Originally Posted by The Dirt
I fail to see what is so visionary about this. How's this different than any other airport-adjacent development plan in just about any city in the world with an airport within the last 50 years?
The only visionary thing about this the airport will have more NIMBYS around it. Other than that, this plan makes little sense to me.
First, If Denver actually pursues an Aerotropolis, that means the Denver metro area has four areas for business development: Downtown, DTC, Broomfield and DIA. That's a recipe for sprawl. Granted DIA's supposed to be more industrial oriented (and the airplane construction part makes me laugh. Denver's 2 most recent airplane makers, Adams Aircraft and JavJet avoided DIA b/c of the landing fees, construction costs, lack of hangar space, not to mention the FAA and assembly plant wouldn't like to share the same set of runways. Also, both no longer exist, at least in Colorado), and elements such as renewable energy sites make sense. However, the article analogizes DIA with DFW, with the latter's Fortune 500 companies being the blueprint for the former. That leads me to wonder, where does Denver want to Develop? Wouldn't an approach that concentrates on one, central location be more attractive? Also, if you try to develop too many places at once, will you do any of them well?
Second, an aerotropolis, in all honestly, is going to be full of warehouses so companies can move cargo quickly to a plane. Think Memphis, Louisville, and to a lesser extent Indianapolis. I think Incheon, SK wants to do the same with Seoul-Incheon airport. That's all fine, but DIA has the "Worldport," which has been empty since forever. The map above also shows the "cargo-runway," the southernmost E/W runway. As it stands, when planes take off to the north, cargo-planes currently have a quick jog to the runways to take off, but they have a long taxi after landing. The opposite holds true when the wind is from the south. The E/W runway could cut down on taxi times, but there is no need for it, and I doubt it would be the next runway built. Denver has a healthy cargo market, but domestic cargo is well served by the current Fedex and UPS hubs.
Finally, maybe as an intermodal hub, DIA could be an aerotropolis. Rail and seaports and rail and airports make sense in other cities. However, BNSF and UP use tracks that do not currently go to or really all that near DIA. The planned super rail hub on the eastern plains, in addition to being very expensive to build, also isn't very near the airport. Also, what purpose does a mid-continent intermodal air-rail hub serve? One at a port city makes sense, because a train cannot cross an ocean. Denver? It takes, what, 18 hours more to get freight to Chicago by rail than by air? What about trucks? This option does not make economic sense, as items that need to be sent by air will be sent the whole way by air.
So, why have this policy again?