Airport’s parking structure finishes early, modernization plan continues

<strong>The new parking structure for Long Beach Airpoort finished four months early and $2 million under budget.</strong>

Steven Piper
Staff Writer

Finishing four months ahead of schedule and $2 million under budget, offering 1,989 spaces to local travelers, and providing 450 jobs to workers during the construction process, the new Long Beach Airport (LGB) parking structure had its official ribbon-cutting on July 14.
“It’s a marvelous achievement. It’s been many years in the making. A lot of people worked very very hard to make this achievement possible– so many people that if I sat here and mentioned their names, we’d be here all afternoon,” said Airport Director Mario Rodriguez. “Suffice it to say, a big ‘thank you’ from us to everyone who worked on this project.”

<strong>Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez speaks during last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the airport’s renovated parking structure. </strong>

With a price tag of $58.6 million, that $2 million amounts to a savings of 3.4 percent of the total cost, and not to mention an extra $350,000 in annual parking revenue that will be generated by the building’s parking costs. According to the airport’s website, parking in the renovated structure will cost travelers a flat rate of $17 a day.
The structure– part of a larger $140 million airport modernization plan– also implements a number of green strategies, with a roof that is designed to support solar panels and preexisting pavement that will be reused to fill select areas of the project.
“We’re also grateful today that we are dedicating this structure, thanks to the Airport Advisory Commission… we are going to be dedicating this as part of the celebration that we are doing in Long Beach, which is the centennial of the first transcontinental flight,” said Gerrie Schipske, Long Beach’s fifth district councilmember.
In 1911 Calbraith Perry Rodgers accomplished the first transcontinental flight, reaching Long Beach on Dec. 10 after flying from Sheepshead Bay near New York City. The 32-year-old pilot carried the first transcontinental mail pouch in a Wright EX biplane.
“It was the second-most significant event in the history of early aviation,” Schipske said. “So today we are dedicating this parking structure to Cal Rogers…”
Other plans for the airport include a new passenger concourse, which will feature green strategies as well, including energy-efficient fixtures and lighting, low-flow toilets and water faucets, and use of local and recycled construction materials. Improvement plans also include an upgraded air carrier ramp, which will allow pilots to shut off their auxiliary power units while waiting at the gates, reducing aircraft emissions.
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, honored as the ribbon-cutting’s “first guest,” said the renovation helps to accomplish LGB’s mission to offer excellent customer service. “We all know what a great asset the airport is… The passenger terminal is next, and I look forward to that in the spring of 2013,” Foster said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this structure, and I couldn’t be more proud of the whole renovation effort.”
There are five airlines currently operating out of LGB, offering more than 16 destinations within the US to more than 300,000 flyers annually, and over 41,000 tons of cargo passes through the airport every year.
More information about the improvement plan and terminal modernization can be found at lgb.org under the “for travelers” tab.

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