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New density a potential boon to Billy Bishop

According to data collected for Yonge Street Media, the new density in the core could radically alter the way an expanded downtown airport could be used.

The numbers, compiled by the policy and analysis section of the city’s planning division, report that about 30,000 people live and work within a 10-minute walk of Billy Bishop airport, and 600,000 within a 10-minute bike ride. Though at the moment one of the chief criticisms of an expanded airport, and even of the airport in its current state, is traffic congestion. But as more people move into the buildings in the vicinity -- including an entirely new neighbourhood planned less than a kilometre away at Front and Bathurst -- the benefits of an airport in the core may become ever more apparent.

According to a November report by BA Group prepared for the city, currently 35 per cent of passengers do not use cars of any sort to get to the airport. The report projects that number increasing to either 45 per cent or 50 per cent if shuttle and/or transit service to the airport is improved.

"The percentage of people who use other means to this airport is much higher than somewhere like Pearson," says Porter spokesman Brad Cicero.

The report did not look into the possible repercussions of the city's active encouragement of walking or cycling.

According to Porter, there are currently 2.3 million passengers using the island airport, of which 17 per cent -- or 390,000 -- are connecting passengers who never leave the terminal. Porter estimates this number would rise to between 25 per cent and 27 per cent should the new routes proposed by the use of jets be added.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: BA Group, Brad Cicero
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