Airport Connector DEIR released

A nice step forward today for an important project: Metro today released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Transit Station.

The station will serve trains on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Green Line, buses, cyclists and pedestrians. The station will, most notably, be the transfer point between Metro Rail and the Automated People Mover that will serve the Los Angeles International Airport terminals. The people mover will be built by Los Angeles World Airports, a city of L.A. agency.

The station will be located on the west side of the intersection of Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street. It will include three street-level train platforms, a bus plaza, bike hub, pedestrian plaza and passenger vehicle pick-up/drop-off area. Elevated walkways will help tie everything together, as would a “Metro Hub,” that could include restrooms, retail, office space for Metro, public art and other amenities for riders and travelers.

The release of the document begins a 45-day public comment period. A public hearing is set for Wednesday, July 13, from 6-8 p.m. at the Flight Path Learning Center, 6661 West Imperial Highway, in Los Angeles. The facility is served by Beach City Transit Line 109 with connections at the Metro Green Line Aviation/LAX Station and LAX Transit Center. Free parking is available on site.

Metro encourages public input on the DEIR. Comments can be submitted at the upcoming public hearing or in writing by 5 p.m. on August 6, 2016. Written comments can be mailed to Meghna Khanna, Deputy Project Manager, One Gateway Plaza, Mail Stop 99-22-34, Los Angeles, CA. 90012 or via email at Comments may also be submitted via the online comment form at, using the Twitter handle or the Airport Metro Connector Facebook page at

One other note: the station would receive about $347 million from Metro’s potential ballot measure (if it is placed on the ballot and approved by voters), in addition to $234 million from other sources (including Measure R), with a projected completion date of 2021-23. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is currently under construction and has a target opening date of 2019. Some Green Line trains will use the new tracks to access two stations: Aviation/Century Station and the Airport Metro Connector 96th Street station described above.

22 replies

  1. I’ve said this before on the topic of a direct rail link to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Any rail connection to the airport is better than none. I do agree that LAWA should have had its connection to Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line to Aviation/Century Station instead of building it to 96th Street, a few blocks north of the Metro station that’s under construction, and forcing Metro to build an infill station there. But this is the price all Angelenos are paying for not having rail going to LAX when the opportunity was there in the early 1990s.

    Having said that, at least there WILL be a real transit connection going to LAX and that it will be happening soon, perhaps in time for the 2024 Olympics.

  2. The more I look at the design of the whole LAX Access project, the more convinced I am that human factors and customer convenience were given short-shrift. Everything seems to be pointed towards minimum cost, especially the AMP, with only secondary consideration given to customer convenience and satisfaction. The walking distances should be minimized to the maximum extent possible. Instead, I don’t think the designers could have come up with a worse plan if their design objectives were to maximize walking.

    Everything I see entails walking, walking, and more walking. In particular, the APM station is not directly above the LRT station. There is absolutely no excuse for this.. Within the CTA, the pedestrian bridges are not immediately below the APM stations but off to the side. This is apparently necessary to avoid the parking structures. Again the patron comes in a poor second to the automobile.. The stations should be located BETWEEN the parking structures and not adjacent to them.

    Then once the traveler reaches the side where the terminals are located, even more walks are required to get to the particular terminal where still another long walk is required to get to the gates. At the very minimum, there should be a separate pedestrian bridge for each terminal.

    In all, this current design is, to put it mildly, unsatisfactory and, perhaps, self defeating as passengers may instead prefer the convenience of direct service to and from their terminal provided by buses and vans. If buses and vans are prohibited, then Uber and Lyft will take care of the problem.

    I sincerely believe that Metro and LAWA should give this project a second look – one that considers customer convenience and not just capital cost as it appears now.. In particular, the study should consider the impact on passengers with lots of luggage and/or small children, those transferring between domestic and and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, and especially those with limited or impaired mobility. For the latter, you will probably have to provide carts along each and every walkway to satisfy ADA requirements.

    To paraphrase an expression I learned working as an Aerospace Engineer “Don’t Make Vast Plans with Half Vast Ideas.”

    Frank Mastroly

  3. The station at Century and Aviation was originally designed to serve the hotels along Century Blvd. This was in the design for the Crenshaw Line submitted to FTA for New Starts funding. Apparently Metro is concerned that they would lose the FTA funding if they changed the design of the project.

  4. A much easier one seat ride is to connect the Blue Line and the Green Line at Imperial Station. There is already a service track that was used originally to provide Blue Line cars to the Green Line before it’s cars were delivered.

    • The problem with the existing connection is that it is the southeast quadrant at the Rosa Parks Station and is only a single track. Thus several backup and cross over maneuvers would be required, a very inefficient process, to say the least.

      A better solution would be a double track transition in the northwest quadrant allowing Blue Line trains from LA to connect directly with the Green Line to LAX. There is a double-ended pocket track in the Green Line at this point, and so there may be room for a junction without widening the 105 freeway median. However, there would still be the need for either a tunnel or flyover connection between the two LRT lines, not an inexpensive project.

      That is why I propose an elevated Blue Line branch above the BNSF Harbor Subdivision at Slauson which then connects with the Crenshaw Line. The Blue Line is already elevated at this point and thus only a flat junction would be required. It would also allow the Blue Line to serve additional communities and not just Long Beach and LAX.

