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Consider this: Top design elements crucial to an airport parking garage’s success

How JE Dunn partnered with top airports to design parking facilities that enhance passenger satisfaction, push the design envelope, and provide crucial sources of operational revenue

When people think of airports, they often picture bustling terminals, runways, and aircraft. However, an integral component of airport infrastructure is typically the first thing they encounter – the parking garage. These multi-level facilities play a pivotal role in local travelers’ experiences, often serving as the gateway to and from their hometown. And for almost every airport, and some cities, they also provide a crucial source of operational revenue.

There are three top design considerations to lean into when building an airport parking garage that meets the needs of locals, travelers, and municipalities alike: safety, sustainability, and equity. The recently completed parking garages at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Portland International Airport (PDX) highlight how these considerations can come to life in unique and innovative ways, from sketch to completion.

Safety

The safety and security of both vehicles and patrons in a parking garage are paramount. Modern parking garages incorporate advanced safety measures such as clear signage, well-placed lighting, surveillance cameras, and emergency call boxes. Oftentimes, access control systems and automated payment options add an extra layer of security.

At KCI, beyond providing ample parking and safety features, the parking garage offers speed ramps for safe navigation, quick access to all levels of the garage, valet parking for convenience, and commercial lanes for added accessibility.

Sustainability

In an age of environmental consciousness, sustainable design is a must. At minimum, parking structures are implementing eco-friendly elements like LED lighting, natural ventilation, and recycled materials. More forward-thinking structures are incorporating solar panels on the roof to generate clean energy, and electric vehicle charging stations to promote sustainability. Many airports are even looking to incorporate multi-modal transportation centers into new parking facilities to allow for the extension of light rail to be incorporated at a later date.

At KCI, JE Dunn helped implement many of these sustainable strategies. The completed facility provides 62 dual electric vehicle charging stations and multiple ADA compliant electric vehicle charging stations. Additional electrical pathways are provided for expansion of the charging infrastructure as vehicles become increasingly electric, and the garage’s commercial curb also includes wireless inductive charging to allow the airport’s fleet of electric buses to charge while loading and unloading passengers.

At PDX, JE Dunn partnered to provide three components: a new six-level, 1.64M square foot parking structure with approximately 2,290 long-term parking spaces for travelers on the upper three levels and approximately 2,070 ready/return spaces for rental car operations on the lower three levels. Sustainability took center stage in every decision, from the building’s exterior envelope, including upgraded wall and roof insulation, a sustainable window system with advanced daylighting and an infiltration system, to high efficiency water-source radiant heating and cooling systems and a ventilation air system to provide energy efficiency and better indoor air quality. Additionally, CarbonCure concrete was used to reduce carbon impacts in the construction process.

Equity

Every project creates a possibility to improve communities and the many lives of people within them. An important part of JE Dunn’s collaboration with MCI was incorporating equity in the construction phase of the project. JE Dunn implemented its mentor-protege program partner and its overall diversity goals, and as a collaborative effort with its design partner and other design consultants, a concentrated effort to exceed 20% MBE and 15% WBE participation was achieved. JE Dunn’s efforts were successful, resulting in a 48% M/WBE participation.

This collaboration also included JE Dunn estimators, executives, and project managers working together to teach the business. Equitable risk allocation among the design-build team was achieved through the “Best Value Selection” process for critical key trade partners. The design-build team decided to partner with JE Dunn’s structural, mechanical, electrical, and concrete trade partners through the best value selection process. In addition, DBE foremen participated in JE Dunn planning meetings with experienced JE Dunn foremen to learn how to plan and execute.

PDX provided a prime opportunity to engage and grow the capacity of minority-owned, women-owned, small businesses (MWESB) and disadvantaged firms. In order to maximize participation, scopes of work were scaled appropriately to enable more participation by COBID firms. By creating smaller packages that fit the capacity and abilities of more MWESB firms, the project was able to award work to 76 contractors and 15 designers.

What sets these parking structures apart is their adaptability and sustainability. They weren’t just built for the present. They were built to evolve with each airport’s changing needs – and the evolving needs of our society.

Nick Christoffersen
Vice President
Aviation Group Manager

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