The Urban Potential of Provo’s Airport

The location of the Provo airport gives the city a potential competitive advantage over other metro areas, including bigger and more developed ones such as Salt Lake City or even Denver.

Or at least, that’s what the experts might argue. The Atlantic Cities’ Richard Florida recently reported on the advantages of having an airport that isn’t located in the middle of nowhere. The article doesn’t go into great detail, but the point is that having a hard-to-reach airport is a disadvantage, while having an easily accessible airport is a boon.

Provo's airport is located 3.9 miles from downtown

Luckily, Provo’s airport is relatively close to downtown and on par with some of the leading metros in the Atlantic Cities article. Of course, Provo is a much smaller city, and the airport is just barely beginning to go commercial. So, right now the airport isn’t so much an actual competitive advantage as it is a potential one.

Still, as the region grows so should the airport and its impact. The biggest development that needs to happen at this point is, of course, more flights, but there are other needed improvements as well that might be less obvious. For example, the Atlantic Cities article notes that any good airport needs to be connected to its city via public transit:

One of the great equalizers for airports farther away from downtown is rapid transit. But just two of the 10 farthest airports are connected by rail of any kind. Five of the 10 airports closer to the urban core, on the other hand, offer convenient public transportation. Good transit connections can be pricey and difficult politically. But the cost of not having one means that the efficiency gained in the air is quickly lost once you land.

Provo’s airport isn’t hard to reach. Laura and I actually biked there one morning to catch a flight to New York via Denver. But according to this map, its also not connected to the bus system.

That’s understandable given the developing nature of the airport and surrounding area. But if it’s going to become a major asset for the city, now is the time to start filling in that type of gap.

Provo's airport is refreshingly close to downtown, and many sections of the route there even have bike paths. However, the airport is also not connected to the public transit system, which reduces its longterm potential. (Laura took this picture on west Center Street when we road to the airport in August, 2010.)

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2 Comments

Filed under airports, Development, Downtown

2 responses to “The Urban Potential of Provo’s Airport

  1. Pingback: Send the Bus to the Airport | (pro(vo)cation)

  2. Pingback: The World’s Most Bikeable Airport | (pro(vo)cation)

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