Metro to hold public meetings on project to connect to LAX

A people mover at George Bush Airport in Houston.

As many readers know, Metro is planning to build a light rail station at Aviation and Century boulevards that will serve trains on the Crenshaw/LAX Line and some Green Line trains. But it will still be 1.3 miles from the Aviation/Century station to the first airport terminal (and a longer distance to the other terminals), one reason that Measure R included  up to $200 million for a project called “Green Line Extension to Los Angeles International Airport.”

How to get people to the airport from the light rail station?

LAX — a city of Los Angeles agency — is studying a people mover project to connect the airport to the Crenshaw/LAX line as part of its specific plan amendment process.

There has also been a lot of talk — much of it coming from the L.A. City Council — about extending rail all the way to the airport terminals. As we posted earlier this year, Metro is now launching its own study to determine the best way to connect Metro Rail to the airport, including the people mover (Metro will be working with LAX on this aspect of the study).

Here’s the news release issued today about upcoming public meetings:

Metro will host three community workshop meetings in late August to introduce community stakeholders to a study underway examining ways to connect the growing Metro Rail system to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The focus of the study is a four square mile area bounded by La Cienega Boulevard on the east, Manchester Avenue to the north, Imperial Highway to the south, and the LAX airport terminals on the west. Initial alternatives under consideration include Light Rail Transit (LRT), Automated People Mover (APM) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Metro is currently analyzing the various options for each transit type in order to narrow down the number of alternatives that will be carried forward to the environmental review phase.

Three community meetings in August include:

  • Tuesday, August 23, 2011 (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) Flight Path Learning Center, 6661 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles.
  • Thursday, August 25, 2011 (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) Metro Headquarters Building, Plaza Level Lobby, 1st Floor, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles.
  • Tuesday, August 30, 2011, (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) Veterans’ Memorial Complex, Yanji-Iksan Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City.

Metro encourages public participation and wants to hear about the community’s vision for improving transit services to LAX, including how a connection to LAX might reduce traffic congestion and improve transportation options to and from the airport, best serve airport users and local employees, and provide travelers with the level of transportation they expect when visiting Los Angeles County.

The three workshops will be open house formats where the public will have the opportunity to view project boards and share ideas at interactive stations. Metro project staff will be available during the workshops to answer individual questions.Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved in 2008, provides $200 million in partial funding for the Metro Green Line to LAX project.

For information on the Green Line to LAX Project, the public can call 310.499.0553 or visit the project web site at metro.net/greenlinetolax.

 

Below is the map from the project web page. Please keep in mind that it’s just a conceptual map — no decisions have been made about the best way to connect Metro Rail to the airport.

Click above to see a larger map.

29 replies

  1. It needs to go right to the terminal. Anything else is just a waste of money. If you look at O’hare, you literally can take one train and it takes you RIGHT to the airport. I almost guarantee anything that involves switching from a light rail to a “people mover” or whatever the hell that is will not get nearly the same number of riders as a train that takes you right to the terminal.

    Too cheap is too expensive. Do it right once Metro and we’ll never have to visit this again.

  2. LAX definitely needs a people mover, it’s way past due, the congestion is terrible. I take the shuttle to parking lot C to connect to the Big Blue Bus at the bus terminal and some nights it takes 20-30 minutes just to get there. On a people mover, I’d get there in about 5-10 minutes.

    The terminal at Aviation/Century needs to combine the bus terminal, rental cars, light rails, and people mover (maybe one day even Metrolink). That way the only traffic going into LAX is mostly personal cars and taxis.

  3. Contrary to what LA Urban Nerd says above, I feel like a people mover is exactly what people expect at an airport. You leave the terminal, hop in the people mover, and get off at the next terminal, or the parking lots, or the transit station.

    I think a people mover opens up the vital possibility of more connectivity in the area. Think about it, you’re never going to serve the hotels, the bus terminal, the parking lots, and multiple air terminals with a light rail extension. It would be too costly, too slow, and too far from some terminals. A people mover is perfect, though, for exactly that sort of scenario. It would take a lot of the hotel shuttles off of the ring road, as well as other services like the FlyAway (which, let’s face it, would be much faster if it didn’t have to stop at every single terminal in mixed traffic). It provides convenience to all of the destinations in the immediate area for both employees and travellers alike.

  4. People mover as there would be very little room for our current light rail trains to fit. Plus it needs to stop at all the major terminals. I was at LAX 11pm Sunday night and it was crazy crowded! Tons of traffic and it barely moved. We need this to be done right and done soon!

  5. You definitely need to connect the existing light rail line directly to LAX. Anything that requires yet _another_ connection will be less popular. Two connections to get from Union Station to LAX is already plenty. Otherwise, don’t bother and spend the money on Expo Phase II or something.

