Metro’s under-construction Crenshaw Line is expected to start carrying riders next year, but agency officials are split on how the light rail route should link up with the existing Green Line, south of LAX.
The new route will bring passengers from the Expo Line stop at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards to the airport, passing through Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Hyde Park, and Inglewood along the way. Eventually, the line will be extended north to Hollywood.
Metro staffers are pushing for a plan that would break apart the Green Line, connecting most of the route to the Crenshaw Line and allowing riders to travel continuously between Norwalk and the Expo Line stop at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards. The rest of the Green Line would then travel just a few miles between Redondo Beach and the future Aviation/Century and 96th Street stations.
Track connections from the Green Line to the Crenshaw Line were completed earlier this year.
The majority of Green Line riders get on and off the train at stations east of the intersection with the Crenshaw Line, so connecting the latter route with the eastern portion of the Green Line makes sense, according to Metro staffers.
But elected officials who represent the South Bay aren’t happy.
Metro Boardmember Janice Hahn, who represents most of the South Bay region as a county supervisor, says Metro staffers are rushing a decision that could have “serious impacts on the transportation options for an entire region.”
Other elected officials from the South Bay, including Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey, echoed those statements at Thursday’s meeting.
Eventually, what’s now the Green Line will be extended farther south to Torrance, adding roughly four miles to the route. That’s one of the 28 projects that Metro plans to complete in time for the 2028 Olympics, meaning that the southern portion of the route could get a lot more riders in the not-too-distant future.
Those passengers could easily transfer to trains bound for Norwalk or the Expo Line, but Hahn and others argue that those transfers would add unnecessary delays and inconveniences to trips that some riders are already taking.
At Thursday’s meeting, Metro staff acknowledged that there is a way to connect the Crenshaw Line to both segments of the Green Line, guaranteeing one-seat rides for passengers coming from the South Bay and from Norwalk. The catch is that this system would require more frequent track changes, resulting in longer rides and more irregular service.
Another possibility that Metro has studied would connect the southern portion of the Green Line to the Crenshaw Line, leaving riders coming from Norwalk and South LA (i.e. most current passengers) to transfer near the airport in order to continue north.
Board Chair Eric Garcetti questioned whether it was possible to engineer a solution that would guarantee riders from both ends of the Green Line a continuous trip, but staffers suggested such a fix would be costly and slow to implement.
That leaves Metro leadership with a tough decision to make—later this year. After a long discussion Thursday, the board voted to revisit the item at a future meeting.