Crenshaw/LAX Line planning update

Click above to see a larger map.

I wanted to provide a quick update on planning efforts for the Crenshaw/LAX Line because I’m aware there is some erroneous information floating around out there about the project’s approval process.

The project’s final environmental impact statement/report is presently being finalized by Metro staff with a public release date targeted at mid to late August. Metro is working with both the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to get their approval to release the document. (The FAA is involved because of the rail line’s proximity to LAX).

If that release date is achieved, the Metro Board of Directors would review the document at the Sept. 14 meeting and issue a recommendation to the full Board of Directors, who would then discuss and vote on the document at their Sept. 22 meeting.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line is one of the 12 transit projects funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. The project, as being planned, proposes a light rail line between the intersection of Exposition and Crenshaw boulevards and the Green Line near Aviation Boulevard.

17 replies

  1. Hey Steve

    The map shoes that the crenshaw line north of MLK is going to be subway. As far I know that portion has been approved for at-grade operation with a design option for subway. Is metro now seriously considering putting that portion underground?

    • Hi Ronny;

      The map is correct and, yes, that segment is being considered as below ground. I believe planners discussed this segment in front of the Board at some point or at meetings. The issue involves a planned development in the city of L.A. As you know, of course, nothing is final until the FEIS/R i adopted by the Metro Board of Directors.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. So it appears the line goes closer to LAX, but still not *right* to the terminals. Would the expectation be Metro riders take the circulator bus that goes to each terminal?

    • Hi LA Urban Nerd;

      You are correct. LAX is studying a people mover to connect the new Crenshaw Line station at Aviation/Century to the airport terminals and the Metro Board in March approved going forward with a study on how better to connect the Green and Crenshaw Line to the airport terminals. See this post.

      Best,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. “Erroneous information?”

    Item #17 on the Planning & Programming Committee meeting as of yesterday morning stated that the committee was scheduled to approve the project on the condition of FTA approval. It was only withdrawn AFTER we very publicly prepared our people for what would have violated any number of public notices laws at the state and federal level, considering among other facts Metro has not even released the final EIR/EIS.

    This is information that is clearly verifiable right on this very site:

    See the planning and programming committee agenda:
    http://www.metro.net/about/meetings/board/ppc-0720-2011/agenda/

    With the big words in red “ITEM WITHDRAWN.”

    And by the way, we did not find out the item was withdrawn by having one of our numerous emails to project manager returned, but rather through the LA Streetsblog post.

    • Hi Damien;

      This item was not targeted at any particular person or group. You are correct–the item was agendized and then withdrawn. I just wanted to let people who are interested in the project know the timeline for the approval process. With all due respect, Metro believes public notice laws were being followed.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. I am glad that that the station at crenshaw and exposition is being considered as a subway. That will facilitate a much more sensible future extension of the Crenshaw line north as it wont have to cross or sever the expo line. Hopefully it would stay underground all the way to wilshire/la brea and eventually on to Hollywood highland; the beginning of a true rapid transit grid!!!

  5. Damien wrote: “It was only withdrawn AFTER we very publicly prepared our people for what would have violated any number of public notices laws at the state and federal level, considering among other facts Metro has not even released the final EIR/EIS.”

    Rhetoric 101: correlation does not imply causation.

    Clearly the agenda item was withdrawn because the FEIR schedule had slipped, not because of some mobilization of citizens. The original date was based on Metro’s original target date for FEIR release, which was in the June/July period.

    Metro has been building rail projects for a long time. They may not do everything perfectly, but at this point it’s safe to say they are fairly well-versed in environmental law. Do you honestly think they would try to simply skip the mandatory 30-day public review period, in order to put one over on “the community”?

  6. [corrected]

    Mr. Hymon:

    Joel C, has made a statement that there is a “mandatory” 30-day “public review” period.

    Metro had certification of the FEIR/FEIS on track for the August 4 meeting as of Friday July 15, despite the FEIR/FEIS not being released. July 15 is clearly not 30 days prior to August 4. Mr. Hymon previously said that “With all due respect, Metro believes public notice laws were being followed.”

    These two statements are obviously not compatible. To clarify for all your readers Steve, why don’t you explain the basis upon which Metro thinks that public notice laws could be followed.

    Or better yet Steve, you can simply confirm that Metro believes, despite Crenshaw-LAX being a joint EIR/EIS document, that they are only mandated to provide a 10 day agency notice period prior to certification, and that 30 day “public review” periods were simply a “courtesy.”

  7. Damien,

    I think Joel explained this pretty well. Since your goal seems to be suing the MTA to stop the current project as planned, it seems pretty foolish of you to not just let the MTA violate the 30 day notification rule if you really believed that was going to be the case as you state. In that case you might actually have a basis for your lawsuit.

  8. To call this the “LAX Line” is a fraud and an embarrassment. These stations don’t appear to go anywhere close to the LAX terminals!

    Please, please, Metro, build a transit system that goes directly to the airport terminals, just as every other major city in the world has done.

