With the Crenshaw/LAX Line getting closer to construction in 2014, I wanted to address a specific issue involving the project: how the Metro Rail system will eventually connect to the terminals at Los Angeles International Airport.
I also wanted to address a related notion floating around in the buzz-o-sphere that the Crenshaw/LAX Line should be delayed and redesigned to travel closer to the airport.
I’ve broken up the post into three sections to make it digestible because, quite frankly, some of it is unavoidably wonky and bureaucratic. I know there are many people interested in the question of running trains all the way to the airport terminals; please see the last section of this post.
The Crenshaw/LAX Line is a light rail project that will run for 8.5 miles between the Expo Line and the Green Line, as the map shows. The project includes an elevated station at the intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards, about 1.3 miles east of Terminal 1 at LAX. The new station is a bit closer to terminals than the Green Line’s Aviation station (at Imperial Highway), which is two miles from Terminal 1.
The Airport Metro Connector is in the planning stages and will connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Green Line to the airport terminals via either a light rail line or an automated people mover (APM) — or a combination of those. Funding will likely come from both Metro and Los Angeles World Airports, the city of L.A. agency that runs LAX. Here are the six alternatives under study (larger versions of each are at the end of this post):
The main issue that everyone needs to understand: The Crenshaw/LAX Line has a station on the western side of Aviation at Century. It is environmentally cleared and set to be built.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles World Airports has recommended building a people mover station on the east side of the intersection of Aviation and 98th. An elevated block-long walkway would connect the light rail station and the people mover, requiring a trip up and down stairs or an elevator trip for those transferring (rendering below).
Los Angeles World Airports has also proposed two other locations where light rail stations could be built for a more direct transfer to the people mover (see below). One is on 98th Street between Sepulveda and Aviation boulevards at the airport’s proposed Intermodal Transportation Facility (known as the ‘ITF’), a hub the airport says that would include buses, light rail and the people mover and include remote check-in and a commercial component. The other possible station location is underground near the entrance to horseshoe road that serves the airport’s terminals.
All three potential light rail station locations have something in common: people using light rail to reach the airport would still have to transfer to a people mover to get to the terminals. Airport officials say that the people mover may include secure vehicles to carry those who have already checked in at the ITF and non-secure vehicles for those who still must check-in at the existing terminal areas.