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Report: LAX Traffic Could Be Getting a Whole Lot Worse

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A new LA City Controller report says more travelers and construction will slow things down even more

Those who have experienced the agonizing crawl of traffic through the central terminal of LAX at peak hours may be shocked and horrified to hear that slowdowns are expected to get much worse in the next few years. A report released Monday by Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin warns that construction projects and an excess of vehicles have the potential to create major traffic problems if preventative action isn't taken.

The report notes that LAX is busier than ever, serving 74.9 million in 2015; that's a sharp increase from just 10 years earlier, when 61.5 million passengers traveled through. Not surprisingly, the rise in passengers has led to more vehicles. On average, the airport is now receiving more than 75,000 vehicles every day.

Those numbers themselves are enough to make traffic pretty snarled, but soon construction will begin on the Landside Access Modernization Program. This project, which actually promises to ease traffic through the central terminal in the long term in part by creating a people mover that will link up to a new Metro light rail stop, threatens to create major headaches for passengers in the short term—"Traffic will get worse before it gets better," Galperin says in a press release. "And any goodwill we’ve engendered with passengers will quickly go away if [Los Angeles World Airports, which runs LAX] doesn’t adequately address the traffic and parking problems that its large-scale construction projects are going to create."

It's unclear exactly how LAWA, the city-managed operator of LAX, might solve these problems, but the auditors issuing the report recommend creating a new unit specializing in traffic management.

All this comes on the heels of the embarrassing news that LAX finished third-to-last in a recent JD Power & Associates survey of customer satisfaction at North American airports. Auditors offered a variety of remedies to this sad state of affairs, including faster Wi-Fi and a more "LA sense of place." Still, it's hard to get more LA than bad traffic and general dissatisfaction.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045