Hello Metro riders and readers. I was on vacation for a couple of days, so I’m catching up. As usual, please bear with me.
The Times neatly and succinctly summarizes the Metro Board’s decision last Thursday to go forward with environmentally clearing an additional station on the Crenshaw/LAX Line that would connect with a people mover to be built by Los Angeles World Airports. Excerpt:
Officials say the new station will speed up airport access and could include check-in counters, flight information boards and currency exchange locations. The board also asked for a review of baggage check facilities at similar airport transportation hubs in other cities to determine whether that service could be added.
In an early Metro concept sketch, the station is depicted as a glass, multi-story building with covered rail platforms and a passenger drop-off area.
The 96th Street station still must go through a final design process, environmental review and cost analysis. Additions such as ticketing areas and concessions would increase the $200-million cost.
Gene Maddeus dives into the Metro staff report and focuses on ridership estimates that show that the majority of LAX passengers in the future will likely travel to and from the airport by car — and that the FlyAway bus may attract significantly more passengers than a light rail-people mover connection. Excerpt:
The station approved Thursday is a much cheaper alternative, which probably won’t have all the bells and whistles that Garcetti had envisioned. Nevertheless, it is a rail connection to LAX, and Garcetti heralded it as a key step in the direction of building a world-class airport.
Assuming that LAX and MTA can continue to cooperate on this, the rail link could open around 2022. That leaves one big unanswered question: Will anybody use it?
As the saying goes, predictions are hard, especially about the future. Nevertheless, MTA has made its best effort to guess how many people will take the train to the airport. The answer:
This is not to say that the train-to-LAX link should not be built. It is to suggest that expectations be kept in check until MTA can plan, fund and build a more comprehensive rail network.
The new Aviation/96th station will likely be most convenient to those using the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line. An extension of the Green Line to the south (a Measure R funded project) and extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the north to a connection with the subway (a project in Metro’s long-range plan but without any current funding) would, of course, significantly increase the reach of both lines.
Supervisor Don Knabe on the Aviation/96th station (Supervisor Don Knabe’s website)
LAX is in Don Knabe’s district and the Supervisor and Metro Board Member sent this note to constituents about last week’s vote — the last graph is key:
For years, I’ve said it’s embarrassing that the second largest city in America with the third busiest airport still does not have a direct transit connection. Major airports across the country, as well as internationally, can be accessed by subway, people mover, or air train, yet traveling to LAX requires a car, or a shuttle ride from the Green Line.
We’ve struggled for decades trying to solve this transportation puzzle, but finally, the MTA Board took a giant leap towards creating a solution last week. On a motion by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and me, the Board voted in favor of constructing a rail station at 96th Street and Aviation Boulevard as part of the new Crenshaw/LAX rail line. This state-of-the-art station will serve as a “front door” for riders, connecting them to the LAX terminals via airport people mover.
Though this is a major milestone in finally linking the airport to our regional transit system, there are still hurdles to clear. Metro must continue working with Los Angeles World Airports and the Board of Airport Commissioners to ensure that a people mover will be constructed. Without their guarantee, we could end up stuck with a state-of-the-art station to nowhere. As the details surrounding the new rail station and a people mover continue to develop, I will be sure to keep you updated.
In order to prevent crime and remind riders that law enforcement is watching, Metro is overhauling the video systems on its buses — including monitors showing riders a real-time video feed. The move was prompted, in part, by the 191 assaults on Metro bus operators between 2010 and 2013. “We have every confidence that this is going to increase safety and discourage those who might be inclined to do otherwise,” L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is quoted in the article. Here is our post from last week announcing the upgrades.
The painful consequences of liking fake subway maps (Los Angeles Review of Books)
Ben Pack ruminates on transit maps, driving and bike riding in the Los Angeles area, culminating in a cycling accident in Hollywood.
Categories: Transportation Headlines