Hollywood Burbank Airport officials take steps to ease traffic congestion

Hollywood Burbank Airport officials on Monday approved a plan they hope will alleviate traffic in the airport’s parking structure without further congesting the roadway in front of the terminals.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to reconfigure the types of activity that occur in front of the airport terminals in an effort to address the proliferation of vehicles operated by transportation network companies such as Lyft, Uber and Wingz. Commissioners Bill Wiggins and Zareh Sinanyan were absent.

Currently, the airport’s parking structure is often congested, with TNC vehicles stacking up inside the first floor of the structure as they wait to collect their riders.

The new rules, which will go into effect on July 18, realign where passengers can be picked up by the various services, including taxis and shuttle buses. All passenger pick-ups will occur at the three concrete islands found between the curb in front of the terminals and the parking structure, which before was only utilized by shuttles and taxis.

At the first island, which is the closest to Terminal B, there will be six spaces where ride-share vehicles can pick up passengers and five spaces for door-to-door services such as Prime Time and Super Shuttle, to do the same.

Tom Janowitz, the authority’s senior manager of operations, told commissioners that, under the new plan, ride-sharing drivers will not be allowed to park and wait at the island for a passenger. Instead, they will be asked to loop around and reenter the airport until they connect with their customers.

Janowitz said that policy is being put into place as a way to reduce congestion.

He added that there is a geofence established by the airport with the transportation network companies that allows the airport to receive a $3 fee from the companies whenever their drivers make a pick-up or drop-off within the geofence perimeter.

“A TNC operator cannot receive a request on their phone if they’re in this geofence, so they have to be outside airport property to receive their call,” Janowitz said. “Then they’ll proceed into the terminal area to get to the west island.”

The center island will have four spaces dedicated for the airport’s parking shuttles and three spaces for shuttles operated by hotels.

The authority is not changing the operations at the last island, located outside of the valet area, where there are six spaces for taxis.

The airport’s current policy for passenger drop-offs allows for any passenger vehicle, including those operated by TNC drivers, to drop passengers at the curb in front of the terminals.

There were issues raised about the plan by members of the public, mainly from those representing taxi or door-to-door shuttle services.

Jano Baghdanian, a transportation consultant for Super Shuttle and the major taxi companies operating at Hollywood Burbank Airport, said he had concerns regarding congestion around the terminal.

His suggestion was to use the airport’s Lot E, which is just east of the parking structure, to have TNC vehicles wait for passengers.

“There would not be as many pedestrian conflicts,” Baghdanian said.

Janowitz and John Hatanaka, the authority’s senior deputy executive director, said they will wait to see if any unforeseen issues arise. If so, both officials said they would adjust the policy accordingly.

anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

Twitter: @acocarpio

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