Magazine

‘The Best’ Continues to Improve

By William C. Arons

Nova Scotia, adjacent to Prince Edward Island, borders on the Atlantic Ocean. Its Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) is a gateway to Canada and the U.S. for many travelers from Europe. The province has a population of just under 1 million, with 50% of its populace living close to the airport.
HSIA, which processed more than 3.5 million passengers in 2008, has been recognized as the world’s best airport in its class for providing “overall passenger satisfaction” for the past six years, through an Airports Council International survey.
Any landside expansion project would, of course, be expected to complement this wonderful track record in the future.
Early in 2007, the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) retained Toronto-based NORR Ltd. Architects and Engineers and the Boston office of Walker Parking Consultants to plan and design a major roadway/parking facility/site-work improvement project, valued at about $82 million.
Project Requirements
The following project requirements were established during the Program Phase:
• An improved roadway system, with patron wayfinding features.
• A full-service hotel, with 175 rooms, connected to the terminal.
• A multilevel parking facility, for public parkers and rental car operations, connected to the terminal with a tunnel and an overhead pedway.
• A parking revenue control system with modern payment options.
Public Parking & Rental Car Demand Study
The initial task for Walker Parking was to prepare a demand study for the public parking and “ready/return” rental car operations. The basis for the study involved a review of parking system usage and occupancy data, rental car usage data, and passenger growth projections for the coming decade as provided by the airport authority.
The study concluded that the on-airport parking demand ratio (PDR) for the Halifax airport was about 4 stalls per 1,000 annual originating enplanements, local area only, and that 400 rental car stalls were required.
Separation Features Improve Patron Wayfinding
Airport patron wayfinding, with basic roadway graphics, is always enhanced with separation of vehicles having differing destinations:
• All parking traffic and rental car traffic is directed to exit the main roadway prior to the terminal frontage roadway so as to minimize potential conflicts in front of the terminal.
• The rental car circulation pattern is isolated from the public parker vehicle flow, even though the first floor of the Parkade is dedicated to rental car operations.
• The path to “Hourly parking” is separated from the path to “Daily parking” via a unique square helix for upbound vehicle flow. Hourly parking areas are on Levels 2 and 3, convenient to the pedway. Daily parking is available on all four parking levels.
• Exiting parkers are separated from entering parkers via an internal express ramp that provides an easy flow to the cashier plaza.
• Pedestrian flow to and from the Parkade is through a tunnel, a covered bridge, or an overhead pedway for safety and comfort from various weather conditions.
• All parking stalls are provided on flat floors for wayfinding and convenience.
To ensure patron understanding of this major addition to the airport, HIAA staff members and local volunteers served as “Parking Ambassadors” to assist travelers with instructions and directions during the first few months of operation.
Precast Concrete Parkade
The Parkade, a totally precast-concrete structure, incorporates 10-foot-by-60-foot prestressed, pre-topped double tees, prestressed beams, precast columns and precast façade panels. The typical floor-to-floor height is 11 feet 6 inches. The 60-foot structural bays are oriented toward the terminal to provide comfortable parker pedestrian flow and the desired ready/return rental car operations on Level 1. This orientation also allows for ease of a future horizontal expansion to the west.
This creative façade of the Parkade combines a layout of attractive buff-colored precast concrete panels, which appear to have a basket-weave look, with a woven stainless steel fabric on the side facing the terminal. This fabric creates an open and safe feeling for patrons.
Precast concrete was selected to achieve the desired 13-month construction schedule throughout the challenging Canadian winter conditions. The cost of the five level Parkade was approximately $55 million, which does include a complete 15,000-square-foot Customer Service Facility for rental car patrons. Out-to-out plan dimensions are 300 feet by 604 feet.
Additional Project Features
A complete parking revenue control/vehicle count system was provided. It contains machine-read tickets, pay-on-foot stations, a credit card in/out option, and an automatic vehicle identification (AVI) payment option called MACPASS Plus. Six entry lanes and eight exit lanes are provided. One cashier plaza lane will be staffed 24 hours per day.
Pedestrian flow from the terminal arrival level (baggage) to the Parkade will be through a comfortable, climate-controlled tunnel below the departure level roadway.
Pedestrian flow from the Parkade to the terminal will be through an overhead pedway, which will also provide climate-controlled linkage to the future on-site hotel.
Parking Rate and Revenue Study
The consulting firm also was asked to develop future parking revenue projections incorporating a variety of parking charges coupled with three alternative passenger growth rates over a 10-year period. Parking system user statistics were utilized to develop the HSIA Parking Revenue Model so as to analyze the numerous alternative revenue projections.
William C. Arons, P.E., a Senior Vice President at Walker Parking Consultants, has been involved in airport parking consulting and design for many years. Contact him at bill.arons@walkerparking.com.

Article Abstract from April, 2011




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