  9. Matt –

    To your point Matt, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition would much rather be directing our focus and resources towards advancing the discussion in the Crenshaw corridor community about New Urbanism and a revitalized mixed-use Crenshaw Blvd rather than a legal challenge because of Metro’s violations of law and errors. If the objective of the lawsuit was solely to stop or delay the project, then perhaps your suggestion would have merit. Alas, it is not. Perhaps that is the source of your bewilderment. Contrary to your possible perspective, I personally, and the Crenshaw Subway Coalition as a whole have done a lot in an attempt to position this project to address the two remaining design issues on Crenshaw Blvd, including first proposing and then pushing the discussion towards a cheaper open cut Leimert Park Village station south of Vernon (at the Vernon triangle) instead of a cut-and-cover station at 43rd Place. We’ve repeatedly asked staff to explore cheaper tunneling alternatives and offered documentation and support for it. This is not something that began yesterday, but has been occurring and is documented as beginning almost 4 years ago. All was done with the objective of trying to be sensitive to Metro’s funding realities, and focusing on obtaining the good, as opposed to the perfect. It was our hope that Metro would do right this time, take advantage of opportunities as they were presented, but alas they have not, and so we have no other recourse.

    Finally, with respect to my previous post, one of the primary reasons I stopped engaging on blogs comment sections like these, is because I found that there was little concern for the pursuit of facts let alone general admission of facts among most commenters. It is perfectly reasonable for people to have different interpretations of facts, but quite frankly trying to convince the same 1-2 dozen people whose motives in commenting are less than academic is not a productive use of my time. I would not have commented here if the statements had not come directly from Metro’s mouthpiece, and its inaccuracy was so blatantly verifiable.

    Alas, I bid adieu! I leave it to Hymon to determine whether to answer the matter posed in my previous post. I already know the answer. It has already been confirmed by Metro staff. I leave it to him on whether he seeks to enlighten Joel C and provide his readers a more thorough explanation.

    Peace!

  10. Overall, Crenshaw is a poor street for New Urbanism. Most of the street is very wide with a lot of traffic and suburban style development (single family homes in the neighborhoods off Crenshaw) and retail with a lot of parking including Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. In fact, most of the community seems more concerned with not affecting car traffic and eliminating some of parking than anything else. That is hardly a recipe for good New Urbanism or a successful transit corridor.

    If this project is delayed or stopped by this lawsuit, I am hoping the project can be redesigned to go up Vermont instead of Crenshaw. Overall, this is much better corridor for rail with much higher ridership, a better pedestrian environment and the ability to eventually connect with the hub Wilshire/Vermont station north of Expo through a very dense and transit dependent community (which is much more appropriate than eventually continuing north of Crenshaw).

  11. @BryanT

    AFAIK, LAX Master Plan calls for an automated people mover from the planned train station to the terminals.

    However, I do agree that LAX being only served with light rail is rather pitiful this day and age. LAX should be prime location for a huge transit hub called “West LA Station,” which should bring air, regional, and local transit options together. Even better would be to bring a high speed rail spur to LAX to reduce the need for all those commuter jets to places like Fresno, San Diego, and San Jose that are primarily used only by connecting passengers at LAX.

    What also sucks about this plan is that due flat rate fares, anyone that wants to transfer to the Green Line has to fork over $1.50 to get between the planned Aviation/Century station and the current Aviation/LAX station of the Green Line.

  12. Umm actually the green line is going to be extended to Aviation/Century once the Crenshaw Line is built. So there will be no forced transfer to the green line east of Aviation/ Century. Metro is still deciding whether to send all Green Line trains to Aviation/Century and having riders use the Crenshaw Line to get to Redondo Beach or to have a split line with some trains heading to Redondo Beach and some to Aviation /Century.

    Metro is also planning to mak the Aviation /Century Station pretty big. It is being planned to accommodate at least 2 light rail lines, the LAX people mover, and potential regional rail connection, like Metrolink, on the Harbor Subdivision for a quicker connection to Union Station.

  13. personally speaking…the two most successful rail lines that LA has is the Red Line and The Blue line…with this said the most obvious choice…is to use the existing rail bed along Slauson ave From the Slauson Blue Line Station (going west) along Slauson Ave with a Avalon Blvd stop…then Harbor Freeway transit station stop…then Western Ave…then Crenshaw Blvd…then La Brea Ave…then the Florence ave/Aviation blvd split at Manchester Ave/Blvd…now the train is headed south to Arbor Vitae…Then tunnel west to the Now LAX TRANSIT BUS CENTER…YOU COULD EITHER MAKE IT A GROUND LEVEL STATION (replacing the bus transit center…or shore it up…and make it an underground station!! at the same time take the GREEN LINE Train rails north from the Aviation Station to Arbor Vitae Blvd to connect (via switch tracks) to also end under the LAX BUS CENTER!! THIS WAY YOU HAVE PEOPLE FROM DOWNTOWN L.A. (and the northeast sectors) TO BE SERVED VIA BLUE LINE TO THE “AIRPORT LINE” meanwhile from the east and southeast…PEOPLE CAN RIDE EITHER THE GREEN LINE (from points east) OR THE BLUE LINE TO THE GREEN LINE (from the southeast)…those from the San pedro area could use are freeway (110) lines to either the green line train (at harbor fwy station) or exit at slauson station…people from the northwest could use either La Brea Ave to the La Brea Station or La Cienga Blvd or 405 fwy to the Florence/Aviation/Manchester Station…no one is missed and by far with an already existing railbed that METRO has the right of way to…this might be the most least expensive way to go…not to mention…but when finish could be very profitable and encourage more carpooling and transit riding…because of the positioning of the stations…now I do Realized that I left out Vermont avenue (which is a rather large stop) however this give us an option in the future should they decide to put a link from the wilshire/vermont red & purple line station to points south…but as of now Vermont has a green line station…so they can complete their trips to the LAX area via both METRO and ‘MUNI’ buses to the vermont green line station…I TELL YOU IT WOULD BE ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ADDITION AND LINE EXTENSION EVER!!