Metro has just thrown a real curveball in the ongoing pursuit to send public transit directly to LAX: two committees are now strongly considering a brand new stop on the already-under-construction Crenshaw Line that could connect to a people mover that would travel into and around the airport. Los Angeles World Airports, LAX's operator, is collaborating with Metro on the airport connection, which most people seem to agree should take the form of an automated people mover (rather than a direct light rail connection into the airport), but there's been a lot of dispute about where that people mover will hook up to the Metro rail system—last month, LAWA said that the people mover they wanted to build couldn't connect directly to any of the planned stations on the Crenshaw Line. Now Metro's Planning & Programming and Construction Committees want a new station (via @laura_nelson) at Aviation and Ninety-Sixth Streets—a mere 0.3 miles from an already-planned station at Century and Aviation.
It's long been assumed that the most logical plan would have a people mover connecting to the Crenshaw Line's nearby station at Century/Aviation, but LAWA says that would only work if the PM traverses nearby Ninety-Eighth Street. For various reasons, including street-widening issues, LAWA would rather build the PM along Ninety-Sixth Street. So now Metro is figuring out how to add another station to the 8.5-mile Crenshaw Line, which is already knee-deep in construction (they're building subway stations now). The committees' report makes it seems like it's no big deal to add the new station and allocate the money for it (since there are already Measure R funds set aside for an airport-rail connection).
This latest plan would provide the shortest walk time from the Metro system to the people mover to the airport (less than nine minutes), though it would also cut down on ridership for the entirety of the Crenshaw Line. Riders getting off at the Ninety-Sixth Street station would walk a short bit to the people mover, which stop once—at an Intermodal Transit Facility, with buses and car drop-offs—before reaching the airport and its two people mover stations.
Metro still believes it would be advantageous to have both the Century/Aviation stop and the Ninety-Sixth/Aviation stop, as the former would serve people heading to LAX and the latter would be useful to businesses on Century Boulevard. Also, "the construction of the 96th Street Station would not preclude a future extension west to Lincoln or Sepulveda Boulevards (Coastal Corridor). A preliminary review indicates this future extension would occur along Manchester Boulevard."
LAWA's final recommendations for the people mover are due in December and if for some reason they decide the Ninety-Sixth Street station connection can't work, they'll try to make the Aviation/Century station connection happen.
· All the Details on LAX's Potential People Mover System [Curbed LA]
· Ride to the Airport [Curbed LA]