I wasn’t going anywhere except the airport.
December 8, 2018 8:12 AM   Subscribe

I walked to the airport simply to see if it could be done. It was an expedition, like Magellan circumnavigating the earth or Lewis and Clark trekking to the Pacific Ocean, except we were heading to a place that had already been thoroughly discovered—by some 30 million passengers a year—and is only five miles, as the crow flies, from midtown Manhattan.
posted by gyusan (59 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have walked to LaGuardia, also from Astoria/Long Island City! It's doable but long, yeah, and it's clear that the city-airport interface is not MEANT for pedestrians but, technically, accommodates us.

If you go to LGA and have a bit of free time, go to the Marine Air Terminal (originally built for hydroplane use?) and see the mural!
According to Port Authority statistics, 90 percent of LGA passengers arrive there by private car. Only six percent take public transportation, which, in the case of LGA, means taking a bus to or from a subway station.
WOW. That's pretty amazing given how direct the M60 bus is, but maybe ridership on that has dropped for reasons laid out in the article.
The plan at LGA is to replicate the AirTrain approach, connecting the airport to the city via a Long Island Rail Road/MTA station at Willets Point, near Citi Field. LGA passengers who are traveling to or from Manhattan, if they decide to use mass transit, will have to go deeper into Queens to access the airport. Transportation advocates have pointed out that something more direct, like an extension of the R or N train, might make more sense, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

There used to be a ferry from Manhattan to LGA, which operated as part of Delta Airlines’ shuttle service but it was discontinued in early 2001. When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the rebuilding of LGA in 2015, there was talk of reestablishing ferry service, but there’s been no mention of that possibility lately.
These facts sadden me.

If you want to have a walking-to-and-from-the-airport experience in the US, may I recommend Sarasota, Florida? I once flew there and then literally walked with my host to our destination, New College. It was pleasant!
posted by brainwane at 8:35 AM on December 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


I walked from JFK airport to Jamaica station in Queens once, circa 2000. It wasn't bad, but probably would have taken an hour less if I had had a map, or knew the layout of Queens, or could afford to take the bus.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 8:42 AM on December 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


I once walked from LAS to my hotel near the Strip. Given that airport's proximity to all that, it was a surprisingly long walk, taking me out the back side of the airport and well around a bunch of the land set aside for it. But the walk was all on a very wide sidewalk, I got to pass by a ridiculous cactus the size of a tree that was in full bloom that I bet never got noticed by anybody in a car, and it only took about 30 minutes to get there.

I didn't walk back when it was time to leave, though.

LAX is surprisingly accessible by public transit, especially if you're in the Marina Del Rey/Venice/Santa Monica stretch along the coast. The Big Blue Bus runs directly from one of the parking lots which are accessible via an airport shuttle. I could also see walking to LAX, but nobody walks in LA.
posted by hippybear at 8:42 AM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Same topic a few months back.
posted by grahamparks at 8:46 AM on December 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


I was once on the M60, traffic was a disaster and once we were near the airport the driver said "Anyone who wants to walk can get off here" so we did.
posted by hoyland at 8:56 AM on December 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


Now I try to fly out of JFK, which may take ages to get to from where I live, but is easy.
posted by hoyland at 8:56 AM on December 8, 2018


One of the only pleasant things about Toronto's transportation infrastructure is that you can very easily walk (or bike, or take the streetcar) to the Billy Bishop Airport. I always get a little frisson of civic pride when I can walk with my carryon down Bathurst Street and stroll right onto a flight.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:58 AM on December 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


When I lived in New York 20 years ago, I took the bus from 125th street to La Guardia. You had to schedule in extra time for traffic, but you couldn't beat the price, and it was easy. It may depend on how much luggage you have, though. It's a pain in the ass to deal with a lot of luggage on a public bus.

I've actually found that Newark is the easiest New York airport to access via mass transit. It seems counterintuitive, but New Jersey Transit is right there, and it takes you straight to Penn Station.

