Dulles and Baltimore Washington International airports can sometimes feel like they’re not all that close to the District. But what would happen if they were built closer to DC? Like, in DC itself?
Dulles (black) and BWI (red) airports over DC. Rendering by the author and base image from Google Maps. Click for interactive version.
Above is where the runways would fall if you built Dulles or BWI as is in DC. In the image, each airport’s terminal is roughly aligned with Union Station.
As you can see, Dulles is more spread out than BWI: from north to south, its runways span the distance from T Street NW (in the overlay, the Black Cat is among the northern-most landmarks that the “airport” covers) to south of the Navy Yard. East to west, it spreads from the Lincoln Memorial to 9th Street NE and SE.
While it’s relatively compact, BWI would cover a good chunk of Capitol Hill and spread nearly to 12th Street NW.
And all that’s just accounting for Dulles and BWI’s runways. Contributor Adam Froehlig created an image to show just how much land all three of the region’s major airports take up:
Centered on the Capitol, Dulles takes up a huge amount of land, from north of the McMillan Reservoir to Mississippi Avenue SE. It covers all of Arlington Cemetery and nearly reaches the Starburst intersection. BWI looks modest in comparison, while National looks downright tiny.
What do you notice?