Thursday, Oct. 31, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
Local residents who use McCarran International Airport will drive into a colorful new era when a nine-story, 6,000-space parking garage opens Tuesday.
Gold, silver, yellow, green, blue and red are colors that will be key to consumers finding their way around the $83.8 million McCarran Airport Parking Plaza, built with enough concrete to pour a sidewalk between Las Vegas and San Francisco.
A number of innovative features will be offered to garage users when the structure opens to the public at 2 a.m., a day after a Monday ribbon-cutting event. Valet parking, a special lot for frequent travelers, four color-coded entrances for different parking categories and lots named for Las Vegas resorts will greet travelers.
The new structure -- known as MAPP -- contains the Gold Garage, located just east of the existing 1,500-space garage. The existing structure will be renamed the Silver Garage.
When the new garage opens, access to the existing structure will be blocked and travelers will have four parking options, three of which feature driveways to the Gold Garage structure just to the left of the existing parking exit ramp.
The four categories:
* A yellow lane, to the far left of the parking exit, will guide motorists to the first level of the Gold Garage, which has a new arrivals curb outside baggage claim and short-term metered parking for vehicles staying three hours or less.
* A green lane, the center of the three new entrances, will lead motorists to long-term parking. Users of the long-term lot will continue to get a ticket and pay for extended stays at a tollbooth.
* A red lane, on the far right of the new exit, will lead to additional hourly and short-term parking, the new valet and Park-a-Lot services. The red lane is an express ramp to a bridge connecting the Gold and Silver garages -- no more twisting up the spiral ramp to the parking lot.
Short-term parking will be offered in the Silver Garage's third and fourth levels in metered stalls. Valet parking is offered on the south side of the Silver Garage's third level.
The Park-a-Lot program, for frequent travelers, is accessed with a card system on the fifth level of the Silver Garage.
* A blue lane will guide oversized vehicles to a surface parking lot just north of the Gold Garage.
The remote parking lot at Russell Road and Kelly Lane will be closed, but may be reopened if demand warrants it on holidays or during heavy use.
McCarran public information coordinator Adam Mayberry said the MAPP was designed with convenience for the Las Vegas traveler in mind.
"It's a unique parking facility designed to be user friendly," said Mayberry. "Each parking level will have a hotel theme and the new arrivals curb is really convenient, with more room for vehicles to get around."
Mayberry said the existing curb will stay open for commercial vehicles -- shuttle buses, taxis and other ground transportation.
With metered lots close to the baggage claim area, motorists can park and look for arriving passengers without having to go inside the terminal.
Mayberry said the basic parking fee structure won't change when the new lot opens. That stands at $1 an hour for short-term and $4 a day for long-term parking. While consumers will have to feed parking meters, they won't have to wait in ticket dispensing or tollbooth payment lines if they park in short-term lots.
McCarran's parking staff will monitor meters, which will display flashing red lights when time expires.
The airport has the authority to cite and fine parking violators. By county ordinance, a parking violation carries a fine of $20, but the charge is cut in half if it's paid within 10 days. Parking tickets delinquent after 30 days double to $40. After 60 days, the fine jumps to $120.
Mayberry also said security at the MAPP will be enhanced with a new bicycle patrol and surveillance cameras.
Like enormous parking lots at amusement parks, McCarran's lot levels will bear the names of familiar themes. Local resorts won't pay an advertising fee for the prominent use of their names, but Mayberry said resorts were selected based on the amount of on-airport advertising they already had purchased.
The parking structure was designed by Walker Parking Consultants-Engineers Inc. and built by Meadow Valley Construction Inc. The 2.3 million-square-foot facility was designed by Domingo Cambeiro Corp. and roadways were designed by G.C. Wallace Engineering and Architecture Inc. Construction began Feb. 23 with completion occurring 30 days ahead of schedule.