      Finally, I also feel that there should be special Blue Line express service to LAX using reconfigured equipment with more comfortable seats (maybe 2-1 instead of 2-2) and with more room for luggage carts. Perhaps Metro can then build some overtake tracks to permit these expresses to bypass local Blue Line trains stopped at stations. Caltrain in San Francisco did this to allow their Baby Bullets to overtake and pass locals (see ).

      At one time a DMU service was envisioned from LAUPT to LAX using the BNSF (then Santa Fe) Harbor Subdivision. This may still be a viable option, especially since now the BNSF has recently deactivated much of the line because of the completion of the Alameda Corridor. Nothing should be off the table.

      All these things cost money, but our first objective should be trying to maximize airline travelers’ convenience and minimize transfers. So far I have not seen any concrete plans that accomplish this. Instead, it appears that FlyAway coaches and SuperShuttle, etc., vans will continue to be the conveyance of choice for most passengers. If this happens, it would defeat the very reason the LAX states for building its Automated People Mover, namely to reduce vehicular traffic in the Central Terminal Area.

  5. The APM should loop through the terminals. Even DFW managed it better than this.

    • The DFW APM is routed INSIDE security and wraps around each terminal ABOVE the gates, thus minimizing walking. However, only people who have already cleared TSA Security can use the APM. The big plus is that it facilitates inter-terminal transfers. DFW also has a bus shuttle outside security serving each terminal..

      On the other hand, the proposed LAX APM makes inter-terminal transfers very difficult, especially for those who have to transfer between terminals on opposite sides of the CTA or to and from the Ton Bradley International Terminal.. Unlike the system at DFW, the LAX APM as currently designed requires passengers who need to transfer between terminals to go through TSA Security a second time.

      For those interested, there is a YouTube “Railfan Front Window” ride on the DFW APM at . It really shows all the twists and turns this APM goes trough to serve each terminal. In particular, it shows how the DFW APM is routed just above the gates, as you will see the tails of aircraft out the window..

  6. In looking over both your DEIR and the LAWA APM proposal, the project slogan should be WALK, WALK, WALK, and then WALK, WALK, and WALK some more.

    In reading the comments in Appendix A in your DEIR, I see that many others feel the same as I do. Both your station and the APM require far too much walking to be of much those travelers with baggage and/or small children, not to mention those with impaired mobility. A clean sheet design is in order, especially for the APM. My suspicion is that the system as currently envisioned will be of value only to the airport employees. Local passenger may just stick with SuperShuttle or FlyAway coaches…

    I realize that LAWA screwed up when building LAX by having a two-level roadway connecting the terminals and leaving no room for a rail transport system. What LAWA should do is completely rebuild the roadways and redesign the APM so that it can serve each terminal as is the case at SFO, JFK, and most other major airports.

    And God help those passengers who have to transfer between terminals, such as to and from the Tom Bradley International Terminal. JFK and SFO have inner loop trains that facilitate inter-terminal transfers. Just envision the super long walks this would require..

    As the APM is currently designed, it is apparently at a higher elevation than the upper roadway so that the very long pedestrian bridges cross over the upper roadway. Thus three-level transfer facilities will already be required at each terminal irrespective of the APM design. Thus it appears that the APM can, and should, be constructed above and parallel to the upper roadway.and the concept of pedestrian bridges scrapped.

    In addition, I realize that a cross platform transfer between your LRT station and the APM is impractical. However, APM. should be rerouted to be parallel to your LRT station so that easy elevator transfers can be made without the ridiculously long walks currently envisioned. At the VERY MINIMUM, the APM station MUST BE DIRECTLY ABOVE your LRT station and not way off to the is currently envisioned.

    Finally, there should be a one-seat ride between LAUPT and downtown downtown LA and your 96th Street Station.. As things stand now, it will take a two-seat ride (Blue-Green) or a three-seat ride (Blue-Expo-Crenshaw, with transfers at different levels, especially at the three-level Expo-Crenshaw station.. How many out-of-town travelers not familiar with LA will be able to comprehend this? What Metro should consider is a Blue Line elevated branch above the BNSF Harbor Subdivision and connect it to Crenshaw Line. There may even be room on the Blue Line ROW for a third track to allow for express airport service.

    Frank Mastroly

  7. “with a projected completion date of 2021-23.” will the construction of the project begin in 2021 with an estimated completion year of 2023?

    • No three year range of completion date. See the project list, which gives three-year ranges.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. What will be the point of having a station at Century and Aviation, with this station only about two blocks away? It will be weird having trains make two stops so close together. Shouldn’t Metro consider dropping the Century/Aviation station?

    • I agree. Stations that close together might even warrant just merging the two stations into one giant station together with two exits. It’s also awfully ridiculous that you can literally see the next station stop over and it costs $1.75 to get there while it also costs $1.75 to go from LAX all the way to Torrance.

      • If this were happening the opposition would say it were an awful waste and that the materials to fill the space could have been used to build a station somewhere else. While in reality, this is the best possible option given the location in my opinion.

    • Too late! Metro has already shafted the taxpayers, er, designed and then contracted to build the poorly located Century/Aviation station.

      IMO another station is not needed. The connector should be routed south to cross Aviation in line with 96th Street, then extend the Century station platform north to there; a covered moving walkway is needed, of course.

      Fill out those comment forms!

    • I thought the same thing looking at these plans. It makes no sense to have two stations so close together. It will just slow down the trains because people don’t want to walk a couple of blocks.

  9. sounds a little ass backwards. Plan on tying in two light rail lines at a station that has not even had it’s EIR approved. Sounds like the last boondoggle where the Green Line was supposed to go into the airport but never did.