Airport People Mover

Lauderdale airport's future could include hotel, people mover

But the airport, one of the country’s smallest in acreage, has little room for growth outside its current borders, so most improvements will have to be squeezed into existing space.

“We want to avoid being victims of our own success, ” Broward Commissioner Tim Ryan said. “With this rapid expansion, we haven’t been able to keep up.”

Proposals will be fleshed out over the next year. The cost of the improvements won’t be paid for by Broward taxpayers, but will come from grants, airport revenues — such as ticketing, landing and car rental fees — and from general fees paid by the airport’s airlines, which have a say in the overall plans.

Making it easier to get around

Courtesy/Fort Lauderdale-Hollywo / Courtesy

A first look at how FLL might expand over the next 20 years. The plans will be refined over the next year. The proposals include signalized pedestrian crosswalks, an automated tram that circles the terminals, increasing the gates, improving traffic flow, replacing the four-level Palm Garage with a nine-level structure that includes a hotel, connecting all the terminals beyond the security gates so that ticketed passengers can move between the different terminals (maybe take advantage of a restaurant in another terminal while they're waiting), etc. Courtesy Courtesy/Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - Original Credit: Courtesy - Original Source: Courtesy

A first look at how FLL might expand over the next 20 years. The plans will be refined over the next year. The proposals include signalized pedestrian crosswalks, an automated tram that circles the terminals, increasing the gates, improving traffic flow, replacing the four-level Palm Garage with a nine-level structure that includes a hotel, connecting all the terminals beyond the security gates so that ticketed passengers can move between the different terminals (maybe take advantage of a restaurant in another terminal while they're waiting), etc. Courtesy Courtesy/Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - Original Credit: Courtesy - Original Source: Courtesy (Courtesy/Fort Lauderdale-Hollywo / Courtesy)

“There are four large hub airports in the state of Florida, ” airport director Mark Gale said. “We are the only one that continues to move our passengers around with shuttle buses.”

The other three — Miami, Tampa and Orlando — all have automated tram systems to move travelers. Fort Lauderdale’s system could be a loop between terminals and garages that would connect with a stop for the future Brightline or Tri-Rail Coastal Link passenger rail services.

There’s even potential for a northern extension that would go out to Port Everglades to serve cruise ship passengers and people going to the county’s convention center.

Inside the terminals

Today’s existing terminals are like islands. Travelers have to leave one to get to another. That would change by creating passageways between terminals for travelers who have already passed through security.

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