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Archive for Friday, August 17, 2001

KCI parking expansion planned

New lot to add 5,500 spaces at airport; construction to begin in March

August 17, 2001

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— Getting from parking lot to the runway at Kansas City International Airport could become much easier with the construction of a new satellite lot, due for completion in 2003.

And that should make the 40,500 travelers who use the satellite lot every month much happier.

The new 220-acre lot is expected to save travelers time by giving them an express route to terminals. Instead of taking a bus that meanders around the entire lot before heading to the terminals, travelers will ride buses dedicated to specific parking lot sections and terminals.

Also helping to trim time from travelers' trips is the city's plan to increase the bus fleet serving the airport parking lots to 36 from the present 17.

KCI officials unveiled the plan to the City Council's Aviation Committee last week. The lot, which could cost $50 million to $60 million, is expected to be finished in fall 2003. It will have 15,000 parking spaces, up from the present 9,450. And KCI officials would have room to expand it to 30,000 spaces.

KCI officials say they hope no one will have to wait more than four minutes with the new lot.

"This will be a dramatic enhancement," said Russell Widmar, aviation director.

Construction is scheduled to start in March on the lot. The existing satellite lot will be the site of a new consolidated rental car facility.

The parking lot and rental car facility are being paid for through aviation revenue bonds that Kansas City voters approved last year. Those bonds, worth $395 million, will also pay for improvements to the TWA overhaul base and, if feasible, a fixed-rail system that would move people from the new parking lot and rental car facility to the terminals.

The new lot sounded like a step in the right direction to Stacy Stuerke, a salesman who lives in south Overland Park, Kan. He sometimes waits 10 to 15 minutes for a bus to take him to a terminal.

"Having to leave your home two hours before your flight takes off just doesn't work in the business world anymore," he said.

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