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Why a People Mover is Probably Better Than Light Rail For LAX

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A rail connection that goes directly to the terminals at LAX could be our version of the Great Pyramid (meaning mostly that it seems nearly impossible to build; the City Council is not pleased by that). Today The Source fills us in on where we are on that endeavor and it seems like maybe they're trying to prepare us for the reality of a light rail that goes NOT directly to LAX. Here's the main problem: Metro will start construction soon on the Crenshaw Line, the light rail project with a station at Century and Aviation Boulevards, 1.3 miles from the airport. Getting a direct Crenshaw or Green Line connection to the airport, without the aid of a people mover, like one used at big airports like JFK, would require either that the Crenshaw Line be moved or that it have an additional little spur. That would cost at least $600 million, which they don't have, and would delay the line, since it would have to be redesigned.

Another reason Metro wouldn't pay to redesign and move the line: LAWA can't commit to the people mover yet, since they're being sued by homeowners for their modernization efforts, which include a PM. Practically, it doesn't really make sense either: it would force some local commuters on the Crenshaw and Green Lines (the latter will share track with the former) to travel through LAX and, at best, will offer trains to the airport every five minutes; a PM could hit the terminals every 90 to 120 seconds.

Hopefully, Metro staff, which will present preliminary study results on an LAX connection to the Metro board this month, will give up the ghost on a direct light rail connection and commit to a people mover. The rub is that a people mover would require a connection from Century/Aviation and riders would have to go up and down stairs (they'll deal with it).
· Connecting Metro Rail to Los Angeles International Airport: here is a look at issues currently on the table [Metro]
· Ride to the Airport Archives [Curbed LA]

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045