Crazy Airport Pitches

Joel N. Weber II

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I want to use this thread to discuss the least implausible potential locations for new airports in Massachusetts.

I want to make the assumption that demolishing residential buildings to make space for an airport isn't reasonable, but relocating commercial / industrial / etc buildings might be OK.

Since new airports probably won't happen overnight in any case, we might want to consider the possibility that some smaller airports might be limited to only electric aircraft like http://sunflyer.com/ and some models from http://www.pipistrel-usa.com/ except in emergencies; there's potential over the next few / several years for major improvements in the viability of electric airplanes, which should be a lot quieter and thus avoid a lot of the traditional noise concerns.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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Re: Needham Line Airport

Some of us think it's going to make sense in the long run to build the Green Line out to Needham and the Orange Line to West Roxbury, which has the potential to lead to the West Roxbury to Needham Junction segment being abandoned. (Or maybe it makes sense to add a new train station less than a mile to the west of West Roxbury at Baker St or VFW Parkway.)

The obvious thing to do with the abandoned ROW at that point would be to build a bike path.

But I'm wondering if the segment from roughly Gardner St to 128 could be turned into a small runway instead, perhaps with a bike path built several hundred feet to the north of the traditional railroad ROW.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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Re: Everett Airport

If you use the Measure Distance tool in Google Maps and put one end at the Beacham St / Market St intersection, and the other end at the Alford St bridge near the north edge of the Mystic River, you find that that's a little more than a mile long, and it goes entirely through commercial / industrial areas.

The western part of that is a major power plant, but perhaps at some point in the next decade renewable energy will render that plant obsolete, and the casino's development effort may mean that none of what is in that path of a potential runway would necessarily still be there a decade from now in any case.

This would be close enough to Logan that interaction with Logan's traffic patterns might introduce some challenges.
 

Shepard

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This thread confuses me. Are there not enough small general aviation airports around?
 

Lrfox

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^There are definitely enough small airports around. I don't think there's a shortage.

I also think the likelihood of building a new large airport is nonexistent. Not only from an available land standpoint (there isn't any nearby), but from a NIMBY standpoint and a federal regulation standpoint (hard to imagine a new airport wouldn't bump into or come close to some wetland, protected woodland, some stream, river, or pond, etc.).

Barring significant changes in technology (i.e. quieter aircraft which require less runway space), I think you're looking at two options. 1. Expand Logan into the harbor more. From an environmental impact standpoint this borders on impossible. But it's still more likely than being able to find usable land within a reasonable distance that doesn't uproot residents and/or impact some element of the environment.

2. Build the existing Logan to max capacity, and build ultra-high speed transit connections to TF Green and Manchester and use them as true Boston area airports. Honestly, running a high speed train (or Maglev or Hyperloop - lets be crazy) to those airports would be more feasible than building a new airport altogether.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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Re: Airports

For commercial scheduled passenger airline service, I think it's clear that focusing on trying to continue to add service to Logan makes sense, because that facilitates connecting flights, and frequencies to a lot of destinations are already somewhat mediocre without trying to split where in New England people board the planes.

But for small general aviation airports, there might be value in getting any private jets that might be going to the casino off Logan's runways, and an Everett airport would certainly be more convenient for that than ground transportation to Hanscom.

Likewise, a Needham Line airport would likely have the potential to offer more convenient ground transportation connections into the city than Hanscom or Norwood.
 

c_combat

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How about a runway that is made for sea planes right there in the harbor? Let's build that for some reason.
 
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Charlie_mta

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Build the existing Logan to max capacity, and build ultra-high speed transit connections to TF Green and Manchester and use them as true Boston area airports. Honestly, running a high speed train (or Maglev or Hyperloop - lets be crazy) to those airports would be more feasible than building a new airport altogether.
Agree 100% with the above. The other option, expansion into the harbor, would run into 4f issues, as the islands are pretty much all park land.
 

stick n move

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I had posted this in general infrastructure, but it kind of became too much for that so I figured Id move it here:

Boston is a bit over 700 thousand people in 2019, the metro area is what 4.5 million people? The airport serves not only our city of 700k, but the region and metro area as a whole. All 4.5 million people plus even more from further out have to go through downtown Boston plus cross a harbor to get to the airport. I95 really is the major artery for the metro region and the airport along this corridor I think would better serve the state. Logan is really not that beneficial being where it is because of the massive choke point especially being on the other side of a harbor. Its probably too late now, but I think moving Logan would have been a great idea seeing that even though its only a couple miles away it takes 30 minutes at least to get over there which is the same as airports in other cities much further away. East Boston also could have been connected with a bridge allowing pedestrian/bike access without the Logan flight paths as well.

