Terminal 2 Parking Plaza

Terminal 2 Parking Plaza at the San Diego International Airport earns Envision Gold Award for Sustainable Infrastructure

Terminal 2 Parking Plaza at the San Diego International Airport

The Terminal 2 Parking at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) has received the Envision Gold award for sustainable infrastructure. This is the second project at SAN to receive an Envision award. To reach Gold status, a project must demonstrate that it delivers a wide range of heightened environmental, social, and economic benefits to the host and affected communities.

“The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is committed to ensuring that all of our capital projects meet the highest standards of environmental and financial sustainability,” said Kim Becker, the Airport Authority’s President/CEO. “We could not be more proud that the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure has recognized our efforts with the Envision Gold award for the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza.”

The Terminal 2 Parking Plaza is a cutting-edge three-story Parking Plaza with approximately 3,000 parking stalls. The project is just over 11 acres in size, and the total parking structure area of the Parking Plaza will be nearly one million square feet. The Parking Plaza also includes off-site improvements including parking lot reconfigurations, utility relocations and will provide a connection into the existing airport campus.

The Terminal 2 Parking Plaza project is designed to provide a fast, safe, and convenient experience for travelers. It provides improved vehicle circulation and state-of-the-art parking guidance and wayfinding systems such as integrating technology to allow motorists to easily locate the nearest available parking spaces, reserve spaces in advance, and streamline the payment process.

SAN worked in close collaboration with Haley & Aldrich, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Swinerton, Drew George & Partners, Watry Design, and Gensler to deliver this award-winning sustainable project.

The Envision system examines the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole, through five distinct categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.

Key factors contributing to the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza earning Envision Gold include:

Improving mobility and access. The project has been configured to maximize safety by reducing sightline obstructions and improving vehicle circulation. The project also provides better access to mass transit options, and provides users with clear, direct, and more convenient access to the terminal. Internal parking guidance systems incorporated into the Parking Plaza will facilitate more efficient parking, and the project minimizes traffic delays for egress from the parking structure, especially during special events and high-traffic periods that have traditionally caused traffic to back-up. Additionally, the Parking Plaza has implemented payment options that reduce or eliminate idling in the egress parking lanes, including pay-on-foot, pay-by-cell, and Automated Vehicle Identification.

Improving public space and amenities. Public viewing areas were incorporated into the project to provide unencumbered views of the San Diego Bay and the downtown area. In addition, the Parking Plaza features two permanent, large-scale public art commissions designed specifically for the space. The Parking Plaza also features unique signage on the top deck and engraved with an original poem by a local poet.

Using renewable energy. The San Diego Airport Authority currently has 5.5 megawatts of solar panels installed at the San Diego International Airport which generate 8.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The solar arrays are connected to the airport’s micro-grid system that distributes electricity to the facilities throughout the airport campus. The Authority plans to allocate approximately 687 thousand kilowatt hours to the Parking Plaza facility, enabling the Parking Plaza to be completely powered by renewable energy, with significant renewable power to remain available to the Authority to use for future projects.

Managing stormwater runoff. The Parking Plaza includes a series of 36-inch diameter storage pipes beneath the bottom level of the structure and have been sized to store the 85thpercentile runoff. Water captured and stored by this system is delivered to the airport’s Central Utility Plant as “make-up water”. Make up water replaces water from the cooling tower that runs in a loop to remove heat from the chilled water system and then to the cooling tower where it releases the heat into the atmosphere. Without this system, the airport would otherwise have to use city water for this function. Therefore, this system manages stormwater while saving city water for other uses.

Additionally, the project scored the highest in the Leadership category with some of the most points received for (1) providing effective leadership and commitment, (2) fostering collaboration and teamwork, (3) providing stakeholder involvement, and (4) improving infrastructure integration.

“The San Diego Airport Authority is a leader in sustainability, and their Terminal 2 Parking Plaza project is the latest example of their tireless commitment to improving environmental, social, and economic outcomes throughout their airport and for the community at large,” said Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s Acting Managing Director. “ISI is pleased to present this project with an Envision Gold award for sustainable infrastructure.”


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