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New Parking Plaza Adds Capacity & Embraces Sustainability at San Diego Airport

San Diego, CA, USA
San Diego Regional Airport Authority

Government Champion

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority


127.8 Million USD

Project Status

Operational since 2018

At a Glance

San Diego International Airport’s (SAN) Terminal 2 Parking Plaza (T2PP) is a cutting-edge 11 acre, three-story plaza with approximately 3,000 parking stalls that delivers a wide range of heightened environmental, social, and economic benefits to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and the community.

Problem Addressed

San Diego International Airport’s passenger counts consistently grew for five years prior to the construction of this project—causing a growing demand for “close-in” parking located near the terminals. As an agency, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Airport Authority) also was also encouraged by the community and other agencies to pursue a solution that embraced innovation and sustainability.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority used/is using the construction of an innovative, smart, and environmentally-sound parking plaza to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The project embraced innovative technologies and sustainability in its design and implementation. Motorists can reserve parking spaces in advance and find available parking spaces easily with a guided light system. The structure utilizes extensive natural lighting, energy efficient fixtures, and is powered with 85% renewable energy. The project also includes 16 electric vehicle (EV) charging ports, 200 spaces for low-emitting, fuel efficient, and carpool/vanpool vehicles, as well as 145 ‘EV-ready’ parking stalls. One of the most innovative sustainability features of the parking plaza is its stormwater capture and reuse system that can capture up to 100,000 gallons of rainwater and reuse it as cooling tower makeup water. Two site-specific art installations in the facility, educational signage, and an observational viewing deck of the San Diego Bay all contribute to the project’s pleasing aesthetics. The facility is configured to maximize safety and reduce sightline obstructions while improving vehicle circulation. It is equipped with a variety of payment options for quicker transactions, and is built with flat plates so that it can be repurposed in the future if a better and higher use develops. Swinerton Builders, the project’s private construction company, worked with more than 50 other contractors and subcontractors to build the structure along with 180 local companies and 150 small vendors and designers. T2PP was designed in accordance with multiple sustainability metrics and has been recognized for not being “just another parking lot.”


  1. The project was finished ahead of time and under budget, ensuring financial goals were achieved through the addition of parking spaces.
  2. T2PP increased parking capacity in front of the terminals by nearly 1,700 spaces, providing travelers with ample parking and clear, direct and more convenient access to the terminals.
  3. The stormwater capture and reuse system has collected and repurposed over 3 million gallons of rainwater to date.
  4. The construction promoted local employment to more than 1,900 construction workers.

Something Unique

T2PP was the first airport project in the U.S. to receive Gold certification under the Parksmart green parking program and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Gold certification. Other recognition includes: IEA’s Excellence Award for Regional Leadership in Sustainable Design and Operation, USGBC San Diego Chapter’s Net Energy Citation Award, Collaboration of Design + Art’s CODAaward for Artwork Design, and the AIA’s award for Sustainable Design.

Who Should Consider?

Government agencies and airports considering to expand parking capacity in a thoughtful, purposeful way.