The value of that Logan Airport land would be multiple multiple billions of dollars in development. Logan is basically maxed out for any large expansion which is a hinderance to the region, maybe a plan to relocate should be revived? It would allow brand new terminals which LAX, Laguardia, JFK, are all doing anyways.

Norwood may be a better location than the previously proposed Hanscom Field. Its off of 95, more within the Boston metro area, has tonssss of room for expansion, plus theres no millitary base, and a Commuter rail/Amtrak line passes right by. Plus part of rejection of the Hanscom expansion was outrage by the “rich people towns” over more overflights. Norwood already has 2 runways, with tons of room. Londons Heathrow fits in more flights than Logan on its 2 runways, Norwood has 2, Logan has 6. With Amtrak, the Commuter rail, rt 1, 95, 93, 24, and even 495 intersecting 95 not far away this is literally the perfect location. I know this would be a massive undertaking, but this could massively change the region forever. Maybe they could even keep 1 runway at logan so as to still have a city airport which is much more reasonable, free up the rest of the land for development, many cities do have small airports in closer, but let the major airport be further out. Definitely get rid of 9/27 allowing proper development in Boston and the surrounding areas.

https://marketurbanismreport.com/how-to-replace-bostons-logan-airport-pt-1/

Heres an article which actually describes how the commuter rail is actually the best option for airport service. Plus especially with NSRL that gives a huge amount of the northern and southern region access to the airport. The existing lines would also mean a direct connection from the airport to south station. Norwood has Amtrak AND Commuter rail, the more I look into this the more it looks like a no brainer. With many airports building brand new terminals, when that decision comes up for Boston I think relocation needs to be on the table as well. A replacement would have to be close to the city, but also serve the multi millions of the metro, I think metro west is the answer.

Look at the immense amount of housing, expansion area the city would have, all with 0 filling in the harbor. We could double the size of the city, ease airport congestion, huge influx of cash which could go towards transit, solve housing, height restrictions...etc. Relocation may be THE future of this city imo. The land value alone that Logan sits on is probably 100x what it would cost to build a terminal, lengthen the runways, a train stop, and some on/off ramps at Norwood.


https://marketurbanismreport.com/the-case-for-closing-bostons-logan-airport/



Heres a quick drawing I whipped up with Norwood airport to kind of see what potential was here. I was able to very reasonably fit an exit/onramp from I95, Commuter rail/Amtrak station on the existing line, parking garage, 4 Runways around 8,000 and 10,000ft, and a large terminal with lots of jetways.

I think this could have honestly been a reasonable idea. I know its not going to happen now, but it may be a huge missed opportunity for the future growth of the city and metro region as a whole.



23 minutes by commuter rail to South Station




I also outlined I95 below in red, an outer rail loop following this route could be huge for connecting the states transit lines. I know an inner loop is proposed as well, but I think this would be great as a commuter rail line. This would hit most subway lines besides blue, also allowing every commuter rail to meet every other commuter rail line/Amtrak, and also allow people to get to this proposed airport that I also highlighted in red at the bottom of the screen. The inner loop could obviously still be built later on too. Imagine the potential Boston would possess with this. Probably a trillion dollars in land to sell from moving Logan which would add tons of housing, and could go towards housing our population, making our state have the countries best rail service, a brand new airport...etc. I think the value alone would make this worth something at least considering.

 
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TallIsGood

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There are a lot of wetlands there. The runway was moved west a few years ago to restore some wetlands.
 

Arlington

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My Crazy Airport Pitch is that the Airport should BE a train.

Logan need to not have bigger runways: the A380 & 777X are as big as planes will ever economically be.

Logan need not have more runways: we just need to divert short flights to ground modes...and all that that implies for runways, airside, & groundside...to HSR to NYC, PHL, WAS (what share of movents & passengers are still NEC?) (every NEC airport would still have air service, but essentially only to serve international connections)

Logan need not have a bigger groundside: we just need to mass-transit-ify ground transport.

No doubt that moving to the 'burbs would put nonstop international and transcontinental service closer to Worcester, Providence, Hartford, and even Portland...by car...but better rail service would bring those places closer to Logan (and be more useful for other non-airport trips)
 
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stick n move

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Yea I dont think anyone thinks Logan needs more runways, it has 6 and Heathrow with 2 does more flights.

There are a lot of wetlands there. The runway was moved west a few years ago to restore some wetlands.
Even without expanding east you can still double the runway length with a land swap within Norwood that gives you the country club to the west.



