Boac121217yLAWA-Metro Coordination Update
Some interesting news on Monday from Los Angeles World Airports, the city of L.A. agency that oversees LAX: airport planners for the first time are proposing three possible sites for a light rail station at or near the airport. The above report to the Board of Airport Commissioners shows the possible station locations.
First, it helps to understand the background. Metro is in the midst of planning a transit project — called the Airport Metro Connector — that would connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the airport terminals. Metro planners are studying a variety of alternatives, including bus rapid transit, a people mover and light rail.
The Crenshaw/LAX Line will have a station at Aviation and Century boulevards. It’s closer to the LAX terminals than the existing Green Line Aviation station — but Aviation/Century is still more than a mile to the beginning of the horseshoe-shaped road that serves the nine LAX terminals.
In the meantime, LAX planners have been working on the “LAX Master Plan Specific Plan Amendment” that will guide future renovations and development at the airport.
That plan amendment will likely include a people mover to connect the terminal to future LAX facilities, such as a consolidated rental car center. As part of that study, LAX planners are working with Metro to identify the best ways to tie the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the airport terminals — perhaps with the people mover or a combination of people mover and light rail extension.
There’s still a lot of work to be done; here are stories in the Daily Breeze and the L.A. Times. One of the big issues — as with all transit projects — will be securing funding. Measure R allocates $200 million to the Airport Metro Connector project and LAWA is expected to contribute funds and/or resources, but that amount is not known.
But any type of light rail project — especially one involving rail tunnels or underground stations — will be very expensive and will cost north of $1 billion. Under Metro’s long-range plan, adopted in 2010, the Airport Metro Connector is scheduled to open in 2028. Both funding and Metro Board approval would be needed to accelerate the project.
Below is the news release from LAWA:
SITES PROPOSED FOR METRO LIGHT RAIL DIRECT CONNECTION TO LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TERMINALS
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) staff today announced its “strong commitment and desire” for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to locate a Metro light rail station directly at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). To support this proposal, LAWA has committed to provide scarce airport property located west of Sepulveda Boulevard on the east end of the Central Terminal Area (CTA) to create the opportunity for an on-airport Metro light rail station.
During a regularly scheduled meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, LAWA staff reported that it has “substantially accelerated planning work and coordination with Metro staff to evaluate the best interface of our (airport) facilities with transit.”
LAWA and Metro have jointly identified the following site options on LAWA property where a Metro light rail interface could be designed that result in a direct connection to a future automated people mover system and that airport officials believe would bring a “high level of service and connectivity” for passengers:
- An area west of Sepulveda Boulevard on the east end of the CTA
- A proposed intermodal transportation facility in the vicinity of Economy Parking Lot C
- Manchester Square
LAWA staff is also currently coordinating with Metro on the Crenshaw/LAX Line Project in order to ensure the design of the Century/Aviation Station is aligned with and will better integrate with any potential LAWA infrastructure at Manchester Square.
On a parallel but separate effort, LAWA is moving forward with the LAX Master Plan Specific Plan Amendment Study (SPAS), which evaluates options at a programmatic level for configuring the LAX north airfield and a long-range plan for ground transportation access to the Central Terminal Area. SPAS is part of a multi-billion-dollar, multi-year modernization program at LAX. Earlier this month, LAWA announced a staff-recommended alternative for the LAX Master Plan SPAS, which proposes new ground transportation facilities east of Sepulveda Boulevard, including: an intermodal transportation facility in the vicinity of Lot C; a consolidated rental car facility at Manchester Square on airport property located about one mile east of the airline terminals; and an automated people mover to connect the terminals and off-airport facilities when forecast demand levels materialize and can justify these investments.
According to airport officials, the next steps will be to continue close coordination with Metro to identify opportunities to link transit with airport facilities, and develop project level concepts and related technical and environmental analyses.