the world located in a city known for its car culture, traffic congestion is a chronic problem at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Entering and exiting the “U” shaped central terminal area (CTA) that serves as the primary access point for travelers creates significant backups, making travel times to and from the airport unpredictable.

To address these problems, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) embarked on a $5.5 billion project known as the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP). LAX Economy Parking is the first major LAMP component to open to the public. The four-level, 1.73 million square foot facility provides 4,300 stalls and serves as a mobility hub, setting the tone for a transformed passenger experience.

Once the Automated People Mover (APM), another major LAMP component, opens in 2023, passengers can be dropped and picked up, or can park and ride the APM directly to the CTA. Until then, a complimentary shuttle will carry travelers to and from the CTA.

LAX Economy Parking will also provide a much greater convenience to more than 55,000 badged employees with the new 26,000 square foot Security & Badging Office on the ground level. Scheduled to open in 2022, it will eventually be accessible using the Automated People Mover (APM) and public transportation. Should LAX’s needs change in the future, the higher clearances required for the badging office paved the way to design the ground floor of the facility to adapt to alternative uses.

The goal for LAX Economy Parking was to elevate the guest experience, which meant creating a parking garage that went beyond a functional facility. Collaborative brainstorming with the entire team helped put together a vision that included programming for escalators, a cantilevered walkway that runs the length of the structure parallel to the APM, expanded lightwells, stylized light fixtures and enhanced pedestrian paths where guests meander through landscaped planters.

Space was added on the ground level to provide a centralized meet-and-greet location and shuttle stop. A dedicated bus lane provides quick access to and from the airport away from regular traffic. Valet parking will also be offered in the future. Adjacent to the meet-and-greet area are public restrooms, a water bottle refill station, vending machines and a pet relief area to provide more convenience for travelers.

An online pre-booking system offers discounted rates for reserving in advance. Upon arrival, dynamic signage displays availability at each level. Red and green lights indicate open spaces so users can park quickly and efficiently. This technology is the first of its kind at LAX, and will be rolled out to all LAX parking structures in the future.

Parking guidance technology is one of several sustainable components that support LAWA's plan to achieve zero carbon emissions and zero waste, among other sustainability goals. Additional sustainable elements include drought tolerant landscaping, energy saving lighting controls and reserved parking for low emitting vehicles and carpools. Nearly 1,600 stalls – 37% of the total stall count – were designed with EV charging infrastructure.


Owner: Los Angeles World Airports

Architect, Structural Engineer and Parking Planner: Watry Design, Inc. 

Design Builder: Swinerton 

Design Architect: Gensler

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