Theres a lot of room for expansion, 2 existing runways, Amtrak, Commuter rail, I95, 495 just south, I93, rt 1, 1a, 28, 24, and 138. This location is plugged in to the entire highway system plus not only the commuter rail, but Amtrak as well which is a 23 min ride to South Station. I think this would be perfect.

Logan is close to downtown, but being across a harbor and through a tunnel makes it 30+ minutes away which is pretty comparible to here. This is much better focused towards the centrality of the metro area vs Logan which is on the very outer edge, on the other side of a city, and across a large body of water. Having to go through a city to get there will always be a choke point + airport traffic affects the city traffic as well.
 
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millerm277

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Some opinions/notes:

You can't reuse the Logan property unless your approach to climate change is "nah, it's not going to happen". It's barely above sea level and sea levels are rising. You are proposing to build a bunch of housing basically at the beach in an extremely exposed location. An occasionally flooded runway is not that big a deal, but as anything else it would be disastrous. So the entire financial side of the idea is dead right there because most of the property is useless.

There are a bunch of things wrong with the assumptions surrounding runway numbers. Heathrow is not significantly busier in aircraft movements than Logan, it just sees almost exclusively large planes. It is also completely maxed out by everyone's standards. I am not an expert regarding weather patterns in both, but I believe Boston sees much more variable weather/wind direction and that is part of the need for runways facing different directions, planes can operate in higher winds if they are down the runway rather than across it.

The linked reasoning for why commuter rail is the best mode to get to the airport seems very questionable to me and completely inapplicable to Boston, as most of it is whining about airport connectors being expensive and poorly utilized. Since it's just a stop on a line that exists anyway, that's irrelevant, and the stop puts up good ridership numbers. Boston is not anywhere near as much of an international hub as the examples. As someone who's from NJ, where the NEC stops at Newark Airport regularly, it's a terrible system for getting to the airport and a subway would be far better (although not for the cost of the PATH extension).
 

stick n move

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The pic I made had 4 runways, Heathrow was just an example.

If your argument is that Logan is going to be underwater... then how would moving it not be a great idea?

That makes the point even stronger. What we do with the land left over is a separate issue. I was just saying that its going to be valuable, thats not “the reason” to move it though. I actually forgot to list that but thats another great reason. It would sure be nice if we had a lot of money from somewhere... maybe aquiring a lot of prime land, to build that storm barrier out in the harbor from Hull to Winthrop. If that land is in danger so is downtown, the Seaport, so whatever we need to do to save those areas will work here too. You could build a barrier obviously, then add vegetation, and many more things that soak up waves.
 

stefal

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Gonna toss in my proposal from a couple years ago, just to add fuel to the fire. Definitely would never happen, but kills a couple birds with one stone. [to save me from being scorched: the runway locations are conceptual, access roadways are sketched in relatively. i.e. I didn't put much engineering thought into this because its entirely conceptual]

Posting my Logan Relocation Pitch without ASAP's train line
 
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George_Apley

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As far as Stick's idea goes, I agree with statements in the other thread that town politics would slaughter any attempt to close Logan and expand a local airport as BOS.
 

mass88

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Since this is in the crazy airport pitches, then you could easily build runways over 95. Buyout dozens of homes in the surrounding area. Namely those adjacent to Blue Hill CC and takeout the business park where Trillium and the Salvation Army are located. That alone would open up a lot more space.

The reality is that Massport, or whatever the transportation authority was back in the 1960s and 1970s, should have planned better and moved Logan to an area that would allow for more expansion. The airport is a massive economic driver for the region and should be able to expand as needed. Masport has done a great job working with what they have to expand and upgrade Logan. But long term it's going to hit a wall.
 

George_Apley

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Since this is in the crazy airport pitches, then you could easily build runways over 95. Buyout dozens of homes in the surrounding area. Namely those adjacent to Blue Hill CC and takeout the business park where Trillium and the Salvation Army are located. That alone would open up a lot more space.

The reality is that Massport, or whatever the transportation authority was back in the 1960s and 1970s, should have planned better and moved Logan to an area that would allow for more expansion. The airport is a massive economic driver for the region and should be able to expand as needed. Masport has done a great job working with what they have to expand and upgrade Logan. But long term it's going to hit a wall.
So what we really need to do is beef up transit connections to Providence and Manchester and beef up transit connections from interior MA to Logan. Somehow the solution keeps falling back on rail... plus expanding airline coverage to other New England airports.
 

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