Transportation headlines, Friday, Dec. 21

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: A nice wintery scene for you on the first day of winter. Guess where this was taken; answer is after the jump. Photo by Kecko, via Flickr creative commons.

ART OF TRANSIT: A nice wintery scene for you on the first day of winter. Guess where this was taken; answer is after the jump. Photo by Kecko, via Flickr creative commons.

With the world possibly ending in about five hours, let’s sneak in one last peek at the headlines!

Light rail to LAX: a questionable proposition? (The Transport Politic)

With all the media and blogs we have in the region, it’s somewhat remarkable that the best analysis of extending transit to LAX comes from a national blogger, the always interesting Yonah Freemark. In this post, he takes a hard look at the three locations that Los Angeles World Airports is proposing for a possible light rail station near the airport and concludes that the likely best solution is for the Crenshaw/LAX Line to have a transfer to the people mover at the Aviation/Century station.

Even then, Freemark isn’t very impressed with the transfer proposed by LAWA; it would require passengers to take an elevator to an overpass that would carry them to the people mover platform on the other side of Aviation Boulevard. That, he suggests should be reworked.

Excerpts from the post:

The fundamental difficulty is that the airport authority — Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) — seems awfully reluctant to allow trains into the main terminal area. While Metro’s spring proposals suggest a light rail loop, an elevated line, or an underground tunnel directly adjacent to the central areas of the nine-terminal complex, the closest LAWA is willing to come is an “on-airport” station at the far eastern edge of the terminals area (see image (1) below). A station there, built as an extension of the Crenshaw Corridor, would be more than a half-mile from the international terminal at the western edge of the complex. Yes, light rail would get customers closer to check in areas, but few would be within comfortable distance walking, particularly with heavy bags… [snip]

If we are to take it as a given that LAWA absolutely must have a people mover and that it is reluctant to allow light rail into the main terminals area, its third proposal (see (3) below) comes across as more appealing. The light rail station at Crenshaw and Aviation, on the main trunk of the Crenshaw Corridor, would provide a bridged transfer to the people mover system, which would then offer a link to all of the airport’s terminals…[snip]

Requiring passengers to transfer to a people mover from the trunk of the light rail line has the added benefit of putting the onus of financing the rail connection in the hands of the (relatively more wealthy) airport authority, rather than Metro. This is perhaps the most important point of all. Though Metro has allocated $200 million to this project, it would need far more than that to complete the branch extensions envisioned in the first or second proposal presented above. But the third proposal, which would build off the already funded Crenshaw Corridor using only the airport-desired people mover, could — and should — be funded by LAWA, perhaps with only a small contribution from Metro. This would allow the transit authority to avoid spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a project that would benefit few passengers and force the airport’s users, the people who would be using the rail-airport connection, to pay for it.

Read the entire post — it’s a very interesting analysis.

More cars on the road make you late, but some cars on the road make you later than others (Atlantic Cities) 

The latest analysis of the mathematics of traffic show that limiting the number of cars coming from some neighborhoods can help reduce key bottlenecks that slow everyone down. The policy implication of the study is that getting people out of cars and into transit should be targeted to certain areas rather than the entire region. Hmmm. Interesting.

The photo was taken in Rheineck, Switzerland!

10 replies

  1. The leapfrogging concept is to figure out a way to do remote checkin and remote security screening from multiple locations around the Southland. My current airport in the East has United “flights” operated by buses which board people here and take passengers 60 miles to inside Newark’s airside secure area. How could that work at LAX? This area doesn’t have many good ideas to export – this is one of them. And pretzels.

  2. Its unbelievable to me that the planing is still going on about this line. LAWA should have had plans to extend the green line into the airport years ago .It must be the parking fees that LAWA doesn’t want to lose.

  3. Steve –

    Thanks for your noting this interesting analysis as well as your participation in the subsequent back and forth. I find it interesting that LAWA, a public agency, is more concerned about its parking revenues than the legitimate needs of both its workers (who would represent a substantial share of any transit line into the airport) and the broader metro LA population. Sounds like a fundamental conflict of interest and abrogation of the public trust to me.

    With respect to the station placement itself, Yonah’s analysis is spot on. The two alternatives proposed by LAWA involving LRT are clearly non-starters that would introduce more complications into the system than they would resolve. The non-LRT alternative is the best of a bad bunch, also with fairly significant shortcomings. For the love of all that is holy, something this important shouldn’t be left solely, or even largely, to LAWA. They have clearly demonstrated that the convenience of the traveling public is not their number one concern. Ideally, some sort of station in the middle of the airport that doesn’t involve a spur would be agreed and funded. With a spur, you will always sub-optimize for the remainder of the line it departs from. Then use moving sidewalks to get travelers to their terminals with as little hassle as possible.

    Since that’s unlikely to happen in our lifetime due to competing interests and limited funding, then by all means Metro must push for a seamless connection from the Crenshaw line to the LA People Mover with as little hassle as possible. No crossing Aviation. No elevator/escalator up and then back down. That’s a half baked solution designed only to foster the continued reliance on the automobile, “coincidentally” supporting LAWA’s parking revenues at the same time.

    For shame.

  4. Any new plan MUST include a station directly into LAX with having the green line that is already ready for a spurt towards LAX. This is the line that ought to go into LAX without further ado. I would also build a rail connection at Rosa Parks allowing green line trains to head directly into Downtown without changing for the Blue line. enough is enough already.

    • Hi Joseph;

      I think the challenge with getting trains all the way into LAX is where to put stations so that passengers don’t have to walk too far to all the different terminals. It seems to me that to accomplish that within the terminal horseshoe there would need to be several stations. And where do they go? Below ground? Above ground? And if above ground how do you deal with the fact there are parking structures in the way? I think the big issue is that if riders have to switch to a people mover at some point, where is that point? Tough one.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Here’s what should be built
        1) have a horseshoe bi-directional people mover that is behind security for passengers changing for another flight(so that they need not to go through security again)
        2) maybe have a horseshoe route outside of security that would serve all 7 terminals for the greenline/crenshaw coridor.

        • Hi Joseph;

          Your idea for a bidirectional people mover is a really good idea given there are so many terminals at the airport and it might take quite some time to (for example) terminal seven if first going to terminal one and so on.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  5. I don’t know why we have this animosity between LAWA and Metro. They’re both government agencies paid for with taxpayer dollars. They need to set aside their differences and get back to what’s best for the taxpayers.

    • Hi LAX Frequent Flyer;

      I don’t think it’s animosity per se. I do think it’s fair to say that historically LAX has had concerns about ongoing parking revenues.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. I was looking at the Crenshaw/LAX proposed line, even with a Aviation/Century Blvd station, it would require an extremely long walk to the terminal. Unless they can plan to have shuttle buses from this station, a station at this corner would be useless for most passengers. A direct rail line to the terminal or at most 10 mins walking distance to the terminal is ideal. If LAWA wants less car traffic and more passengers, they need to give in a little for public transportation.