Motion seeks to restore two Airport Metro Connector alternatives that would bring light rail into LAX terminal area

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We posted earlier about a new Metro staff report that narrows down the alternatives to be further studied for the Airport Metro Connector. Specifically, the report proposes eliminating alternatives that would build light rail directly to the LAX terminals in favor of four alternatives that would connect the Crenshaw/LAX and/or Green Line to a people mover east of the terminals.

However, in the Metro Board’s Construction Committee this morning, a motion from Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe seeks to restore two of those alternatives, shown above, for further analysis as part of a draft environmental study.

The five members of the Construction Committee moved the motion to the full Board of Directors without recommendation. The full Board will likely take up the issue at their meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23. Board Member Pam O’Connor objected to the motion, saying it was time to eliminate the above alternatives because of their expense and complexity and the difficulty in accessing all the terminals from rail stations.

In remarks, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said the region deserves a world-class transit system and that it was too early in the Airport Metro Connector to eliminate options that would bring rail directly into the terminal area. Metro staff said there are several issues with those options, including a cost of $3 billion or more, a complex tangle of utilities under the terminals and runway areas and concerns from LAX about tunneling under critical facilities.

Here is the motion:

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30 thoughts on “Motion seeks to restore two Airport Metro Connector alternatives that would bring light rail into LAX terminal area

  1. I’m definitely pleased to see these terminal-stop plans back in play. I’ve used public transit from YVR, JFK, and NRT and my preference is hands-down the YVR method of picking up the Skytrain right outside the terminal. Not only is it convenient but it confronts passengers with the choice and viability of using transit before they even get out of the terminal and it steals many journeys from taxis this way.

    JFK’s Airtrain system is silly and it makes getting into Manhattan that much more of a pain. The poor service of the Airtrain is the reason why there are city-mandated standard taxi fares between Manhattan and JFK, because transit between JFK and Manhattan is not seen as a realistic option for many. It takes twice as long to use transit to get from JFK to Manhattan as it does to get from NRT to Tokyo which is twice as far.

    NRT isn’t really comparable since there are two major and competing express train lines that service the airport as well as local trains on the Keisei, Keikyu, or JR Sobu lines providing direct service. I’ve used both the Keisei Skyliner and the JR Narita Express and they will still take you directly to somewhere you’d actually want to go (i.e. Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro stations, etc.) without connections. I’ve also driven from Tokyo to Narita Airport and it’s a shlep compared to JFK or LAX. I’ve never flown into HND (few, if any, direct flights from LAX) so I can’t speak to the experience on the monorail, but the fact that two lines serve the airport directly is still better than a people mover like the dreadful JFK Airtrain to connect one line.

  2. Dana: I am happy, too. But too many cooks spoil the broth. We could have a world-class system, now we are facing only a sad compromise that will serve no one well. I see the LA World Airports as the culprit here. My sole opinion. Tunnel is the only option for us and our children.

  3. Dana,

    Los Angeles is the home to the largest Korean-American population in the US. Both Korean Air and Asiana Airlines are not going to ditch such a lucrative market.

    We also have the largest Chinese-American population in the US. Cathay Pacific, Air China, China Airlines, China Eastern, and China Southern are not going to ditch LA from their radar.

    We also are the home to the largest Japanese-American population in the US as well as Japanese corporations in the South Bay. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines are not going to ditch LA either.

    Los Angeles is the home to one of the nation’s largest Hispanic American population in the US. Ditto the above for Aeromexico, LAN Peru and LAN Chile. Mexicana fly many routes from LAX before they declared bankruptcy.

    Same for British Airways, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Air Canada, WestJet, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Philippine Airlines, El Al, Air France and KLM.

    These major international airlines are not going to ditch LAX. In a way, it’s magnificent that LA has all these international airlines coming into our city. It means everyone wants in at LAX and everybody in the world wants to come and live in Los Angeles.

    It’s a hub for all the major international airlines. And if these airlines all want to be at LAX, their domestic airline codeshare and alliance partners will stay at LAX. That means American-US Airways, Delta, and United are not going to go away either.

    If we decide to build a rail to LAX, these airlines aren’t going to go away. So long as we have a diverse minority population residing here in LA, these airlines and their US domestic partners will keep flying to LAX.

  4. Why are we wasting money on this? LAX works fine without a rail system today, why do we need it?

  5. Dana has this issue pegged just about right. With the Feds and airlines either lukewarm or hostile to the the proposals that Metro and LAX have suggested (and costs for a subway will be extremely expensive especially for a rail spur), it seems that a people mover is will be the best that can be hoped for.

    Everyone would be much better off if support and focus could coalesce around the People Mover and make IT the best it can be (especially if that is all we will get). I would think a Billion Dollar transportation system would be more popular.

  6. It’ll speculate tbat Gina-Marie Lindsey is afraid that Metro and other Politicians will try to tap the Passenger Facility Charge that is tacked on to every ticket. That was how JFK AirTrain (which uses the same exact Bombardier ALRT technology as Vancouver’s SkyTrain, BTW, albeit ironically not the line that runs to YVR) was funded.

  7. Dana hit the nail on the head. Even in NYC where the subway system (1) runs 24 hours a day & (2) is by far the largest in North America & one of the largest mass transit systems in the world, there was no rail connection to ANY of the airports (JFK, LGA & Newark Liberty) until the start of THIS century. [La Guardia Airport (LGA), the nearest airport to Midtown Manhattan, still has no rail service to this day.] I do feel that any rail connection is better than none, so I’m really hoping that the 4-headed bureaucratic monster (FAA, FTA, Metro & LAWA) can work together to finally bring Angelenos a rail link to LAX that everyone can agree with.

  8. I moved here to LA (live near LAX) 7 years ago, and have eagerly followed LA’s efforts to build a light rail system; now, in retirement, I’ve ridden every mile of rail and lots of buses, enjoying LA. That we have no direct connection to LAX is crazy, embarrassing. I don’t understand why LAX officials seem so reluctant to address this issue. The above alternatives need to remain on the table, and cost be damned, mostly. LA has to resolve this favorably for riders. Bus shuttles and a people-mover are NOT the answer. Claims to be a world-class city require a comfortable rail connection to LAX. Let’s get it done.

  9. Tom: YES! Amen. Every single word. The “people mover” is idiotic and a ploy by LAWA. Maybe they haven”t brain-washed everyone afterall. Train to the Plane!!

  10. Pingback: The Transit Coalition Blog | LAX Peoplemover Options Recommended for Further Study

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