Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Airports and transit

I was so impressed by the operations at the Phoenix Airport a couple weeks ago, how they have a steward at the bus stop for buses to the rental car center. The steward gets people onto the bus, helps people with baggage, gets the bus filled as much as possible, and then tells the driver to leave, and then the steward starts the process anew on the next bus. This increases throughput speed considerably.

Similarly, there is an elementary school in the Baltimore region with a national best practice program in supporting walking to school where one of the parent volunteer positions is as a kind of valet. The parent ends up treating the line of cars dropping children off just like that steward at Phoenix Airport--opening the car doors to get the kids out quick, making sure the cars move up to the front of the line, and getting them quickly on their way.

Every time I take the subway to National Airport, I always comment to myself that the escalators should be extrawide to better accommodate luggage, and the faregates should be extrawide as well.

I do wonder if that will be considered and worked into the plans for the Silver Line station at Dulles Airport. I tend to doubt it.

I definitely thought at Midway Airport given the long distance from the station to the airport and the voluminous amount of baggage I had (I wasn't expecting to fly back, but to drive and stop off and visit a potential client, but the meeting was rescheduled), that I wished there had been luggage carts available for rent at the transit station.

According to today's Seattle Times, in "Light rail to airport to begin Dec. 19," the light rail station at Sea-Tac Airport will include a luggage cart rental station. From the article:

The walk from the station — which sits between the parking garage and International Boulevard South — is about one-quarter mile, depending on which airline people take.

After getting off the train, passengers will descend one level to the mezzanine and walk across a new skybridge into the garage's fourth floor, where a yellow-trimmed corridor leads to other skybridges at the terminal.

Baggage carts will be available at the station. Also, there will be 32 seats and an arrival/departure screen in the mezzanine, where people can wait for friends flying into Sea-Tac.

Similarly, at National Airport, there could be better information on the station platform about which exit to take, depending on which airline you are flying. I also like the idea of the arrival/departure screen in the station area, as will be installed at the Sea-Tac light rail station.

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