Measure M: the Airport Metro Connector


One in a series of posts that will look at projects and programs that would receive funding from the Measure M sales tax ballot measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

What is it? A new station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street to be served by both the future Crenshaw/LAX Line and an extension of the existing Metro Green Line. This new station will also provide transit passengers with a direct connection to the LAX airport people mover which will take passengers to the airport terminals. The Airport Metro Connector won’t be a traditional at-grade train station. Rather, the multimodal transportation hub is envisioned to include a number of amenities, including larger rail platforms to accommodate passengers with luggage, a bus plaza, pick-up and drop-off area for private vehicles, real time transit information, retail, wi-fi service, public art, a bike hub and a pedestrian plaza.

When can I use the station? Metro has a target completion date of 2024. The Crenshaw/LAX Line has a 2019 target opening date.

What about the people mover? Los Angeles World Airports is planning on building and operating the people mover, which will include three stations near airport terminals, two stations at new ground transportation centers, including the Airport Metro Connector station, and a sixth station at a new planned consolidated rental car center near the 405 freeway. Environmental studies are underway for the people mover and airport officials have said they would like to begin construction in late 2017. The people mover and Airport Metro Connector are viewed as key projects if Los Angeles wins the right to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

How does Measure M figure into this project? The Airport Metro Connector already has some funding and the potential ballot measure would add $337 million, allowing for a more robust facility to be built. Also, the funding would allow the project to be accelerated from its original 2028 completion date under Metro’s existing long-range plan.

Will this project make it easier to get to the airport? Yes. The Airport Metro Connection Station will be directly reachable from trains on the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Green Line. The Crenshaw/LAX Line can also be reached via transfer from the Expo Line and the Green Line via transfer from the Blue Line and Silver Line. Looking into the future, the potential ballot measure also includes funding for a northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the Purple Line subway and beyond to West Hollywood and Hollywood.

An LAX rendering that shows the three people mover stations that will access airport terminals.

An LAX rendering that shows the three people mover stations that will access airport terminals.


Measure M calls for a half-cent sales tax increase and an extension of the existing Measure R sales tax. Please visit for more info and use the hashtag #metroplan when discussing on social media. The Metro Board approved sending the ballot measure to county voters at their June 23 meeting. 

Other posts on Measure M projects 

Purple Line Extension acceleration

High Desert Corridor

Gold Line extension to Claremont

105 freeway ExpressLanes

Light rail between Union Station and Artesia

Green Line extension to Torrance

Bus rapid transit on Vermont Avenue in L.A.


22 replies

  1. By the time all this gets built and decades before it’s paid for, cheap, clean, convenient autonomous taxis providing point to point transit will rule the Southland and the Metro will be obsolete.

  2. I don’t get this. All that Metro rail has to do is make a left and take the same path as the people mover. If they’re concerned about terrorists with bombs, what’s to stop terrorists from using the people mover?

  3. At all – ALL – major airports around the globe (London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, even Oslo), the Metro stations are built BENEATH the airport terminals, with trains that go FAST, without any further transfers, direct to downtown.

    Why can’t LAX be a grown-up airport, like them?

    Why the cumbersome, sloth-like process described above?

    And if you must have something like an ‘automated people carrier’, why can’t we come up with a less of a tongue-twister, one word name – like ‘shuttle’?

    Why do we make things difficult, instead of simple?

  4. Hi Steve – Why is the transit hub outside the airport? I would think reducing the number of transfers would be the planning goal, especially in LA (where the system has gaps to close like the Green Line stopping short of the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs rail station). Thanks.

    • Hi Justin;

      Metro studied all sorts of alternatives, including bringing the Green Line and Crenshaw/LAX Line into/under the airport. There were both financial and operational issues and ultimately both the airport (run by the city of L.A.) and Metro decided on this approach. Here is a blog post from a couple years ago that explains it:

      One thing worth pointing out: it’s not unusual for trains that go into airports to only reach one terminal, meaning riders have to transfer to a people mover or bus to reach other terminals.

      Hope that helps,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Hi Steve –

        Thanks for the prompt reply. I know you don’t make the planning decisions, so please take the following comment with that in mind. IMHO, Metro is making a mistake, a big one, in not further studying putting two Metro stops under the east and west halves of LAX. The cost and ridership projections at the link you provided lack substance and, consequently, are not persuasive. What is persuasive, however, is that alternative C4 (Metro stations under the east and west sides of LAX), which Metro eliminated from further analysis, had the shortest walking time (by roughly 25% over its nearest competitor) and would plainly have the quickest total transit time because they deliver passengers a short walk from their airline. Ultimately, routes that require transfers are a fatal flaw that reduces ridership in the Metro system. Building an off-LAX terminus is a missed opportunity to help solve that problem.

