Metro staff report updates the alternatives for Airport Metro Connector project; alternatives focus on connecting light rail to people mover

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One of the more notable Measure R projects under study is the Airport Metro Connector, which seeks to connect the Metro Rail system to Los Angeles International Airport.

The latest: Metro staff in collaboration with Los Angeles World Airports (the city of Los Angeles agency that oversees LAX) are recommending four possible connections between a people mover the airport plans to build and the Crenshaw/LAX Line and/or the Green Line for further analysis in an upcoming draft environmental study. The four alternatives are shown above.

Staff are also recommending that four alternatives that had been previously studied be eliminated from further study: a bus rapid transit alternative and three alternatives that would have run a rail line directly into the airport’s terminal area.

As the staff report explains, the high cost, travel time impact to non-airport riders and LAWA concerns about the risk of tunneling under critical facilities such as runways and terminals were considerations in this recommendation. Another important consideration are Federal Aviation Administration restrictions concerning construction in the flight path zone.

Here is what is important to understand: Even if light rail could get directly into the airport’s central terminal area — likely via an extremely expensive tunnel — many travelers would still need to transfer to a people mover to reach the different terminals. In other words, all options involve both light rail and a people mover.

The bottom line: It will be very important for Metro and LAWA to select the alternative that allows for the easiest connection between light rail and the people mover while taking into consideration riders who are not airport bound.

The report also explains something wonky but very important: Metro, LAWA and two federal agencies — the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration — have agreed on how further studies for the project will proceed.

The gist of it: Metro will study the light rail part of the project, LAWA will study the people mover part of the project and then the agencies will agree on a “locally preferred alternative.” A federal study of that alternative will follow — a study that is necessary in order to secure any needed federal funding.

Here is a good article on the issue in today’s Los Angeles Times.

There was also a news story published yesterday on the Los Angeles News Group’s Airspace blog about skepticism from airlines toward the project and its potential expense. I think it’s important to note that study of the project is going forward nonetheless and the project enjoys considerable political support both within and outside of the Metro Board of Directors — including from elected officials who ultimately oversee LAX.

The latest staff report and handout are below. Both are also available as part of the Metro Board’s Planning Committee agenda.

5 replies

  1. Of course, none of these plans discusses in detail on who and how the huge costs involved for the eminent domain that will be paid for the CONRAC as noted on these plans. There is an existing neighborhood there with apartments, a school, gas stations, fast food outlets, a Denny’s Restaurant and 3 major hotels in that area. I have high doubts that the hotels and restaurants will likely to move out from such a prime business area without a fight.

    The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution specifically states that “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    Metro nor LAWA cannot just say to the residents, school, and businesses in that area to “move out and get out” just because they want to build a consolidated facility there. The cost of eminent domain may end up becoming one of the costliest that LA has ever seen.

  2. Seems like Alternative 6 makes the most sense. Otherwise, wouldn’t you have to spend more money and delay construction? or can Alternatives 7/8 be worked out after construction has begun?

  3. The real problem here is that nobody is actually building or funding the people mover. LAWA was supposed to do this, oh, decades ago, but LAWA keeps deciding to spend its money on other things. The people mover suffers from being fictional.

    If the people mover were funded and under construction, it would be perfectly plausible to set up a transfer station to the people mover. Right now, it’s “transfer to what people mover? There isn’t any people mover.”

    As noted by “LAX Frequent Flyer, LAWA’s “CONRAC” (Consolidated rental car center) is also unfunded, and is proposed to be built on top of a crowded neighborhood with homes, schools, and major hotels — it’s unlikely to ever happen.

    I don’t know why LAWA can’t put the CONRAC next to the ITS on top of one of the giant, empty, wasted parking lots in the area. That’s where all the rental car companies are right now, anyway; a carefully staged construction could build part of the CONRAC on the parking lot, move a bunch of the rental car companies out, and then build the other half of it on top of the former rental car companies’ locations.

    Metro’s doing its best, but LAWA isn’t. LAWA’s designs seem like they’re intended to get cancelled.

  4. Build a Metro MTA RAPID Train Service Link with service DIRECTLY into LAX International Airport Terminals 1-7!! I would Call it the LAX Express Train This “Crenshaw/LAX line” doesn’t really make sense! What we really need is a North-South RAPID Heavy Rail Train Line alongside the 405 freeway from the Valley to LAX Terminals T1-7 and Green Line LAX to Long Beach with stops at Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, tunnel under SM mountains, Getty Center Museum, UCLA, Wilshire -transfer to Purple Line, Pico-Transfer to Expo Line, Palms, Culver, Fox Hills Mall, Manchester and LAX Terminals 1,2,3, Tom Bradley International, 4,5,6, and 7 We should take San Francisco’s BART system as an example which offers fast, clean, efficient, and on-time train service to SFO I would also extend the Red Line subway underground train to Bob Hope Burbank Airport rather than ending at North Hollywood terminus a mile or two away Get it together LA!!

  5. Steve and Metro, I would hire a new Planning, Build and design crew dedicated to making LAX’s Ground transport system and options much better and easier for foreigners, tourists, passengers and Metro Customers! I would be more than happy to join the new Metro LAX Planning, Build and design crew team It will be a huge mistake for Metro the MTA if LAX fails to connect the Train directly into LAX Terminals 1-7!! Other major cities such as San Francisco SFO, Portland PDX, Seattle SEA, Chicago ORD, Atlanta ATL, New York JFK, Boston BOS, Tokyo NRT or HND, Shanghai PVG, Hong Kong HKG, Sydney SYD, Singapore SIN, Bangkok BKK, London Heathrow LHR Picadilly Line, and Paris CDG all have direct links to their airport, which is common sense!! If other cities have train service then why can’t we here in LA??