Skip to main content

Parking Magazine Facility Spotlight: Enhancing the Passenger Experience at San Diego Airport

Original Source:  "Facility Spotlight: Enhancing the Passenger Experience at San Diego Airport" by John Purinton, for Parking Magazine

Image for Parking Magazine Facility Spotlight: Enhancing the Passenger Experience at San Diego Airport Photo by Tom Paiva

The Terminal 2 Parking Plaza incorporates public art, public space and high end technology to create a premier parking experience.

The current demand for convenient parking at the San Diego International Airport was not being met, and demand is expected to grow. With a small footprint of 661 acres, structured parking was necessary to meet the Airport’s parking needs. However, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority wasn’t interested in a mere box to park cars in. They envisioned a new “front door” to Terminal 2 that would provide a premier passenger experience.

To deliver on this vision, emphasis was placed on customer-focused design and state-of-the-art technology to provide a more efficient, relaxing experience for departing and returning travelers. The resulting Parking Plaza provides 2,907 parking stalls and is infused with a high-level experience that begins before travelers even leave home.

Streamlined Arrival & Departure

Cutting edge parking technology provides drivers with a means to secure parking reservations in advance and streamline their experience upon arrival.

A license plate recognition system that expedites egress, flexible payment options and a high level parking guidance system makes arriving and departing the structure smooth and efficient.

Welcoming Atmosphere

Beyond delivering a user-friendly experience, the Parking Plaza celebrates San Diego by creating a welcoming atmosphere for travelers. An overlook on the top level provides amazing harbor and downtown views.

Three lightwells placed throughout infuse the structure with light and offer public art canopies, seating and aesthetic touches that encourage travelers to relax and enjoy the journey.

Celebrating San Diego Through Public Art

Passengers exiting Terminal 2 are greeted by three massive, brightly colored public art installations on the exterior of the Parking Plaza’s three main stair towers.

Each installation consists of stainless steel aircraft cables strung with hundreds of resin airplanes. Each screen features a different style plane to celebrate San Diego’s commitment to the aviation industry.

To connect even deeper to the Airport’s origins as Lindbergh Field, one plane is a model of San Diego’s own Spirit of St. Louis. Each installation features a unique color to act as a wayfinding element for passengers.

Facility Facts

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Parking Spaces: 2,907
  • Levels: 3
  • Opened: 2018
  • Architect, Structural Engineer & Parking Planner: Watry Design, Inc.
  • Design Builder: Swinerton
  • Design Architect: Gensler

About the Author

John Purinton, SE has been creating parking solutions for over 30 years. John is a licensed engineer in 8 states. He is responsible for the design of over 150 parking projects and leads parking structure design for the firm. A member of NPA's Parking Consultant’s Council, John was a contributor to the latest edition of The Dimensions of Parking and has both written and spoken on design build delivery and the cost of parking structures.

Read More