  6. @LA Urban Nerd:

    The Blue Line “El” goes directly to the basement of the O’Hare Hilton, a short walk to Terminal 2. To get to O’Hare’s Terminal 5 one does need to ride a people mover.

    (Trivia: The O’Hare people mover is the only example of the French VAL technology which is in service in North America.)

  7. Even if this were a great idea, this would duplicate Los Angeles World Aiport’s bus Route G that goes between Aviation and LAX already. However that Route G line is crowded at times.

    • Hi Betterfuture:

      The Aviation/Century station is closer to the airport terminals than the current Green Line station near LAX. The G bus also gets stuck in traffic — something a people mover, train or BRT would presumably avoid.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. I cringe at so called solutions knowing they will all fall short. Most rail situations at major airports around the world are a one seat ride into the city. The shortsightedness of our elected officials have left us with a patchwork of lines that don’t really make a good system. The Downtown connector will solve some of that but it won’t solve the LAX debacle. Even with congested highways the Flyaway is going to be a far better option without a one seat ride option from DTLA to LAX.

  9. A couple of thoughts:

    1. This need not be an either/or situation. LAX needs a People Mover system badly regardless of whether the Crenshaw line is going to be near or at the airport. The amount of shuttle buses in the LAX loop is ridiculous. And the situation is compounded by the outdated roadway design that separate arriving and departure traffic, which means every shuttle bus has to make 2 loop on each trip, doubling the amount the traffic. At the very least, LAWA needs to reconfigure the roadway so that upper level at LAX is reserved exclusively for shuttle bus and taxi and lower level exclusively for private cars. Just this simple change will go a long way to making LAX traffic more manageable.

    2. If there are money to be found (big if), I think the best solution is to have the Green line train approach LAX underground to a central terminal station under the parking garage (i.e. between Terminal 2 and Terminal 5, near the theme building). LAX terminal area is actually really compact compare to other major airports so you can walk from this central train station to all existing terminals in about 5 minutes. A second station may be added later between TBIT (currently being expanded) and planned Mid Field terminal (still on the drawing board). This will also allow the line to eventually be extended north to Venice and Santa Monica by exiting the airport ground near Lincoln Blvd where there is an existing tunnel (abandoned road way tunnel that was supposed to be fir south bound Lincoln Blvd).

    3. Even with an underground light rail station(s) as I described in #2 above, we still need a People Mover to connect to rental car lot, bus station, hotels and whichever light rail line (most likely Crenshaw, assuming Green line will become E-W and Crenshaw is strictly N-S) that doesn’t go directly to LAX.

  10. LAX is a mess in its current state and I believe is the largest airport in the country to not have an APM system. So its about time we get this moving (no pun intended). BRT should not even be considered as that will be an unattractive connection option for most travelers and would most likely be no better than a street bus which deals with the same traffic that plagues the airport now, unless new infrastructure was built for it, but then at that point why not just build the actual APM. The people mover will need to connect to each terminal so that it can also serve as proper connection system between terminals. Because currently the shuttles are a mess and there is no smooth system to go between terminals like there is at SFO. That way it can serve as a connector to metrorail AND a terminal connector.

  11. It will be a joyful day when people don’t have to board a bus to get out of LAX, we will be a true world city!

    People mover seems the only option that will make sense. Make Century/Aviation a major transfer point designed for travelers. I don’t thinking taking the light rail will have as good effect as a people mover that connects to Metro Rail.

    Just please get it done! We needed this 20 years ago.

  12. I would go a step further and remove the parking garages from the CTA and build a classy, modern ticketing area, stores, restaurants. Walkways then connect to existing terminals and since ticketing is removed from the current terminals, they can be expanded/remodeled and hopefully keep in basically the same areas. The parking needs to be moved to the fridges of the airport and make transit to the area and into the airport itself take over the majority of the impound traffic. People mover should continue to Bradley #1 and on to whatever future Bradley #2 there might be.

  13. The concern that I have is what will the bus drivers for all those hotels, parking lots, and rental car stations say when this people mover will take away their jobs?

    Granted I’d be more than happy to see all those redundant shuttle buses (i.e. there a hotel bus for the LAX Hilton and there’s a shuttle bus for the Parking Spot on Century, and they’re right next to each other!) disappear as they’re the ones contributing to most of the traffic jams at LAX, but I’m sure the bus drivers of these shuttle buses won’t give up without a fight.

