Groundbreaking held for Airport Metro Connector project

Demolition begins this morning on an old building on the site of the future Airport Metro Connector project. In the background is the LAX Automated People Mover, which is under construction.

This rendering and the three below show the new Airport Metro Connector station that will have light rail platforms, bus bays and an easy transfer to the airport people mover, which will serve the airport terminals.

Metro today held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on the $898.6-million Airport Metro Connector Project that will directly connect the Metro system to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Making it possible to take a train to LAX, one of the nation’s busiest airports, has been something the region has been trying to accomplish for the past three decades. Watch the Facebook Live event here.

The Airport Metro Connector Project (AMC) is the ninth station along the Crenshaw/LAX Line currently under construction and will connect directly with the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Automated People Mover project — presently being built — that will connect directly with the airport passenger terminals.

The new airport station will be along the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

“Everyone traveling to or from LAX should have access to modern, reliable public transportation that gets them to their destination on time,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “The Airport Metro Connector is a historic step toward reimagining how travelers experience our airport — a turning point that will be a source of jobs and economic growth, reduce congestion, and help our airport realize its potential as a world-class gateway to Los Angeles.”

The new AMC station will be located at Aviation and 96th Street. The project includes platforms to access Metro light rail trains, and an expansive 16-bay bus plaza that will serve Metro and other municipal bus operators including Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Culver City Bus, Torrance Transit, GTrans (Gardena) and Beach Cities Transit.

In addition, the station features a bike hub, a private vehicle drop-off zone and easy access to the LAX people mover, a new Metro customer service center, interactive information kiosks, public restrooms and commercial space for tenants who will provide passenger conveniences.

“This is an exciting project that will serve as the ‘Gateway’ to LAX for future generations — just as LAX has long served as the gateway to Southern California for so many millions of people,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “The AMC station will also provide multiple connections to the Metro system and will help airport-area employees and travelers easily get to wherever they need to go in our region.”

The rail station portion of the project will contain two light rail platforms that will be easily accessed via escalators and elevators, new ADA compliant swing door fare gates to allow for smooth passage with luggage and a full roof covering over the entire platform.

The integration of public art is a key feature of the project and has been part of the design process form the earliest planning phases of the project. The station will feature a large-scale signature sculpture — by Los Angeles artist Glenn Kaino — that will be suspended over the escalators leading up to the ceiling oculus best described as a spiral pathway suspended in the air.

The project has been designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating with sustainable features that include 550,000-plus kilowatts of solar panels, large native landscaping areas and electric bus charging stations. The AMC project is forecast to be completed in 2024.

Here are photos of today’s groundbreaking event.

For more information on the Airport Metro Connector Project visit: https://www.metro.net/projects/lax-extension/

Additional Quotes

“Not only is LAX one of the busiest airports in the world, it’s a job center for Angelenos, particularly for those who reside in South Los Angeles, said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Holly Mitchell. “As we enter the final stages of construction on Crenshaw LAX, the Airport Metro Connector will serve as an essential bridge to the airport for visitors, residents, and our vital aviation workforce.”

“Reagan once said the most terrifying words in the English language were, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’  We know they are actually ‘Hey, can you give me a ride to LAX?’ In a few short years, with the construction of this project and the Automated People Mover, your answer will be ‘No way—take Metro!,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Janice Hahn.

“The Airport Metro Connector Station will be a new Union Station for the Westside, connecting residents and employees to bus and rail, and welcoming travelers from all over the world to Southern California,” said Metro Board Member and LA City Council Member Mike Bonin. “Thanks to incredible collaboration and coordination between Metro and the airport, future travelers will experience a modern and seamless transfer from planes to buses and trains that can take them nearly anywhere in Los Angeles. This groundbreaking is a pivotal milestone in our effort to give residents and visitors alike real alternatives to sitting in traffic.”

“Today marks a major milestone in connecting the entire Metro system to one of the busiest airports in the country with a state-of-the-art transportation facility that will be used by thousands of riders each day,” said James T. Butts, Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Member. “Improving transportation mobility options is key to growing ridership and getting people out of their vehicles and onto public transit.”

“This project, once completed, will make navigating the Metro system with a direct connection to LAX easy to use and convenient for riders offering a safe passageway to this busy airport,” said Whittier Council Member and Metro Board Member Fernando Dutra. “Metro serves many destinations throughout the Los Angeles County region, and this project make connecting to those destinations a reality for travelers arriving at LAX.”

