Travelers Will Soon Walk Under A Lake To Catch Flights In Toronto

This Article Originally Appeared On Wired

Sure, a 90-second ferry ride is a fun way to access an airport, but Toronto has a better suggestion: walking. This spring, Billy Bishop Airport, on an island in Lake Ontario, will inaugurate an $82.5 million, 800-foot pedestrian tunnel—the world’s first walkable underwater airport link. Offering a six-minute transport time on wind- and hydro-powered moving sidewalks, it’s an “elegant and predictable delivery system to get passengers to and from the island,” says Toronto Port Authority CEO Geoffrey Wilson. While the existing ferry is charming, its quarter-hourly crossings vex harried travelers and snarl traffic with waves of pickups and drop-offs. The new tunnel smooths circulation, but that’s incidental: Billy Bishop is located less than 2 miles from downtown, and its leadership wants people to arrive by foot, bike, or public transit, not in cars. Very sustainable. Very 21st century. But the idea actually dates back to 1935, when a similar plan was initiated and then killed months later (in 2012 the excavators discovered some of the old pilings when their boring machine unexpectedly hit steel). Eighty years later, the tunnel is finally operational. It opens amid a dramatic 25-year transformation of Toronto’s 2,000-acre Inner Harbor, from postindustrial badlands into a transit-centric community served by light rail and one totally walkable airport.