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IAH - New International Terminal to Replace Terminal D


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1 minute ago, Houston19514 said:

How about gliding them on their built-in wheels?  Usage of airport luggage carts plummeted 10 years ago (and has no doubt dropped even further since then), because practically all suitcases now have their own wheels.

Yes, the D/E Garage is gone forever, but there will be a direct connection to what is now known as the C Garage (The new Central Processor facility will be where the D/E Garage currently stands, so the current C garage will be adjacent.)  Plus, when the project is done, passengers arriving at D and E will be able to get ground transportation directly from the D/E Central Processor.

 

Houston19514, suggest you go to Terminal E international arrivals between 1pm and 5pm . . . I think you'll see that the vast majority of passengers using them are VFR passengers arriving from Africa, Latin America, and Asia.  And with way more than 2 bags (and usually multiple boxes!).  Only one can fit in each car of the "Subway," and they clog the elevators as well.  Pre-COVID that arrivals lobby could be jam-packed.

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6 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Houston19514, suggest you go to Terminal E international arrivals between 1pm and 5pm . . . I think you'll see that the vast majority of passengers using them are VFR passengers arriving from Africa, Latin America, and Asia.  And with way more than 2 bags (and usually multiple boxes!).  Only one can fit in each car of the "Subway," and they clog the elevators as well.  Pre-COVID that arrivals lobby could be jam-packed.


I don't doubt that the vast majority of passengers using them are VFR passengers arriving...  That tells us nothing about how many are being used...  But whatever the number is, it's nothing but a temporary inconvenience for some arriving passengers.  (And other than complain about it, what would you propose be done?)  And now you're also complaining about them clogging the elevators too?  You are sounding as if you want to completely ban the luggage carts...  Not really sure what point you are trying to make...

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39 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:


I don't doubt that the vast majority of passengers using them are VFR passengers arriving...  That tells us nothing about how many are being used...  But whatever the number is, it's nothing but a temporary inconvenience for some arriving passengers.  (And other than complain about it, what would you propose be done?)  And now you're also complaining about them clogging the elevators too?  You are sounding as if you want to completely ban the luggage carts...  Not really sure what point you are trying to make...

We're kind of all over the place here.  

(1) Wilcal said that the luggage carts were clogging the Subway/ITT because people having to take it from E to C because of the D/E garage closures.

(2) You said that that is not accurate because the Subway/ITT is still open from E to C, entirely missing the point.

(3) Then you said, "Short-term pain/long-term gain" and implying that there is no need for luggage carts anymore because, I guess, you have never used one.

(4) I pointed out that there are plenty of people who still need them, and this situation will be with us in the long term because (as far as I can tell) there will be no replacement E garage.

(5) Someone else said he actually uses them.

(6) You implied (5) was lazy (or maybe not strong enough, or something, I dunno).  Then you stated that luggage cart usage is down because most suitcases have wheels now.  I do not see how this is germane at all to the discussion.  If there were 5 passengers per hour before the garage closed trying to put a cart on the train and there are now 30, it is immaterial if SmartCarte rented 100,000 carts in 1990 and only 5,000 in 2021 . . . the cause of the bottleneck is the 5 becoming 30 overnight.  So entirely missing the point, again.  Or, stated differently, "talking past each other."  I imagine many of the people trying to cram into the ITT are elderly and can't walk with carts to Terminal C.  There are admittedly ways for passengers "in the know" to handle this, but that's not solution for people who often can't seem to follow signs to their gates.

(7) I mentioned the elevators only as an example of how crowded they were at peak times.  In fact, if you haven't noticed, they were so crowded that an additional bank of elevators were added to the E garage after it opened.  They are now gone.

My point remains: I don't see how this will necessarily get any better in the future--even after the terminal expansion is complete--as you are confident it will.  It seems the only real improvement will be the fact that most international passengers do not park in garages during the duration of their trip, so when ecopark shuttles return to the international arrivals, that should help.  Won't help meeters/greeters, though, but maybe the decreased roadway congestion will encourage people to wait and use the cell phone lot as the arrivals curbside traffic at the peak is atrocious.

Unfortunately there's no elegant way to solve this, as the critical planning fault of IAH (dating to the 1960s and not addressed when Terminal C opened in 1980) was to sandwich the terminals between two relatively small roadways and then build concourses and apron immediately adjacent to it, preventing any opportunity for economical expansion. UA's support facilities to the east of Terminal D further limit what you can do.

The roadways are the critical landside chokepoints of the airport, same as the two crossfield taxiways SF and NR are the airside chokepoints.  To address the persistent roadway problem, the most recent master plan considered the development of a terminal for all airlines but UA on the south side of Will Clayton Parkway to remove ~50% of O&D traffic off of Terminal Road.  I'm sure ITRP includes some elements to address the problem, but there's no way to fix the fundamental issue that IAH will be up against until it develops terminal facilities outside of the Central Terminal Area.

Edited by mattyt36
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27 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

We're kind of all over the place here.  

(1) Wilcal said that the luggage carts were clogging the Subway/ITT because people having to take it from E to C because of the D/E garage closures.