    And can we just consolidate the rental car companies into one huge area like most airports? Having one rental car shuttle for Hertz, another for Avis, another for Alamo/National, another for Thrifty/Dollar, and another for Enterprise all just adds to the mess we have today because all these car rental areas are located in different areas near LAX.

  14. Make it a straight run people mover all the way to Bradley West running down the middle of the airport between the garages. The terminals are close enough that this doesn’t have to be a looped system. The loop at JFK is a time-waster: If you’re going to American at Terminal 8 or 9 you have to pass all the other terminals first, or if you’re in the know, get off at 1 and hope there’ll be an opposite direction train.
    Don’t take Metro lines into the airport. It’s too complicated. All Metro trains (including future Sepulveda corridor train from SFV/Westwood) will stop at Aviation/Century. And NO BUS SYSTEM PLEASE.

  15. LAX definitely needs a peoplemover.

    It probably ought to loop both directions like the JFK peoplemover so people can get from terminal to terminal as well as from the terminals to the car rental lot, which ought to be consolidated.

    The hotel shuttles are a more complicated issue because there are hotels to the north and south of the airport which would be beyond the reach of the peoplemover.

    For the time being, it ought to be enough for the Green Line and the Crenshaw Line to get to Aviation/ Century.

  16. The Automated PeopleMover in conjunction with the planned consolidated rental car facility, the new Crenshaw Line Station, the Green Line Station will bring the ground transportation of LAX up to modern standards.

    The Automated PeopleMover should be elevated electric tram trains on a viaduct suspended above World Way, Century Blvd, and Aviation Blvd

    My hope is to have two loop lines (big loop and small loop) for the Automated PeopleMover:

    #1: “Big loop” will connect the Crenshaw Line Aviation/Century Station, Lot C/LAX Transit Center, Consolidated Rental Car Facility, Terminal 1-8, International Terminal, Green Line Aviation Station.
    #2: “Small loop” will connect Terminal 1-8 and International Terminal

    It would be ideal if the platforms over World Way for access to the Terminals are center platform stations to allow for bi-directional travel and transferring from small loop to big loop.

    The offsite APM stations at Consolidated Rental Center, Lot C/LAX Bus Transit Center, Crenshaw Line, Green Line could very well be single direction travel.

    Also, it’s worth looking at a second automated people mover, a “clean” or “secured” people mover to allow for travel between terminals inside of the security zone, many airports have a design for this, including the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta.

    Good thing about removing all of those redundant shuttle buses circulating the terminal transfers like the ‘G’ shuttle to the Green Line, the Arrivals shuttle, Departures shuttle, the Lot C shuttle is that not only is the toxic fumes reduced, less natural gas will be used, less traffic in the loop so more capacity for cars, and also faster, more frequent service to terminals and offsite ground transportation.

  17. It would be nice to have both the Green line and the Crenshaw line go directly into the airport. I guess it would run along Century Blvd and through the middle of the airport circle on Center Way. Would it work?

    The people mover seem more practical since it doesn’t have the wires running above the line like the light rail.

  18. Yes, we desparately need a green line extension directly to LAX. NO, people-mover, shuttle or other gimmick! Why shouldn’t LA

  19. Why reinvent the wheel, as they say, by installing a “people mover?” It makes far more sense to extend the Green Line to the airport. And are we the only major city *in the world* without public transit that directly serves the airport?

    I used the bus and subway to Union Station and the Union Station Flyaway last time I flew out of LAX – I won’t do it again because it was too difficult lifting 2 weeks worth of luggage on and off the MTA bus.

  20. Why is there a need to suck as many funds out of tax payers with all of these gimicks? The meetings…we all can understand the purpose. However, life can be less difficult if the plan would be to extend the Green and Crenshaw Lines into LAX. The system is being built for the people that use it daily, consistently, not just to attract tourist and for their amusement.

  21. I think a person might already have said this, but I think Metro should make the LAX line a branch off the Green line- have all trains depart/arrive Norwalk, but have every other train service LAX terminal, just like the Red/Purple Line. A peoplemover is great, but eliminating a transfer would be a blessing to most travelers. How about terminating the line in between terminals 1 and 3 so it is a reasonable walking distance away from each terminal?

  22. The idea by Busridar “…make the LAX line a branch off the Green line- have all trains depart/arrive Norwalk, but have every other train service LAX terminal, just like the Red/Purple Line.” is an excellent one. The same idea can also apply to the Crenshaw Line. After all, the two lines are or may eventually connect if I’m correct. 🙂

  23. Do it right and run the airport extension under all terminals so passengers with luggage can get there by elevators or escalators. Or don’t waist the money building it because tarvellers with luggage will not use it. Transfer to buses is a pain in the rear and costs too much time!
    Europe does it right why can’t we?