Transportation headlines, Friday, May 9

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LAX takes steps to alleviate traffic in what could be a record-setting year (Los Angeles Newspaper Group) 

The airport is on track to break its record of 67.3 million passengers in a year, set in 2000. The article looks at discussions by the Board of Airport Commissioners earlier this week on numerous future improvements that are being studied, including the automated people mover and a consolidated rental car facility that would be a mile east of the airport. The people mover would also stop at a transit hub where passengers could be picked up and dropped off — and would also connect to Metro light rail (precisely where is under study as part of the Airport Metro Connector project). The hub would reduce the number of private vehicles entering the Central Terminal Area horseshoe while the rental car facility would eliminate the need for the bus shuttles chronically circling the airport.

As reporter Brian Sumers notes, there are still environmental reviews to be done and it could be years before construction begins on anything. If you don’t feel like fighting traffic to the airport, I strongly recommend trying the LAX Flyaway bus that runs from four locations — Union Station, the Expo Line’s La Brea station, Westwood and Van Nuys — to the LAX terminals for one-way fares between $8 and $10.

Beverly Hill Unified’s legal fight against Metro against Purple Line paid for with school construction bonds (L.A. Register)

The school district has spent between $3.1 million and $4.1 million in its lawsuits against Metro and the Federal Transit Administration challenging the environmental documents and route for the Purple Line Extension project, which will go under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus. District officials say it was necessary to spend the money from Measure E bond school improvement program to preserve the ability to build underground on the campus, whereas Metro has said that the subway tunnels won’t be in the way of any planned structures.

Beverly Hills Councilman Willie Brien says it’s time to drop the fight against the subway route and focus on mitigations and protections for the campus. A Superior Court judge in March ruled in favor of Metro in the BHUSD and city of Beverly Hills’ state lawsuit against Metro. A lawsuit by both the district and city against the Federal Transit Administration is pending.

Next section of high-speed rail route approved while state waits for bond sale appeal (Associated Press) 

The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve the 20,000-page environmental document detailing the route and mitigations for 114 miles of track between Fresno and Bakersfield. The Board had previously selected the route for a much shorter stretch between Fresno and Madera. Excerpt:

The environmental document includes plans to address air quality during construction, add green space to compensate for damaged habitat and prevent the spread of the highly contagious fungal disease known as Valley fever. The complex review is required to comply with state and federal environmental laws and has been in the works since 2011.

Disturbing native soils is thought to be one way to spread the fungus that causes Valley fever, thus the reason it was studied. The route approval is a big step for the project, although the sale of state bonds to fund construction is on hold due to a lawsuit challenging whether the project as approved matches promises made to voters in 2008.

The Authority still must approve the environmental studies that outline how the train would travel between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. The route under study would involve tunneling under Tehachapi Pass and then would roughly follow the tracks that parallel the 14 freeway through the Antelope Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains before reaching the San Fernando Valley.

1 reply

  1. What Metro and LAWA frequently fails to mention is how much it’s going to cost taxpayers for the massive eminent domain that will have to be done in that Manchester Square area where they plan to build the LAX transit hub.

    Doesn’t take too much for anyone too view Google Maps to see that there are hotels, fast food joints, gas stations, school, apartment complexes and homes in that area bordered by Century, Aviation, Arbor Vitae and La Cienega.