I had a co-worker who rode his bike to our local airport and was furious to find out that there were no bike racks there. We were all like "dude, you are literally the only person who has ever ridden a bike to this little podunk airport in the middle of Iowa," but he was completely outraged.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:01 AM on December 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


Out of curiosity, I looked on Google Maps to see if I could chart a way to walk to Indianapolis Int'l. If you're adventurous, there definitely is a way to walk there from the neighborhoods to the north and east of the airport, but you'll have to walk along the berm of two-lane surface streets, as there are zero sidewalks along the way. Then, you'll have to walk around close to 3/4 of the entire perimeter of the airport to get to the boulevards leading to the terminal. It's my guess that you'll be picked-up by airport security long before you get even that far.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:11 AM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


I cycled to Pearson International Airport (Toronto - YYZ) about 15 years or so ago. It was probably the most scary bicycle ride I have ever done. Let's just say the entire area is not really setup for any kind of non-motor-vehicle access. Capped it off by approaching the airport from the back on service roads which resulted in 3 very aggressive stops by armed airport security teams to see what I was up to.

All to visit my girlfriend (future wife) when she was on a very brief layover.

One of the only pleasant things about Toronto's transportation infrastructure is that you can very easily walk (or bike, or take the streetcar) to the Billy Bishop Airport. I always get a little frisson of civic pride when I can walk with my carryon down Bathurst Street and stroll right onto a flight.

Ah Porter Airlines....so civilized. Free nuts, shortbread cookies and beverages while in the waiting lounge. No blaring TVs, soft lighting and comfortable chairs. It's almost as if they like their customers.
posted by srboisvert at 9:19 AM on December 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


I could walk to my local airport, but it's approximately 25 miles, and it would take a long time. It's a pretty reasonable bike ride, though. A lot of it is on a route that people bike for fun. The problem would be carrying your luggage.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:22 AM on December 8, 2018


Wellington airport has good connections, including a bike path that runs under the runway.

When Hilary Clinton arrived for a state visit, our mayor cycled to the airport to greet her.
posted by happyinmotion at 9:40 AM on December 8, 2018 [16 favorites]


When I lived in NYC in 1980 I was curious about this, too. I successfully walked to LaGuardia after taking the subway to Astoria. I found a landfill mountain with a broken fence. I climbed to the top and watched the sunset and the planes, but I got chased away by group of kids who threw rocks at me. There was graffiti that said "The Devils," so I have always thought maybe that's whose mountain I had trespassed on.
I tried to walk to EWR from Newark Penn, and that was an... adventure. I walked Railroad Ave, quite brutal but with a sidewalk, as far as the railroad yard, and cut through industrial wastelands. I avoided some encampments. I crossed the expressway interchange, (not recommended,) by hiding in bushes and waiting for a break in traffic. Walking along a ramp, a police car stopped me and told me to go back the way I came. I was not looking forward to having to cross back over the highway, but soon after that a guy stopped and offered me a ride back to the train station. Halfway there he offered to fellate me, which I politely refused. I feel lucky that didn't go worse than it did.
posted by bitslayer at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


The M60 bus is fine when it actually shows up. If it actually shows up. Big if.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 9:45 AM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have walked to and from assorted airports and they are universally terrible. But it's still a lot of fun showing up with a guest bike on a bike trailer and biking off with your guest.
posted by aniola at 9:59 AM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


> Andrés Ramirez, a writer and curator who heads an organization called Aerial Futures, tells me he’s “very interested in how airports are laboratories of civic expression.” In particular, he was excited by the way airport terminals became magnets for protest in January 2017, when President Donald Trump announced his first round of travel bans. Ramirez had been told by one participant in the demonstrations that took place at LAX that it was one of the “best protests she’d been to.” Why? Because airports have tons of bathrooms and reliable sources of food, both rare in most protest situations.

that's not why the airport protests were effective. the airport protests were effective because if you're a middle-class/petit bourgeois white person, airports are the only places where you experience direct contact with the police state. the airport is the only space where if you're someone who our society considers on the whole fully human, you get to directly experience the paranoia and cruelty of a government that hates you except insofar as you're a useful tool for capital.

