Art of Transit: A trio of pics of Crenshaw/LAX Line edition, which is scheduled to open next year. I took these pics just before landing at LAX on Tuesday — and, as it happens, LAX will be our main subject today. Keep on scrollin’.
In the news…
•The travel advice publisher Fodors calls Bob Hope Airport in Burbank the best airport in the U.S. because it’s small and convenient. And the worst airport on the planet according to Forbes? LAX. Why? Take a guess. Excerpt:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the fourth busiest airport in the world—87.5 million people flew through it in 2018—but for the poor souls who aren’t merely killing time in a layover, those who woefully call this their point of dis- or embarkation, they are forced to endure the purgatorial nightmare of traffic that leads to and from each of LAX’s nine terminals (as many terminals as Dante’s hell has circles).
Thanks to the improbably stupid design of its catastrophic horseshoe motor-loop, it regularly requires 30 minutes to travel the short mile from the outskirts of the airport to most of its terminals. And because Los Angeles was built as a city beholden to the automobile, there is no other way to arrive or depart from this maddening complex of suffering but through the interminable traffic.
Fodors correctly notes that LAX is construting a people mover that will link to the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line rail station at Aviation and 96th Street that Metro is building. Both the people mover — which will also link to a new LAX ground transportation center — and the rail lines will provide alternatives to driving into the horseshoe.
Some topics that Fodors doesn’t address but I wish they did:
–One big reason LAX is so busy is that other airports in our region are small and have short runways (both Bob Hope and John Wayne) that can only accommodate smaller jets. San Diego’s airport, like John Wayne, only has a single runway. The San Diego region has never gotten around to building a modern airport, meaning in effect they’re relying on our region to pay for some of their airport needs. Ontario and Long Beach are both under-utilized and commercial service to Palmdale ceased in 2008. Translation: the 18 million souls who live in Southern California have to lean heavily on LAX.
–Another big reason that LAX gets hammered: the airlines choose to fly mostly to LAX. And fares can be cheaper to and from LAX, something I encounter often when I’d rather fly to/from Bob Hope, which is much closer to my crib.
–Fodors notes that our region’s traffic is “interminable” but let’s be clear it’s a vicious circle with traffic to/from LAX contributing to our regional traffic woes. Look at the numbers below — in April more than 52,000 private vehicles entered LAX each day (an improvement over 2018). The Dodger Stadium parking lot has about 15,000 spaces, meaning LAX is kind of like a sold out Dodger Stadium filling up and emptying more than three times each day.
All that said, I’ll also say this: LAX currently has plenty of options for getting there via private shuttles and the Flyaway. But people continue to drive to LAX in droves and there’s nothing really to discourage them besides distance and traffic. Would a fee to drive into the place discourage people? I dunno. People, me included, like rides to the airport.
I’ll also add this: LAX clearly wasn’t built for this level of traffic and it’s sort of a miracle that motorists can often get in and out of the place in a decent amount of time.
•A group of San Marino residents wants the city to reject $32 million in Metro funding for road projects intended to help mitigate traffic on surface streets created by the gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
•The Pasadena City Council approved installing traffic signal priority equipment for city buses along key corridors in the city — similar to equipment used by Metro and Foothill Transit in Pas, reports the SGV Tribune. Attentive Source readers know that speeding us buses is a big provision in Metro’s Vision 2028 Plan.
Categories: Transportation Headlines