(2) You said that that is not accurate because the Subway/ITT is still open from E to C, entirely missing the point.

(3) Then you said, "Short-term pain/long-term gain" and implying that there is no need for luggage carts anymore because, I guess, you have never used one.

(4) I pointed out that there are plenty of people who still need them, and this situation will be with us in the long term because (as far as I can tell) there will be no replacement E garage.

(5) Someone else said he actually uses them.

(6) You implied (5) was lazy (or maybe not strong enough, or something, I dunno).  Then you stated that luggage cart usage is down because most suitcases have wheels now.  I do not see how this is germane at all to the discussion.  If there were 5 passengers per hour before the garage closed trying to put a cart on the train and there are now 30, it is immaterial if SmartCarte rented 100,000 carts in 1990 and only 5,000 in 2021 . . . the cause of the bottleneck is the 5 becoming 30 overnight.  So entirely missing the point, again.  Or, stated differently, "talking past each other."  I imagine many of the people trying to cram into the ITT are elderly and can't walk with carts to Terminal C.  There are admittedly ways for passengers "in the know" to handle this, but that's not solution for people who often can't seem to follow signs to their gates.

(7) I mentioned the elevators only as an example of how crowded they were at peak times.  In fact, if you haven't noticed, they were so crowded that an additional bank of elevators were added to the E garage after it opened.  They are now gone.

My point remains: I don't see how this will necessarily get any better in the future--even after the terminal expansion is complete--as you are confident it will.  It seems the only real improvement will be the fact that most international passengers do not park in garages during the duration of their trip, so when ecopark shuttles return to the international arrivals, that should help.  Won't help meeters/greeters, though, but maybe the decreased roadway congestion will encourage people to wait and use the cell phone lot as the arrivals curbside traffic at the peak is atrocious.

Unfortunately there's no elegant way to solve this, as the critical planning fault of IAH (dating to the 1960s and not addressed when Terminal C opened in 1980) was to sandwich the terminals between two relatively small roadways and then build concourses and apron immediately adjacent to it, preventing any opportunity for economical expansion. UA's support facilities to the east of Terminal D further limit what you can do.

The roadways are the critical landside chokepoints of the airport, same as the two crossfield taxiways SF and NR are the airside chokepoints.  To address the persistent roadway problem, the most recent master plan considered the development of a terminal for all airlines but UA on the south side of Will Clayton Parkway to remove ~50% of O&D traffic off of Terminal Road.  I'm sure ITRP includes some elements to address the problem, but there's no way to fix the fundamental issue that IAH will be up against until it develops terminal facilities outside of the Central Terminal Area.

I guess the way to resolve the problem is for you to familiarize yourself with the construction plans.  It is simply a fact that when it is done, there will be access to parking from the International Arrivals area at an equivalent, relatively short, distance from what was available before (and that also means parking will be closer for non-United international departing passengers than was available before this started). That also applies to meeters/greeters... parking will be available just across the drop-off/collection lanes, via elevated covered walkway if one prefers.

 

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13 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

I guess the way to resolve the problem is for you to familiarize yourself with the construction plans.  It is simply a fact that when it is done, there will be access to parking from the International Arrivals area at an equivalent, relatively short, distance from what was available before (and that also means parking will be closer for non-United international departing passengers than was available before this started). That also applies to meeters/greeters... parking will be available just across the drop-off/collection lanes, via elevated covered walkway if one prefers.

 

I'd be happy to familiarize myself with the construction plans (and I'm sure others would, too) if you want to share them (or at the very least could describe them in a meaningful way with passenger flows and walking distances) . . . surely you can understand that'd be more helpful to the discussion than making a blanket statement that carts don't matter because "it's 2021" and "all suitcases have wheels now."

And I guess in the meantime we can just hang a sign that says "SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE, PLEASE DON'T COMPLAIN."  Based on what (admittedly little) I know, I'm afraid this will only be an increasing headache as traffic returns.  I certainly have changed my travel routine as a result of this.

Edited by mattyt36
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47 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

I'd be happy to familiarize myself with the construction plans (and I'm sure others would, too) if you want to share them (or at the very least could describe them in a meaningful way with passenger flows and walking distances) . . . surely you can understand that'd be more helpful to the discussion than making a blanket statement that carts don't matter because "it's 2021" and "all suitcases have wheels now."

I wrote several posts ago that upon completion the walk from the international arrivals lobby to the parking garage will be less than 1/10th mile.  I wrote in my immediately preceding post that parking will be available just across the drop-off/collection lanes, via elevated walkways if one prefers.  

Beyond that, you posted links in this very thread showing the plans in detail.  I presumed you had some familiarity with the information you had posted, especially after we had the discussion in which I clarified for you that there is an elevated covered walkway going directly from the parking garage (currently known as C East) to the D/E central processor.

The cover page of the linked document (which link you provided earlier in this thread) shows just how close the parking will be to the new D/E central processor.

https://www.houstontx.gov/council/committees/econdev/20210915/iah-itrp.pdf

Edited by Houston19514
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I once was talking with a flustered guy down by the subway at D/E who was making a connection for BA (LHR-IAH) to AA and didn't realize he missed the bag re-check and was mad that he was going to have to walk the 1 mile to Terminal A with his 5 bags.

