LAX, A Line: Metro News Now, Nov. 6

A nouthbound A Line train between Vernon and Slauson stations.

Thoughts on Service #1: we’re glad that regular train service between Long Beach and DTLA has been resumed on the A Line — and that six-minute peak hour service has been restored. We also really appreciate everyone’s patience this week as we get back up to speed with revenue service.

Thoughts on Service #2: Work to install electric bus charging equipment at NoHo Station on the Orange Line has been extended to the end of November — meaning the temporary boarding area will continue for a few more weeks. Tweet below is correct.

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As you have surely heard, LAX last week moved all Uber/Lyft/taxi pickups to a lot near Terminal One that is accessible by walking or a new shuttle. To put it lightly, the public has noticed. From LAT transpo reporter Laura Nelson:

Lots of the griping that has ensued about long wait times for shuttles and Ubers and Lyfts. LAX has been making adjustments (the pickup lot gets 50% larger starting today). Overshadowed by The Griping is that LAX data also shows that traffic, in fact, is moving better through the dreaded airport horseshoe with the Ubers/Lyfts/taxis partially gone.

We’ve been gently reminding folks that there are alternatives to getting from/to the airport, most notably the LAX Flyaway bus.

Flyaway fares to the five locations range from $8 to $9.75 one way. I use the Union Station bus occasionally and have found it be reliable and pretty quick — although the bus does get ensnarled in LAX traffic along with everyone else. The challenge for LAX is that the airport serves all of So Cal (more on that below) whereas the Flyaway, as presently configured, only has five routes and runs every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the route.

If I was The King, I’d throw this public policy question out to the people: what if we charged everyone for the right to drive into the LAX horseshoe and plowed the money back into more frequent Flyaway and transit service from many more locations?

Of course, the above sentence reveals why I probably won’t be Your Highness anytime soon.

Here’s the thing: LAX is the primary airport for all of So Cal — including San Diego, which is too cheap to build its own major airport. In 2017, LAX had 42.6 million people departing on planes, according to the FAA. In 2017, there were 26.1 million boardings combined at San Diego, John Wayne, Long Beach, Burbank Hollywood, Ontario, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara airports.

There’s also 40-million plus people arriving by plane at LAX each year. The importance of the airport can not be understated. It’s a regional economic powerhouse, job creator, tourism driver and shipping center. Which means that LAX is also a regional traffic generator. Sure, it would be nice if air traffic could be evenly distributed around the region. But that’s not how it works: the airlines can decide where they want to go.

And where they want go is LAX.

Look at this fun page below on the LAWA website — an average of 100,545 vehicles moved through the airport’s horseshoe each day in August. Many of those vehicles don’t magically appear at LAX’s doorstep. They have to wade through Westside traffic to get to and from the airport, adding more woe to an already woeful traffic situation on the Westside. Woe for you! And you! Woe for you, too! Woe for everyone!

The irony here is one big reason LAX moved the Ubers and Lyfts to a pickup location is to make room in the horseshoe for construction of the airport people mover, which will connect to the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line at a rail station Metro will build at Aviation and 96th. Check out this video.

That’s still a few years away. But when the people mover and new rail station are open, many Metro Rail stations in the LAX area will become de facto pick-up and drop-off locations and take pressure off the terminal horseshoe. As will a new consolidated rental car center accessible via the people mover — no more car rental buses!

I’m not naive enough to believe that alone will solve LAX-related traffic. But I think it’s a big step — along with other potential solutions — that could make a dent in The Woe.

That’s my three cents. Yours? Comment please.

Quasi-related 1: See this Source post that lists various transit options for reaching airports in L.A. County.

Quasi-related 2: Metro is working on a Measure M project to add ExpressLanes to the 105 freeway between the 405 and 605. That will make getting to LAX easier for those who use the lanes — including the Flyaway bus from Union Station. Project home page

Quasi-related 3: Metro is launching a congestion pricing feasibility study to see where it might be possible to test road pricing strategies in L.A. County. Source post

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•On consent, the L.A. City Council approved a motion to maximize traffic signal priority for the Expo Line, reports Streetsblog LA. Tons of reader comments at Curbed LA.

•Gold Line Construction Authority and city of Montclair officials talk about possible sources for the $450 million needed to extend the line from Pomona to Claremont and Montclair, reports the Daily Bulletin.

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Things to read whilst transiting: Assuming I’m not the last person who got around to reading it, I highly recommend “All the Light We Cannot See,” the novel by Anthony Doerr. The book tells the intersecting stories of a blind French girl, young German soldier and a Nazi looking for a precious jewel during the siege of Saint-Malo in France in WWII. The story moves along briskly with good characters and transit-friendly short chapters.

Saint-Malo in modern times. Source: brittanytourism.com

 

 

2 replies

  1. Been to other airports that have designated Uber/Lyft pick up spots, the main difference with LAX is simply the size of the airport and the traffic it generates.
    We should be so lucky to have the lot right next to Terminal 1 rather than really far away.
    Once the People Mover connects to the intermodal stop and light rail stop, what is the airports plan for Uber/Lyft pick up zones?
    Getting rid of rental car buses/vans and Uber/Lyft should make the Fly-Away Bus faster and more appealing, assuming they still allow them to drop and pick up curbside.

  2. Read today that the MTA is messing up the North Hollywood station until the end of December. More having to cut in front of buses to get into the main parking lot. Funny how when there are time overruns (and probably cost overruns), it is the SFV that gets the screwdrivers.

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