Boston’s Logan International Airport could soon break a pair of world records that have nothing to do with altitude or speed. Think ground travel at a snail’s pace instead.
The airport is planning to build a pedestrian connection between Terminal E and the MBTA Blue Line’s Airport Station next door. That link would measure more than half a mile — or upwards of 2,640 feet — in length and may feature one or multiple moving walkways.
If a single moving walkway is indeed built that stretches the entire length of the connection, it would shatter the current global record for the longest moving walkway in a city.
Even a series of moving walkways stretching from the T station to Terminal E would potentially break a different record for the longest “travelator” system in the world.
According to Guinness World Records, the longest single moving walkway in a city is about 670 feet in length. That gently inclined walkway carries pedestrians at a leisurely clip of 1.5 miles per hour underneath the parks and gardens of The Domain area in Sydney, Australia, said Guinness spokeswoman Sofia Rocher.
A one-way journey on the belt, standing still, takes just over 5 minutes. Passengers can pass the time by gazing at the surrounding tunnel walls, where a mural depicts “aboriginal and local scenes,” Rocher said. When the Sydney Botanic Gardens Trust first opened the walkway on June 9, 1961, it was billed as a “futuristic novelty.” It was rebuilt in 1994.
Meanwhile, the world’s longest escalator system, measuring 2,624 feet in length, is located in China, Rocher said. The Central Hillside Escalator Link, a series of covered moving walkways in Hong Kong, carries commuters between the Mid-Levels district and Central Market close to the waterfront on Hong Kong Island. (Guinness’s definition of “escalator” includes both moving stairs and walkways, which are sometimes called “travelators.”)
At Logan, the plans call for building an enclosed, weather-protected pedestrian connection that “may include moving sidewalks,” according to a copy of a state environmental filing about a project to expand and modernize Terminal E, the airport’s international terminal.
“The connector would cross the Airport roadway either underground or via an overpass to connect to existing Terminal E,” plan documents say. The design of the connector “will be evaluated for constructability and costs.”
“Providing a direct pedestrian transit connection from the terminal will enhance the passenger experience and meet international visitors’ expectations,” the plans say.
Matthew Brelis, a spokesman for Massport, the state agency that runs Logan, stressed that the plans for a pedestrian connection between the airport and neighboring subway station are in preliminary stages.
The plans require state and federal approval before the scheduled groundbreaking in 2017.
He said it was too early to provide more details or even to say with certainty whether moving walkways will be built
“We’ll definitely build a connection, but the mechanism of it has yet to be determined,” he said. “It’s really too early to know any details at all. It’s too early to tell how it will be made and how long it will be.”
Guess you could say airport officials are staying grounded.Matt Rocheleau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele