Over the past several months, Metro staff and the Metro Board have been considering an operations plan for the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line that would go in effect after the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens, which is forecast for mid-2020.
As part of the Crenshaw/LAX Line project, the tracks were joined in a three-way junction with the Green Line just west of the Green Line’s Aviation/LAX Station — see the pic at right. The junction will allow trains to move between the two lines, meaning Metro needs to develop an operating plan for both lines.
Metro staff looked at a wide variety of options for routing trains and narrowed them down to two:
•Plan C-1 in which one set of trains would run between Norwalk and the new Expo/Crenshaw Station being built as part of the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Another set of trains would run between Redondo Beach and the new Aviation/Century station, which would be the transfer point between the two lines.
Metro staff recommend this option, saying it would best serve current and future ridership patterns, allow for direct service to LAX from all three directions (Redondo, Norwalk and Expo/Crenshaw) and allow for direct special event service to the new Downtown Inglewood Station for games/events at the new NFL Stadium and adjacent entertainment district.
The C-1 Plan, however, would require a transfer at the new Aviation/Century Station for those riding between the four westernmost stations on the Green Line and the rest of the existing Green Line. The transfer would add about seven minutes to rides.
Two items worth nothing: The Green Line will eventually be extended to Torrance as part of a Measure R- and M-funded project. Also, trains would eventually run between Redondo Beach and the new Airport Metro Connector station to be built at Aviation and 96th Street — where riders will be able to transfer to the future LAX people mover.
•Plan C-3 in which one set of trains would run between Redondo Beach and Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station. Another set of trains would run between Norwalk Station and the new Expo/Crenshaw Station.
A motion — see below — signed by six members of the Metro Board back trying the C-3 plan for one year after the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens, citing the need to preserve direct rides between Redondo Beach Station and the eastern side of the Green Line. The motion was approved by a 3 to 2 vote in the Board’s Operations, Safety and Customer Experience Committee earlier this month. The motion requires seven votes to pass the full Board.
The presentation at the top of this post explains many of the issues involved. One that was fleshed out more at Committee that I think bears repeating: due to the age and limitations of the Green Line traction power system that delivers electricity to trains, in plan C-3 Metro would only be able to operate two-car trains on both lines.
Bottom line: if Metro wanted to run service every six minutes on both lines, then trains along the new Crenshaw/LAX Line would be limited to two cars. Even though the project was built to accommodate three-car trains. Staff point out that two-car trains could lead to more crowding, which is less than ideal for a new rail line.
The Metro Board meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6. As usual, it will be livestreamed. It’s also worth mentioning that the L.A. Times recently published a good story about the plan.
What do you think, readers?