Los Angeles International Airport has just opened a new 4300 car garage as part of its $5.5 billion off airport expansion including a major car rental facility and a people mover to connect the garage and rental car facility to the airport proper.
So what is the dichotomy here. Is LAX building car centric facilities because it feels the car is here to stay, or is it hedging its bets. The third largest airport in the world, by volume, is, or at least will be, open for automobile business.
But that’s not all. Also under construction at the airport is the Intermodal Transportation Facility East, located nearby and on the people mover. It will host a parking garage approximately half the size of the one that opened today.
Is it possible the planners at LAX have actually realized that privately owned vehicles are here to stay, at least in the foreseeable future? They certainly are spending like drunken sailors to ensure there are places to park the cars that their future travelers will be driving.
Local politicians lined up to speak at the opening of the new facility. I found it interesting that one of the major proponents of the anti-car movement in Los Angeles, Councilman Mike Bonin, was leading the charge in support of the new parking garages. Bonin, by the way, is facing a possible recall for, among other things, his program that reduced parking on local business streets.
I don’t know why I’m surprised. Politicians, particularly at the local level, are noted for their inconsistency. Los Angeles has dozens of programs to reduce auto usage. They seem ineffectual, but they exist. But when the rubber meets the road (pun intended), they jump on the nearest bandwagon.
Parking is alive and well at LAX, and from what I can see, many other airports around the country. Solving that ‘last mile’ problem isn’t easy. Sometimes tried and true solutions are best.