Metro Board to consider moving study ahead for transit connection to LAX

The Metro Board of Directors on Thursday are scheduled to consider moving a key Measure R project — a connection to LAX — into the draft environmental study phase.

Metro staff earlier this year finished the project’s Alternatives Analysis and held public workshops this spring to explain the project alternatives being considered. Staff are proposing that the four alternatives on the following slides in the draft study based on the analysis and consultation with Los Angeles World Airports.

A trio of other notes:

•Metro staff have proposed renaming the project the “Airport Metro Connector” instead of the current “Green Line to LAX.” The reason: the project, as the slides show, could take different forms and could serve passengers from both the Metro Green Line and the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

•Measure R sets aside $200 million in sales tax revenues for the project, meaning that extra funding would need to be secured to build some of the alternatives below. Under the Measure R funding plan, the project would be completed in 2028 but it could be done earlier if funds are identified to accelerate the construction of Measure R transit projects and if funding from other sources can be identified and committed.

•Los Angeles World Airports is studying a pair of transportation projects — both involving people movers — in its Master Plan, and is re-examining them and some other projects in a study to update the Master Plan. It should be noted that the airport’s and Metro’s environmental studies are coordinating with one another and efforts could be combined in the future.

Here are the four alternatives that Metro staff are recommending to move forward:

A Power Point presentation on the Alternatives Analysis findings is posted after the jump and a pdf copy can be downloaded. Here is the Metro staff report to the Board and here is an earlier Source post on the community workshops held in March.

Metro Connector to LAX Alt Analysis


18 replies

  1. I agree; there’s no need for a circulator; it’s over kill. Once a circulator is built, it is locked into that without any room for LAX expansion plans. We DON’T want to build something using millions of dollars in taxes, only to be in use for five years, then knocked down to spend millions of dollars more to rebuild it in accordance to LAX plans. If that’s the case, it’s better to leave “door stop to the terminal” service with cars, taxis, and buses. OTOH, rail to LAX should be a trunk with one or two stops which allows flexibility for any future LAX plans.

  2. Y Fukuzawa: That’s an absolutely correct point! The route going around the terminals as they are now (whether as a LRT or APM) is totally locked in to what the airport configuration is now.

    This is another reason I would prefer a single airport transit stop, underground on a through-line trunk. I do think its important that this stop is actually AT THE AIRPORT (and not on Aviation Blvd), even if it doesn’t reach every individual terminal. Once at the airport, intra-airport transit can be planned with regards to future airport plans and routed as such. The APM could even be extended if needed in the future.

    (What is the Blue Line mistake you’re mentioning?)

  3. Let’s not make the same mistake as the Blue Line.

    Future extensions and future plans for the LAX surroundings are the key here. The circulator plan for LAX is only based upon the existing LAX terminal setup.

    LAWA has their own set of plans to modernize LAX which involves combining Terminals 1-3 as one “North Terminal,” TBIT extensions to TBIT West and Satellite Concourse, and Terminals 4-7 as one big “South Terminal.”

    Building a circulator setup without considering the future layout plans of LAX is a big waste of taxes; we’re just going to build it only to knock it down to replace it again. You want it done right, don’t just look at LAX as it is structured today, but build it with future LAWA plans in mind.

  4. What we really need, outside of direct trains and buses to the airports, is more 24-hour service so I don’t have to be so dependent on my car just as I have been in L.A. for the past 17 years! Not to mention how much it will cut down on drunk-driving is party-goers know they don’t have to rely on their cars to get home at 2 or 3 AM!

  5. And as the “Express Lanes” are about to prove, that “Busway” will eventually be opened up to solo drivers willing to pay a fee.

  6. It was idotic to built a LRT(Greenline ) to no where This line should go direct to the airport
    NY JFK one have to take a shuttle now a airtain$5 to connect to subway.Chicago 2 airports have direct services .LA and NY have no direct service

  7. BRT is by far the worst option on the table and should be thrown out. Why would we want something that will just sit in the same traffic mess that the current shuttle buses in the terminal loop do? How is that supposed to attract ridership and qualify as part of a world class airport? Barring that, IMO the best of the 3 good options (non-traffic, smooth ride) would be the people mover option so that automated frequencies of no less than every couple minutes would be possible. If not that option, then I would say the direct LRT branch would be the next preferred mode. The problem with the modified LRT trunk is that it eliminates the possibility for terminal to terminal connections within the airport.

  8. Busway == waste of money. The other options, well, I can see something to be said for all of them. An APM with access to a consolidated rental car center would probably be best, but it doesn’t seem to be proposed.

  9. I’m trying to get my head around the concept that option 1 (rail loop) is cheaper than option 2 (people mover). Aren’t people-movers lighter and smaller? I sort of assumed that they came as a prefab kit.

  10. There’s no reason why the APM circulator shouldn’t stop more often, and also serve all of the rental car companies at a consolidated rental car center, similar to many other airports. Getting rid of all the rental car shuttles would greatly improve circulation at LAX.

  11. Dana, that is to account for the fact that the bus will run in normal traffic within the terminal area. When the loop is full of traffic, the bus will be sitting in that. It only has its own, elevated right of way outside of the terminal area (the thick red line on the diagram).

  12. “The BRT option they plan to study will get the busses out of traffic once it leaves the terminal and into its own right of way”. Then Steve, why does the PowerPoint warn of severe congestion impacting the BRT (5-10 minutes!)?

    The modified LRT trunk forces everyone to divert under LAX, when most of the passengers are going elsewhere. Won’t that depress ridership? Plus how appealing is it for air travellers (and airport employees) to face being dumped at a single stop in the middle of the horseshoe, far from any terminal? Direct LRT looks similarly unappealing.

    Why does APM (People Mover) only have three stops in the airport? AFAIK having a stops between the domestic terminals plus one at Bradley international is just the sort of thing it is designed for. Yeah travel time will be a bit but the convenience will make it more appealing. After a 20+ year wait we should have something great not a cheap out to gratify the tightwad LAWA technocrats (BRT) or rushed half-measure to fulfill some political agenda (modified LRT). I bet some of the ridership projections of the dubious alternatives will shrink when the short of problems I cite force Metro to concede the initial numbers didn’t account for the full range of factors that impact the actual potential use.

    And of course the big mystery factor is how cooperative (or not) LAWA will be.

  13. The information above was interesting; I favor the LRT Branch concept. It has two or three stations in the airport instead of one. Also, I think more people would benefit from the green and crenshaw lines going directly in to the airport area, without having to transfer to a shuttle like is currently happening. If the MTA wants to build a system in to the airport, try to make it as easy as possible for riders.

  14. Erik, the difference is that the BRT option would include an elevated busway once you exit the terminal. The current setup is not rapid in any way, it’s just a bus shuttle. The BRT option they plan to study will get the busses out of traffic once it leaves the terminal and into its own right of way.

  15. Good to see this project moving forward, and I think they selected the right set of alternates to study.

    In my opinion, the direct LRT branch should include the northern curve where it connects to the Crenshaw Line (shown dotted). This way, both the Green and the Crenshaw lines can theoretically include the airport. This would become even more important if the Sepulveda pass line is built as light rail and ever continued down towards the airport (where it could meet up with the tracks here). That’s one of the major strengths of the Trunk route and I think it can apply to the Branch as well.

  16. Isn’t the current set-up (G shuttle) a form of BRT as it is practiced in North America? So shouldn’t the 4th alternative be considered a no-build one?