As such, sudden mass protests at airports were quite clearly a direct attack by the people on the legitimacy of the state — the state which, let's not forget, had just been taken over by open fascists. Mass protest in a place where typically no one even hints at joking at suggesting protest indicated a high seriousness of purpose, even a willingness to fight and die. I've gone to my share of protests and I've marched on my share of freeways, but the airport protests were the only ones where I thought that the police might start firing live ammunition into the crowd. They were the only ones where I even for a second thought that protest could become revolution.

Needless to say, none of this has anything to do with access to food courts and bathrooms.

It does, though, have a lot to do with why it seems like an act of resistance — and maybe is an act of resistance — to walk to the airport. by walking to the airport you find unexpected gaps in some of the most tightly controlled spaces in america, and you step right through those gaps.

oh and also:

> airport terminals became magnets for protest in January 2017, when President Donald Trump announced his first round of travel bans.

they weren't travel bans. they were muslim bans.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:59 AM on December 8, 2018 [41 favorites]


Porter Airlines....so civilized. Free nuts, shortbread cookies and beverages while in the waiting lounge.

Alas, no longer true, or so I've heard.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:07 AM on December 8, 2018


It is true that the Toronto Island Airport has ceased the free snacks. This, coupled with several policy changes now makes flying Porter pretty much indistinguishable from flying Air Canada.

You do still have the option to skip the pedestrian tunnel and take the shortest ferry ride on the planet: 58 seconds, end to end. So there is that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:18 AM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


take the shortest ferry ride on the planet: 58 seconds, end to end.

And I thought the Governor's Island ferry was the shortest, most underwhelming ferry ride on Earth.
posted by hoyland at 10:29 AM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've thought about taking the but to our airport but our buses are so random about when (or if) they show up that I'd be a nervous wreck worrying about getting to the plane on time. Plus bus stop signs here are often kind of randomly marked or not marked at all so unless you've taken that particular route before, it's sometimes hard to figure out where the stop for that route is.
posted by octothorpe at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Atlanta has weirdly the best transit to the airport I know about--get off the MARTA train, go up the escalator, and you're in baggage claim, which is right next to the check in desks. It's been that way since 1988. I have no idea why a city with a reputation of being completely addicted to cars is one of the only ones in the US that has proper transit to the airport instead of the usual shuttle bus to the closest station.

I would never try to walk to the Atlanta airport from where I live, but I have friends who live in the adjacent towns of East Point and College Park and now I want to know if they can walk from their houses.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:01 AM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


One Christmas, I was supposed to fly out of La Guardia, but a snowstorm put the kibosh on that idea. Anyway, having essentially no cash and this being back when maybe 1 in 100 taxis had card readers at all (never mind whether they worked or not), I was a bit stuck.

Happily, I remembered the M60 trick, though again, it was the middle of a snowstorm, so I didn't exactly expect it to turn up. I ended up offering a cabbie most of what I had on me to take me to "the nearest subway station." He ended up taking me to 30th Street, the MetroCard machine ended up working (that may well have been a Christmas miracle), so after managing to wedge my bags through the gate and up the stairs, I ended up enjoying a nice train ride back to the hotel. It was certainly much more hassle than was really necessary, though.

That was also one of several trips that involved me walking from a hotel next door to my departure airport (Tulsa). Despite being a very short walk, someone decided there was no need for a continuous sidewalk. So few people ever tried that the grass wasn't even mildly worn down. While it was definitely better than slogging through mud, it was still rather difficult to roll a bag across the 1000 foot gap.

