Last evening at the Flight Path Center near LAX, the public got its first chance to share feelings on a potential rail connection to the airport. Metro is studying a people mover (driver-less trains on elevated tracks that come every minute or two ala JFK's AirTrain), a light rail connection directly into the terminal area, and bus rapid transit (something with an exclusive lane, like the Orange Line). Dozens of people milled around and talked with Metro and their contractors. It was clear the bus wasn't winning any fans (luggage and buses=bad mix) and the light rail connection has complications--Metro representatives explained it would be tricky to have numerous stops within the airport so people could get to different terminals. Some airports, like SFO, have a hybrid system, with a direct subway/light rail connection to one terminal, and a people mover connecting travelers to the other terminals. But the vast majority last night was leaning toward a people mover that connects to the future Century/Aviation station on the Crenshaw Line (opening about 2016 or '17), a stop that will also be used by Green Line trains from the South Bay and Norwalk.
The approximately one mile long people mover would go down either Century, 98th, or 96th and have possible connections to Parking Lot C, some hotels, and perhaps a consolidated rental car facility before hitting the airport--there would be three or five PM stations within the airport, according to Metro consultant Gene Kim.
Where things get complicated is that Los Angeles World Airports is studying a direct connection to LAX themselves, separately, as part of their modernization study. So, Metro and LAWA will have to reconcile their findings--it's believed LAWA will have their recommendation on a specific project by early 2012, while Metro will have its by early 2013. If it's a light rail or BRT directly to the airport, Metro will build, and likely pay for, the project. If it's a people mover, um, well, that's a grey area.
There are two more community meetings this month--tomorrow at Metro's Downtown headquarters at 6:30 pm, and on August 30 at Culver City's Veterans Memorial Complex at the same time. You can also email your opinions to the Green Line to LAX Facebook page and/or fill out this Metro survey.
· Finally, Movement on a Rail Line Connection to LAX [Curbed LA]
· Green Line to LAX [Facebook]