I told him just to squish his cart on the train and sorry. He told me "this would never fly in London" and I told him about the last few times I've flown into LHR, even on a widebody, we've had to bus to the terminal. 

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I wrote several posts ago that upon completion the walk from the international arrivals lobby to the parking garage will be less than 1/10th mile.

My apologies, I missed that as it was the last reply on the prior page.  That said, I'm not sure that's the right metric compared to where it was before, but I don't know.

2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I wrote in my immediately preceding post that parking will be available just across the drop-off/collection lanes, via elevated walkways if one prefers.  

That was never in dispute, of course there will be an arrivals curbside.  But people getting picked up at the curb aren't the ones using the Subway now.

2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

Beyond that, you posted links in this very thread showing the plans in detail.  I presumed you had some familiarity with the information you had posted, especially after we had the discussion in which I clarified for you that there is an elevated covered walkway going directly from the parking garage (currently known as C East) to the D/E central processor.

The cover page of the linked document (which link you provided earlier in this thread) shows just how close the parking will be to the new D/E central processor.

https://www.houstontx.gov/council/committees/econdev/20210915/iah-itrp.pdf

Those are not "construction plans."  Those are layout plans, and they are not detailed at all when it comes to passenger flows.

Consider the following questions:

-Will any parking be placed on top of the new "Central Processor"?  I presume not, but am not sure.

-Will the international arrivals lobby be bumped out to be part of the new Central Processor?  If it stays where it is, it sure won't be a 10th of a mile to the C-East garage, or whatever it will be called then.  Perhaps there will be an entirely new lobby if the bag claim area is expanded, which I know was part of the plan at one point.  But I think it's inaccurate to claim the additional walking distance will be a 10th of a mile from what it was when the E garage was in place and passengers didn't have to leave the building to catch an elevator to the garage.

-I don't believe (but don't know for sure . . . I never parked in the C garage because it was a fight even before the E garage was torn down) that the C-East garage has a separate entrance.  Will it have a separate entrance with its own helix as part of this project?  If not, and E passengers still enter through the C-West helixes, how will the average passenger know how to park in the garage closest to the terminal?  If not, there will still be plenty of traffic between D/E and C.  But maybe they'll just walk since they'll be farther west.

-Will there be an underground pedestrian tunnel to the new Central Processor (maybe a modification of the existing Subway tunnel), or will the only two options be (1) to not change levels and cross 2 islands and 10 lanes of traffic (which I presume is what you mean by the 1/10 of a mile) then change levels in the garage; or (2) to change levels from the arrivals lobby and cross on the outdoor pedestrian bridge, which I think is a cute feature, but not exactly passenger friendly to older passengers with their Smart Cartes in August?

-By how much will total average arrival passenger walking distances change once the D-West pier opens? 

Maybe I'm just dense but that PDF really doesn't speak to the above.

54 minutes ago, wilcal said:

I once was talking with a flustered guy down by the subway at D/E who was making a connection for BA (LHR-IAH) to AA and didn't realize he missed the bag re-check and was mad that he was going to have to walk the 1 mile to Terminal A with his 5 bags.

I told him just to squish his cart on the train and sorry. He told me "this would never fly in London" and I told him about the last few times I've flown into LHR, even on a widebody, we've had to bus to the terminal. 

I can't think of any major U.S. international gateways that are convenient for interline connections if you miss the bag recheck.

Edited by mattyt36
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Yes, without a doubt international travel can involve some significant walking and occasional minor inconveniences, like having to change levels or walk in non-climate-controlled areas to get back to your parked car.  Of course, nobody ever suggested otherwise.

But, in fact, and as I stated to begin with, the current inconvenience of not being able to take luggage carts all the way back to the attached parking garage is indeed temporary and will no longer be the case when the ITRP project is completed.

Edited by Houston19514
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58 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Yes, without a doubt international travel can involve some significant walking and occasional minor inconveniences, like having to change levels or walk in non-climate-controlled areas to get back to your parked car.  Of course, nobody ever suggested otherwise.

Erm . . . great 2-way conversation!  You remind me of a couple of others on here.  I've been called arrogant many times before, and for good reason, but, hey . . . 

"I don't use luggage carts, so who cares about people who do?"

"There may be some 'significant walking' and what I deem to be 'occasional minor inconveniences'"

Spoken like a true engineer or planner . . . transfer your own preferences and perspectives on to others!

58 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

But, in fact, and as I stated to begin with, the current inconvenience of not being able to take luggage carts all the way back to the attached parking garage is indeed temporary and will no longer be the case when the ITRP project is completed.

In fact, the current inconvenience will become a new inconvenience, but que será, será.  

(Or, better said, may become a new inconvenience because I still don't understand the passenger flows or have answers to the questions I posed above.  You, too, either do--or you don't--understand the flows.  If you do because you're somehow involved with the project, well I'm not sure why answers to the above would necessarily be confidential, but OK.  If you don't, well, I don't think you can represent anything as "fact" any more than I can.  In any case, we'll see soon enough . . . )

Edited by mattyt36
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