What I find most amusing is that Miami, of all places, has better transit access to the airport than any other US airport I've departed from or arrived at. Transit in Miami isn't all that useful, mind, but commuter rail, transit rail, and city buses all stop there. Sadly, few travelers bother, despite the convenient connections. (It also surprises me that more people don't pick up arrivals at the transit station rather than the always-congested terminal, but what the hell do I know?)
posted by wierdo at 11:06 AM on December 8, 2018


Ah this takes me back to the time I attempted, in all innocence, to walk to Ikea in Wembley (London), from the nearest tube station. The industrial estate surrounding it was cunningly designed so that you circled Ikea in a spiral for what seemed like hours, constantly seeing those blue walls on the horizon, sure that on your next circuit you’d reach it - but no, they would somehow have squeezed in yet another loop between you and the store. Then of course I finally found it, having long before realised there was no way I’d manage to carry anything bigger than a tea light all that way back again. It had evidently never occurred to them that anyone might ever do something so ludicrous as to walk to Ikea. I think a little piece of my soul is wandering there still.
posted by penguin pie at 11:08 AM on December 8, 2018 [22 favorites]


I should point out that pedestrian access to airports in general is a hard problem thanks to the fact that essentially all airports with airline service by have at least one obstacle at least a mile long. That doesn't excuse the piss poor transit options available at the vast majority of airports in the US, though. There's nothing stopping anyone from making that happen with shuttle buses from the nearest transit stop at the bare minimum.

Too many cities would rather give guaranteed business to commercial shuttle operators and taxis than spend even a small amount of money to allow people another option.
posted by wierdo at 11:15 AM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


The blue line to O’Hare is surprisingly reasonable, given how far away the airport is from downtown. Depending on traffic it’s often faster than driving. One of the only bits of Chicago infrastructure that isn’t dysfunctional.

I love the idea of taking a ferry to the airport. New York should have more ferrries.
posted by mai at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Wellington airport has good connections, including a bike path that runs under the runway.

Christchurch is all sorts of fucked up. I just cut across the rental lots tho - its not America, and so I'm unlikely to get shot by the cops for trespassing.

The Jucy pods were lovely. So nice. Highly recommended!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:36 AM on December 8, 2018


It would be a 3 1/2 hour walk to LAX for me. The route would be pretty boring and not particularly dangerous for a pedestrian.

I've biked near LAX but not into the airport. Getting into the airport on a bike would actually be pretty pleasant if I were coming in from any of the beach communities. There's a 30 mile bike path which runs from Pacific Palisades down to Redondo Beach. Most of the path is along the beach with bikes and pedestrians only. You could cut towards the airport at Westchester Parkway. You'd only have to deal with insane levels of traffic on the last little bit on Sepulveda. There's even a bike rack at Terminal 1. Riding inside the airport would be taking your life in hands.

There's public transit that will get you near LAX from which you can then transfer to shuttle buses but there's no direct transit into the airport. This April after years of dithering Metro decided to drop 5 billion dollars to build a direct people mover in and out of LAX. I'm not a big fan of the Olympics and I'm not certain about how necessary a direct LAX line is but the LAX people mover would never have gotten approved without the Olympics.
posted by rdr at 11:45 AM on December 8, 2018


I was once on the M60, traffic was a disaster and once we were near the airport the driver said "Anyone who wants to walk can get off here" so we did.
I can't believe any bus driver would let you get off and walk along the motorway.

They've just built a new road linking the airport to the A34, so it's improved quite a bit now. :)
posted by winterhill at 11:51 AM on December 8, 2018


Oh, yeah, the blue line is absolutely the best way to get to O'Hare from the city. I've also taken the 55 bus to Midway about a million times, but I lived in Hyde Park, so that was pretty easy. Chicago is a good city for airport transit, but that may be totally relative, because it's such a terrible city for driving that public transit looks good by comparison.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2018


In early June 1989 my mother and father began a journey to Shanghai from Chicago to present an international business academics conference in conjunction with one of my father's colleagues from the Shanghai Institute of Mechanical Engineering, where the conference was to be held. The trip involved a layover in Hong Kong. Before their plane landed there, the Chinese army moved against the protestors in Tienamin Square. I tried to get word to them in HK but to no avail and they boarded one of the last flights in to China before travel suspensions and curfews were put in place affecting many of the country's urban centers.