“Today is a monumental day, not only for our friends at Metro, but for all of us at Los Angeles World Airports, as we move one step closer to our vision for a connected, seamless journey to and from LAX,” said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports. “This long-awaited connection to the regional transportation system will create new options for our guests and employees to get to LAX – and we look forward to the future connection to our Automated People Mover train system.”

12 replies

  1. Sheer stupidity in action. No self-respecting airport in the entire world (outside the US, needless to say) builds a transit system to an airport that requires multiple connections between rail, buses, shuttles, etc. The transit system itself should have been built DIRECTLY to the airport. No transportation center required, no shuttles needed, etc. How much money is being wasted (and/or lining politicians’ pockets) on this nonsense? I hope LA is proud – we are going to make fools of our city on an international stage when we host the Olympics. Job well done, folks.

  2. What a joke. A long schlep from the gate, a slow-speed horizontal elevator to the Crenshaw line transfer, a 30 mph ride winding thru Inglewood, a transfer to the Expo, a stop and go slog through the traffic lights at USC, and another transfer to a subway. It will take – what – much more than an hour to get from a plane to downtown. Only in LA would a shuttle bus on rails be highlighted as rapid transit.

  3. Fear not! Musk’s HyperLoop will run direct between Downtown and LAX.

  4. The MTA twice has had the chance to provide a one seat ride from LAX to Downtown LosAngeles. The first being selected Blue Line trains switching on to Greenline tracks to the airport and the second having selected Expoline trains switching to Crenshaw Line tracks. And of course the turnout on the Greenline mysteriously never being completed into the airport.

    • Neither options are possible in the first place. The track layout of the NRC doesn’t allow for thru-service on the Blue-Green lines. The Crenshaw-Expo lines doesn’t have a track connection at all due to its tight spaced and poor design. (One is at-grade and the other is underground.)

  5. This will cost over a billion dollars once completed. That is insane for a light rail station. The line it connects to (Crenshaw) requires more transfers to get anywhere people need to go in L.A. That line is two years behind schedule, and everyone should read why. It’s also scheduled to close again shortly after opening to build a rail bridge in Inglewood that nobody in a decision making capacity had the foresight to see was necessary. Sadly, no one will loose their job over this wasteful mess and the insanely bad decisions made by Metro and the city/county, mainly made for political reasons, will continue ( Hello, Sepulveda monorail).

  6. I guess we should be glad 2024 is the end date because the Crenshaw/LAX Line won’t be completed until the same time. The grade separation project at Centinela Avenue in Inglewood will begin soon and will take 2 years to complete. There’s so many delays on the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Then there’s the proposed platform extension from 2 to 3 cars that won’t happen anytime soon. There’s the further extension of the Green Line to Torrance.

    At least we will have a nice looking $1 Billion station.

  7. When will the Metro airport station be open? When will the Metro airport/Crenshaw Boulevard system be open? When will the L.A. city airports department automated terminal shuttle trains be open? Your article should have listed each of these dates.

    • Hi Dominick;

      The forecasted opening date for the airport station to open is 2024. As for the Crenshaw/LAX Line, it’s nearing completion but we do not have an opening date yet. LAX — which is building the people mover — is aiming toward a 2023 opening for that.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. The Harbor Line was abandoned for this. Airports tram — Crenshaw Line —. Expo Line —- Gold Line transfer at Little Tokyo —- Finally Union Station (Yes I will still continue to call it the Gold Line). You guys really abandoned the Harbor Subdivision for this dumpster fire. This agency really is the worst. The mayor is delusional for stating that LA has a “world class” system when even something so simple goes missing.

    Here’s a little fun fact; San Francisco, Portland and Seattle all have a rail line with a DIRECT connection between their Airport and Downtown. And even the last remaining holdout, San Diego, is looking into a direct connection between their Airport and Downtown area as well.

    This straight up isn’t even a US problem, it’s straight up an LA problem, plain and simple. Oh well, at least there is Burbank. . . Oh wait!

  9. The cost of this station is currently just under a BILLION and will likely reach $1.5 billion, or 75% of the cost for the entire Crenshaw Line, which itself will be useless until it is extended further north to the Purple and Red Lines.