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As The Crenshaw Line Starts Work, Metro Is Figuring Out How To Connect To The Airport

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There's been a lot of talk about a rail connection to LAX in recent days and now they're narrowing in on potential plans to make it happen. Metro officials want to cut the options to four and are suggesting dropping three alternatives that would have featured underground light rail directly to the terminals and another that considered bus rapid transit (though a motion from County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe that just passed the construction committee would hold on to two options that consider light rail directly to LAX; the full Metro board will decide officially what options to drop at their meeting next week). Before you start freaking out, tunneling under the airport to get to the terminals was never very realistic, with extreme costs and a deleterious effect on any Metro riders not going to the airport (i.e. just trying to get to Norwalk, Redondo Beach, the Crenshaw District, DTLA, or Santa Monica). Maybe even more important than those concerns was the Federal Aviation Administration's restriction on construction near flight paths.

The four most likely options left all involve an automated people mover that connects to the Crenshaw and/or Green lines. Two of those would require a new little stub for the Crenshaw Line—which officially breaks ground on Tuesday (more on that below). One option would have the Crenshaw Line bust out toward LAX and stop at a new intermodal transit facility, with buses, drop-off spots, parking, and an APM station. Another option would require a stub of Crenshaw be built toward the edge of the airport, near the pylons, with an APM taking people from there.

It's not clear when or how the stubs would be built as the Crenshaw Line is about to start major construction and there is no budget for a new stub toward LAX (the APM is being studied by Los Angeles World Airports, operator of LAX, and will be paid for partly by Metro money and probably the airlines, which don't want to pay for it, according to the non-enthused-sounding LAWA director). Not to mention that any new stub would require a whole environmental review. It took years to complete and finalize the environmental review for the current Crenshaw Line route, which finally gets shovels in the ground during a ceremony Tuesday at the Expo Line Crenshaw station—the northern terminus of the Crenshaw Line. Everyone from Mayor Garcetti to federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to Senator Barbara Boxer to Congresswomen Karen Bass and Maxine Waters is expected. The line is expected to open in only five years and the hope is that the APM connection opens concurrently.

The other two options would keep the Crenshaw Line as it's currently designed and just have people connect to the APM near the station at Century and Aviation Boulevards. One option seems to indicate people could cross a skybridge from the Crenshaw station to board the APM, while the fourth option shows the APM at Aviation and Ninety-Sixth Street, a five-minute walk from the Crenshaw station, and one that would seem to require going to street-level, walking to Ninety-Sixth, and then ascending to the APM station.

Considering everything, it would seem the APM station at Century and Aviation is the most logical, since every option will require transferring to an APM (like most connectors at major airports).
· Metro staff report updates the alternatives for Airport Metro Connector project; alternatives focus on connecting light rail to people mover [The Source]
· Ride to the Airport [Curbed LA]

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045