In Shanghai, that meant that there was no transportation available for travelers from the airport into the city, where the institute is located - a distance of about 25 miles, 49km.

My father's colleague and his grad students walked out to the airport to meet my parents and together they all walked back into town, to SIME. I was not able to locate or speak with them for a period of about five days. It is a legendary event in the annals of my parents' travel adventures, which includes them each separately surviving air-travel landing incidents (collapsed undercarriage on landing in one instance, flight broadcast on local news as it circled to burn fuel before approach; and sliding off the end of a runway in another).

My parents are made of sterner stuff than me.
posted by mwhybark at 12:03 PM on December 8, 2018 [17 favorites]


I can't believe any bus driver would let you get off and walk along the motorway.

Ha! The M60 bus to LaGuardia. Not the M60 that's near the Manchester airport.
posted by hoyland at 12:28 PM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


I love the M60. Even though it's caused me to miss flights.

I sort of didn't realize it until this thread, but one of my rubrics for determining if a new yorker is my kinda new yorker is if they've rode the M60.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:38 PM on December 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Boston's "Silver Line" is free from the airport and can transfer to any subway line. There is also a Blue line stop at the airport but requires a shuttle ride and is not free. There is a boat shuttle to the airport, which also needs a shuttle to the terminals. From East Boston there is a walking path to the airport subway terminal and access to the shuttles. Now one day I was in the general area on my bike and tried to roll through, possible but really insane and scary in places. At times it's ok to take a bike on the subway, otherwise the route goes through an industrial area between natural gas tanks and narrow truck filled roads that I'm certain have intentionally installed pot holes.
posted by sammyo at 12:57 PM on December 8, 2018


hoyland: And I thought the Governor's Island ferry was the shortest, most underwhelming ferry ride on Earth.

Heh. Prepare to be underwhelmed - here's the whole journey:

Marilyn Bell I Toronto City Airport Ferry
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:41 PM on December 8, 2018


I commented in the last thread on this subject that it would theoretically take seven hour to walk from Downtown Pittsburgh to the airport but since there's not a single sidewalk along the way, I'm not sure if it would even be possible. They've been making noises about a train out there since I moved here in the 80s but that's just never going to happen. When I moved here there wasn't even a bus so the existence of the 28X is somewhat of an improvement even if I'd never trust it. Before the 28X, you could try a taxi but they never actually came, so if you didn't have a car, your only choice was to get a friend or family member to drive you.
posted by octothorpe at 1:42 PM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


> Ah this takes me back to the time I attempted, in all innocence, to walk to Ikea in Wembley (London), from the nearest tube station.

This takes me back to 2005, when I did the same thing at that Ikea at 8pm on a Thursday. I got there and realised delivery for a £40 (single) mattress would be over £30. With the cheapness, arrogance and sheer gusto of a poor grad student, I dragged/carried the damn mattress about a mile, from the pick up point, through the industrial estate beside a motorway, to the station, through the barriers, onto the tube, and all the way back to my digs near King's Cross. I still vividly remember lugging it through the barriers, grinning at the stoical TfL staff, and feeling darn pleased.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 1:43 PM on December 8, 2018 [17 favorites]


I took the M60 often enough for a few years that I was able to work out the time distribution from my stop in Harlem. Median travel time was around 50 minutes, mean travel time was around 95 minutes. That distribution had a hell of a right tail.
posted by chortly at 2:18 PM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


My house is about 2 miles from SDF (Louisville), but the most direct route isn't walkable or bikeable thanks to a quarter mile on the interstate. There's another route which takes only surface roads; that has really crappy pedestrian accessibility but it's at least theoretically walkable and eminently bikeable.

The real adventure in my biking to the airport has involved figuring out who to talk to about leaving my bike there. I spent upwards of an hour on the phone with various entities (information, parking, police) who were variously unaware that there was a bike route to the airport and/or that there was a bike rack at the airport. Needless to say, none of them had a damn clue about the actual policies regarding bike parking at the airport, and the entirety of my bouncing around phone systems was eventually reaching a police officer who gave daily briefings to the cops who monitor the arrivals area, who offered to brief them that my bike was not in fact abandoned.

