LAX officials offer three potential sites for rail station near airport

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:


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.

24 replies

  1. In my opinion, the modified LRT Trunk route through LAX, with stations near the Lot C transit center, and near the terminals, but with the ability for the trains to continue through the airport without hitting a terminal (reversing) station is the far superior choice. Otherwise it becomes impossible to develop efficient operating patterns for the Light Rail – too many branches and terminuses.
    LAX is the major job center, so it brings people where they need to go.


  2. Steve,

    You are government. You have access to employee’s W-2 records from the State of CA to cross reference where they live and where they work. Why not gather that statistic to show how far away people who work at LAX live, let alone come up with a true figure of how many percentage of Angelenos work and live at what distance from where they work?

    Or do you really think all the baggage handlers, TSA agents, greeters, parking lot attendants, janitors, aircraft maintenance mechanics, hotel and rental car shuttle van drivers, etc. all live 20 miles away in suburban gated communities in the San Fernando Valley? Or do you think they live closeby the job centers in multifamily complexes in Inglewood and Hawthorne?


  3. Steve,

    My bad, it seems you guys already DID collect that statistics in one of your own reports:

    Page 8 “Where do LAX employees live?”

    Note the density of the dots near LAX. For the people living in that densely dotted areas near LAX really think paying $900 a year in transit passes (no guarantee it will stay at $75/month) will be very economical for them, or would they just continue to drive, carpool, use motorcycle?


    • Hi Steven P;

      Thanks for posting the stats. The map shows a lot of people certainly do live near LAX. It also shows that a lot of people live farther away.

      I think it’s up to individuals to decide what’s best for them in terms of getting to work. If the bus or train is convenient, they may take that. If they prefer driving, they’ll go that way. My personal view is that the airport is a big enough employer that some employees would take advantage of rail transit to get there if it’s speedier or more convenient than a bus.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source


  4. “ I think it’s up to individuals to decide what’s best for them in terms of getting to work. If the bus or train is convenient, they may take that. If they prefer driving, they’ll go that way”

    I think this idea goes against everything that Metro is supposed to be doing which is to encourage more people to ditch their cars and promote using public transit.

    And if one of the factors why many people living near LAX still drive to work instead of taking public transit and the pdf statistics that Steven P showed that 73% of people who work at LAX drive there, I think it’s a good indicator that something is wrong with the Metro fare system that makes public transit unattractive for short distance commuters.

    Maybe it’s not the service, maybe it’s not how fast it is, maybe it’s just simply: the cost to take the bus isn’t worth it to travel that short distance.

    If my apartment complex to LAX commute happened to be only one station away on the Crenshaw Line, I’m not going to pay $75 a month for it. If I get free employee parking at LAX, I’ll just continue to drive there. Besides, why would I? I’m not getting a good deal on Metro compared to others who travel 10 stations to get there.


  5. I’d like to see an open forum on revenue neutral distance based fares that includes everybody, including the bus riders who can’t speak English or don’t have access to the Internet. There would not be a monthly pass for $75, I can assure you that much, because the super commuter from Warner Center to Long Beach would have to pay $200 or more for that ride, and they will complain. Fortunately it looks like Metro will sidestep the fare increase debate for 2013, but fares need to go up, the only question is how.


  6. Hi Steve,

    Could you tell me where I could find the full size drawing shown on Slide 4/Page 5. It seems to show other LAX improvements such as Terminal 0, replacements of Terminal 3, a replacement for the Interim West Bus Terminal, and the Midfield Satellite Concourse. I’m interested in this specific drawing because the one that is on Slide 4/Page 5 is cropped and does not show all the captions and potential improvements. If you could help me at all that would be great. Thanks.

    -Average Joe


    • Hi Average Joe;

      Check this report and see if what you’re looking for is in there. I only had the LAWA Board report on Metro connectivity — but there seems to be some overlap between that and this report on the specific plan study.

      Happy Holidays,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source


  7. Henry,

    Well the factor is “what’s the percentage of Angelenos that fall into the super long commute” category.

    There are just as many people in LA who cannot afford homes in the suburbs. Many live in multifamily apartment complexes and work close by as well. Is it fair to subject them to a flat rate fare hike when they only travel less than 10 miles to work as opposed to others who can afford big homes in the suburbs and they can get 20 miles for the same price? If one doesn’t factor in distance, people will still continue to drive for shorter commutes because the bus fare isn’t worth it.