  5. Hi Steve, I understand that metro is not planning a Crenshaw/Wilshire subway stop. However it makes complete sense to have one there, while both lines are under construction, now is the time for action. The Crenshaw line would link the purple and expo lines smartly together. Lemert Park, won a station deemed too close to another station. I guess Hankcock Park area residents are indifferent. It’s very sad our transit is so screwed up.

    • Hi Ron;

      I can pretty much guarantee there won’t be a Wilshire/Crenshaw station on the subway. There was a very long planning process and the Metro Board decided to go with stations at La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega. As for a northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, other than a very early study done seven years ago, the formal planning process has not begun. There’s nothing in stone saying a northern extension has to continue all the way up Crenshaw.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • So how will Metro encourage people to drop people off further away and actually use the facility they are building? I’m confused by the lack of coordination here.

  6. Will private vehicles still be allowed to enter the horseshoe for free? If so, why would anyone drop someone off further away? This seems like Metro/lawa are really ignoring this important component.

    • Hi Madeline;

      I don’t know. Los Angeles World Airports controls what happens at the airport.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. I imagine a lot of budget conscious tourists will be taking the Airport Connector to Crenshaw Line to Expo (Santa Monica). Fewer transfers than JFK to Midtown East in NY which makes it all the more worth it. It’s too bad we’ve still got a while to go waiting for it to open.

  8. I see that there is a proposal for green line tracks along the Crenshaw line.. I thought the two lines would share the Crenshaw line rail from a spur from the Green Line to the Crenshaw line. When is metro looking to extend the Green and Crenshaw lines further south to Ports O’ Call?

  9. If the Crenshaw Line is extended northward to the Purple Line, would Metro have to build a new station at Crenshaw and wilshire? Shouldn’t it be done now while the Purple line is under construction? And, if the extended follows the current plan of running north/west on San Vicente will there be a subway station entrance for the intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente?

    • Hi Warren;

      Good question — but there is no Wilshire/Crenshaw Station on the Purple Line. During the environmental studies, it was determined that a station at Crenshaw was too close to Wilshire/Western. I’ll ask the subway team about the bigger issue, though.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Well if they are not building a purple line stop at Wilshire and Crenshaw, then I’m drunk because every week when my 720 bus stops there it sure as heck looks like they are building a purple line stop at Wilshire and Crenshaw!

        Surface rail to WeHo along San vicente is a pretty silly idea it seems to be because it would mean having surface rail down Wilshire from Crenshaw to get to San Vicente, something they have not wanted to do at all and which would really screw up traffic on Wilshire.

        Why LA hasn’t opted for Monorail is beyond me; it would bring is so much money from added tourism. We’d be the Futurist city with the Monorail! all over again.

    • The stations on PLE are being built not to preclude future connections for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Of course we don’t know yet if a future Crenshaw extension would be underground or street level at Wilshire. One thing to chew on: if a northern extension uses San Vicente Boulevard at street level — as some have speculated — Wilshire/San Vicente is very close to the entrance of the Wilshire/La Cienega Station for the PLE.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. “Rather, the multimodal transportation hub is envisioned to include a number of amenities …”
    A great example of why it takes so long with too much taxpayer $$$ to build anything practical in a reasonable timeline. LAWA in particular has been fumbling around forever to come up with a firm plan.
    Besides a bigger light rail platform, we don’t need the full list of, ahem, amenities.
    – The existing 96th bus terminal / interchange should be expanded; keep buses away from Aviation Bl. and closer to Sepulveda.
    – Rail station. No problem, let bumbling LAWA pick up most of the tab to replace the redundant Century Bl. station.
    – Retail, wth? Plan ahead before leaving home. No loitering, keep moving. TSA will have a word with you about this ….
    – Kiss and ride? Build a loop opposite the RAC facility or more strongly encourage public transit.
    – Bike hub, wth? Please leave it at home. Keep any lockers / bomb storage units away from the crowds. Another word coming from TSA …..
    This should Not end up being another bloated architectural statement / TOD project!

  11. Can you tell me what the current status of the 710 project is? I know an EIR was done to study the preferred build. However since then I haven’t heard anything. Will this ballot measure add any money to that plan? And what if a nothing happens to that plan then what happens to the $750 million allocated from Measure R?

  12. The Airport Metro Connector will not even begin to reach its full potential until there is a direct light rail connection to the Metro Purple Line. As currently planned this will not happen until 2055.

    Considering the magnitude of the investment by Metro and Los Angeles World Airports in the Airport Metro Connector, the Crenshaw Line should be extended northward to the Purple Line as quickly as possible, and within the 15 year period of the long-range plan. Airport travelers place a premium on speed and convenience.

    Unless and until the Crenshaw line is extended northward to link up to the Purple Line, transit users will have to transfer to the grade-level Expo Line and then travel Downtown before transferring again to the Purple and Red lines.

    LAX will only have the world-class transit connection it deserves when the Crenshaw line goes directly from the Airport Metro Connector to the fast, frequent and high-capacity heavy-rail Purple Line.