Since that experience, I've taken to doing what apparently everyone else who bikes to SDF does, which is just leaving your bike on the rack and trusting that nobody gives enough of a shit to check whether it's abandoned or not.
posted by jackbishop at 3:26 PM on December 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


The international airport in Warsaw is under six miles from the city center, but until 1934 it was where now Pole Mokotowskie park is located - 1,5 miles from the center, a 30 minute walk. Then and now the major problems remain lack of space to expand and noise pollution. But I really appreciate that when I land, I'm half an hour by bus from my bed.
posted by hat_eater at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2018


I found a landfill mountain with a broken fence. I climbed to the top and watched the sunset and the planes, but I got chased away by group of kids who threw rocks at me. There was graffiti that said "The Devils," so I have always thought maybe that's whose mountain I had trespassed on.

This reminds me I should watch Falling Down again soon.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:03 PM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, here in Portland, the airport is served by the red line light rail. Said line goes all the way from the western suburb of Beaverton, through downtown, through much of east Portland, all the way to the airport, every 15 minutes. With one transfer and another 20 minutes or less, you can connect to the Amtrak station, bus station, or at least 5 different hospitals.

Every time I visit another city, I am appalled at how you people have to live.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


I walked in to LAS and out of ORD at various times. ORD in particular is not intended for walking access. LAS is just a long walk.
posted by wotsac at 5:33 PM on December 8, 2018


I walked to and from Mexico City airport.... yeah...
posted by Cosine at 6:08 PM on December 8, 2018


The M60 at least now offers Select service, with the buses equipped with luggage racks. (You can tell the author is not a connoisseur of the M60, for the old/local service made it astonishingly obvious how many people did live close to the airport, with their close and relatively crowded stops.) The main issue is that it itself is only a one-seat ride if you happen to live on the very upper Upper West Side (at the beginning of the route) or Harlem (the rest of the way). Otherwise, you've got to wrangle your luggage through the subway, too. As ardent an advocate of public transit as I am, I have to admit that's a lot to ask of people.

You would die of old age walking from downtown Detroit to DTW. Whereas the old City was an exit off the freeway, something I found fascinating as a child.
posted by praemunire at 6:21 PM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


You can’t really walk to DIA from Denver but the Draconians offer a lovely to-and-fro maglev service.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 7:08 PM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wellington airport has good connections, including a bike path that runs under the runway.

I've run home from Wellington airport a few times, obviously requires a bit of forward planning but is easy enough. It's only 8 miles to my place in Karori, and depending on the time of day I could easily beat public transport. Plus you get to run round the harbour, which is never a bad thing. (The time I ran home up the Tip Track and via Zealandia, with no water, was less of a good thing, but I am still here to tell the tale).
posted by Pink Frost at 10:31 PM on December 8, 2018


c.f.:Will Self.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:33 AM on December 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's fairly easy to walk into Sea-Tac (SEA), since there's an elevator from International Blvd to the light rail station, and then you just follow the pedestrian path for light rail users from there.
posted by aurelian at 1:03 AM on December 9, 2018


Most adorable airport/city interface: Venezia. You walk on a path from the terminal buildings to a little harbor, and then you can choose between spendy water taxis (point-to-point), or the more bus-like Alilaguna (designated stops on various lines).
posted by aurelian at 1:13 AM on December 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


