CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Tuesday morning opened the long-delayed $ 3.5 million ground transportation hub for rental car drop-off and pick-up, off-site parking and shuttles to the hotel.
The project lasted for years, as airport officials struggled to reduce congestion on the increasingly congested roads in front of the terminal.
Features of the new facility include wooden benches, overhead lighting and heating, and wide covered walkways. The facility is immediately north of the terminal, right next to the baggage claim area on the lower level of the airport.
Construction began in March 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic halted air travel in Cleveland and elsewhere. Work was due to be completed last year, but unforeseen underground work delayed the project, as well as some COVID-related supply shortages, officials said.
In addition, there is still work to be completed, including the completion of a walkway to the red parking lot and the relocation of taxis to the new location.
Airport manager Robert Kennedy said adjustments to the operation would be made based on feedback from travelers. “We had a lot of good comments,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “We also had negative issues. And there are people who want to be put on the road. “
The airport began diverting some commercial traffic from the terminal’s main road in 2015, during a facelift of the terminal facade. Instead of dropping customers off on the sidewalk of the terminal, shuttles for off-site parking lots and hotels were directed to a new location near the airport garage, which required a longer walk for travelers, as well. only two escalator trips up and down to get to the main ticketing and gate areas.
The changes, according to airport officials, were made necessary by an increasing number of local travelers using the airport, putting stress on the terminal roads.
Travelers, however, were not happy with the longer walk, sometimes with luggage or children. In response to criticism, airport officials in 2019 moved the drop-off and pick-up location to the current area of the Ground Transportation Center, just north of the terminal.
Both locations, however, were seen as temporary fixes, with fragile structures offering little protection from the elements.
These temporary structures have been replaced with more permanent and pleasant canopies and open-air waiting areas.
“It’s an easier and more intuitive place,” Kennedy said. “It should be more customer friendly. “
This new center is not a long-term solution either. Eventually, the Ground Transportation Center will be relocated again, as part of a much larger $ 2 billion plan to rebuild the Cleveland Hopkins terminal.
Read more: The $ 2 billion plan to rebuild Cleveland Hopkins International Airport includes four new halls, the I-71 interchange, more
That might not happen for another decade, however. In the meantime, here’s who will use the new installation:
* Travelers who use offsite parking lots, including Park ‘N Fly, Park Place and others.
* Travelers headed to one of the many hotels nearby.
* Travelers heading to or from the airport car rental facility on Maplewood Avenue.
* Travelers using private car / limo services.
* Airport employees who park off-site.
Additionally, once the taxis are moved to the new facilities, in about six to eight weeks, Uber and Lyft drivers will pick up passengers at the old taxi rank, on the lower level at the south end of the terminal.