Participants in a public workshop about a replacement terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport held this past Saturday focused on more specific details about the project rather than broad concepts past participants have discussed during previous meetings.
About 60 people gathered inside one of the community rooms at the McCambridge Recreation Center in Burbank to provide their thoughts about various design elements proposed in the 355,000-square-foot, 14-gate replacement terminal at the local airport.
Facilitators with IMG Inc., the firm hired by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to conduct information-gathering workshops, which airport officials call charrettes, helped participants express their thoughts about the types of construction materials that should be used, what kinds of landscaping the facility should have, the style of signage and location indicators used within the terminal, what weather protections should be used and how passengers should board and exit from planes.
Most participants made it clear the new building should incorporate a mixture of steel and glass exterior finishes, rather than concrete or plaster.
Burbank resident Richard Vaughan said he liked having the new terminal with a steel exterior finish because it will let the designer be more creative and add character to the new terminal.
“There’s so much more that you can put into metal, as far as looks, ability, shape, insulation and feeling,” Vaughan said. “We want something that’s free-flowing.”
Additionally, many of the participants thought straightforward landscapes and hardscapes that lead travelers where they need to go would be better than curved paths.
Bill McConnaughey, a lead customer service agent for Alaska Airlines at Hollywood Burbank Airport, said the most important design element was location indicators that clearly point customers toward gates and other amenities.
While the facilitators brought up the possibility of using more creative and bold-looking signs and information boards to tell people where to go or when flights are on time or delayed, McConnaughey and the majority of other participants on Saturday suggested the signage be kept simple, clean and legible.
“People are trying to find flight information and the way they are set up now is hard for people to use,” McConnaughey said. “Getting around the airport is important. People want to get to where they want to go as easily as possible.”
While participants agreed on most of the topics, aircraft boarding and exiting proved divisive.
The room was nearly split down the middle, with half of the participants in favor of keeping the current method of using ramps and stairs and the other half wanting newer, more direct jetways.
Daniel Iacofano, chief executive of MIG Inc., told participants there are pros and cons associated with both methods.
Ramps and stairs are cost effective, Iacofano said, but there is no weather protection for travelers during rain or strong winds, and some people find them difficult to use.
On the other hand, jetways offer weather protection and make boarding and exiting more direct and accessible. The downsides are that they are expensive and would require a second floor to be built so the jetways could align with an airplane’s doors.
McConnaughey said he wants to keep the ramps and stairs because few airports allow passengers to board and exit a plane from the front and rear at the same time.
“The steepness of the ramps [is] getting better and becoming more ADA-compliant,” he said. “Outside boarding is great because you get fresh air and sun. It’s not great when it’s raining, but you plan for weather like that.”
Vaughan was in the camp that wanted jetways at the new facility, saying the airport should use modern technology.
He recalled when aircraft used small ladders and later stair cars to get passengers on and off airplanes. With jetways being the current standard, Vaughan said the airport should go with that option.
“You’ve got to get out of the 18th century and be in the 21st or 22nd century,” he said. “For something so minute as how to get from this side to that side of an airplane, it’s kind of a no-brainer. I want to be comfortable when I get on the plane, not huffing and puffing my way to my seat.”
The next charrette workshop is scheduled for July 17. The venue has yet to be announced.