My own candidate for shortest ferry is Balboa Island to Balboa Peninsula, in California. The ferries carry only 3 cars at a time. (You might know this area from Arrested Development.) I find it so cute and bijoux that I don't think of it as underwhelming - I miss it, and used to take it a lot when I lived nearby.
posted by aurelian at 1:33 AM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Adelaide AIrport is so tightly embedded into Adelaide that there's always people walking along the road pulling suitcases. Google Maps happily gives you directions for the 7km walk from the terminal to the city.
posted by nickzoic at 3:22 AM on December 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is such an interesting thread. The first time I visited New York (and the US), I was in a group, and when we drove in from JFK to a terrible hotel on 43rd street in a rented bus, we all laughed and laughed. It was so strange, this city we knew from all the movies and somehow had expected to be the height of civilization, and now we were in a stinky bus because there was no other way to get into the city, and we were driving through vast suburbs of little houses pressed close together. This was in 1986, when the city was almost bankrupt. I met up with my cousin and his girlfriend, and though I later moved to NYC and lived there for a year and now I have family there, she is still the only person I've ever met in New York who had a car. And still, you need a car to get to an airport.
I think the point is that for a city that is so dependent on walking and on public transportation, it's really strange that the airports are so inaccessible. Not only because it is off-brand, but also because there is this sense that Newyorkers are more cosmopolitan than Americans in general. How can they not have an international airport with all the services you get in Asia or Europe? How can Cuomo not be aware that a modern airport has a modern people mover?

Obviously, the airport in Copenhagen is easy to walk or bike to, and there are multiple ways to get from the city centre to the airport using public transportation in 13 minutes. But that is unsurprising. You would expect Copenhagen airport to be easy to reach. Actually I'm a little surprised that she mentions Shiphol (Amsterdam) and Frankfurt, since they are possibly the worst airports in Europe, in terms of access. They are better than LGA, but that is a very low bar.
posted by mumimor at 4:35 AM on December 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


Philadelphia's airport is served by the aptly named Airport Line, which stops at all terminals then runs straight downtown. Depending on your stop, 20-30 minutes, which is approximately 225% faster than driving along the Schuykill "Express"way.

However, I'm fairly sure it's not bikeable, unless you count taking bikes on the train.

ivan ivanych samovar, I was deeply impressed by PDX's "unbox your bike here" station near baggage claim. It was very much a Not In Kansas Anymore moment.
posted by basalganglia at 5:00 AM on December 9, 2018


Ah, the M60. I love it, but there does tend to be a bottleneck on 125th St. But then you get to the bridge and that is just lovely.

My favorite M60 story: one time I was coming back from LGA and traffic on 125th came to a dead stop for quite a while. Why? James Brown had just died and there was an enormous crowd in front of the Apollo.

I don’t know how anyone can find the Governor’s Island ferry underwhelming. You get an amazing view of lower Manhattan and NY Harbor. What’s not to like?!
posted by the_blizz at 7:07 AM on December 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Inaccessibility of NYC airports, like most things in NYC, comes down to Robert Moses. He had the opportunity to buy right of ways for light rail along with his highways; these would have served the airports. But he refused to do it.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


The demise of free coffee at Toronto Billy Bishop made me super sad, but then I ate the best blueberry muffin I have ever had while waiting for my flight a couple of weeks ago and I was OK again. Seriously.

I take the shuttle from Union most times because the weather always seems to stink when I fly, but it is a super delight to just hop off the streetcar and hoof three minutes to the airport. Unless you get run over by people trying to get into that gas station.
posted by wellred at 6:03 AM on December 10, 2018


One of the only pleasant things about Toronto's transportation infrastructure is that you can very easily walk (or bike, or take the streetcar) to the Billy Bishop Airport.

I love this about Toronto. I arrive from Ottawa, pop my bag into a bike share bike and then head to wherever I'm staying. It's fantastic.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:16 PM on December 10, 2018


I can't believe no one has mentioned America's best airport, Washington National. You can take one of two train lines. You can bike or walk on the Mount Vernon Trail. It's generally a sub-$25 rideshare or cab into town. DCA is the best (just stay away from the nightmare that is gate 35X).
posted by fancypants at 4:49 PM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


I once walked home from the airport (PHIL). I was broke, didn't have even a token to take the bus. I got home 2 1/2 hours later. That airport is not meant to be walked to or away from. Very scary walk. Did I mention it was dark?

I would be willing to bet it's much different now. The city is going bike lane/pedestrian walks mad so why not the airport? That will be a nice research project to carry out on a nice, sunny winters day.
posted by james33 at 7:35 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


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