Sat, Dec

Green Line to LAX Picture Coming into Focus

GETTING THERE FROM HERE - The past two Green Line to LAX public hearings have been reported on both in major newspapers and in the blogosphere (link), and it's clear that those attending prefer the transit technology connecting MetroRail to LAX at the future Century/Aviation station to be a rail over a bus technology.

The question of whether LAWA’s Automated People Mover (or APM, for short), which was meant to be the method of transporting LAX-bound workers and commuters to/from MetroRail stations, will be buses, light rail or monorail remains unanswered—although if the People Mover used light rail cars then Metro and LAWA could more easily and cost-effectively maintain the Automated People Mover fleet using an economy of scale (same cars, technology and maintenance yards).

What's not clear is how Metro's and LAWA's separately-planned transit connection (be it bus or rail) from MetroRail to LAX terminals and/or Parking Lot C and/or the Consolidated Rental Car Facility will be combined into a singular, consensus-based plan.

As mentioned in my last CityWatch article, the recent Green Line Interagency Task Force (created by LA Councilmember Bill Rosendahl shortly after his election) brought together transportation officials and consultants from LA World Airports (LAWA), the LADOT, Metro and even the FAA, and quite a few options were brought to the table for discussion and consensus.  

The Green Line Interagency Task Force came up with a few conclusions which overall confirmed what transportation experts and transit advocates had similarly concluded for decades:

1) “Light Rail to LAX” meant Light Rail to Crenshaw/Aviation, which was the most logical location for Metro’s light rail lines, the LAX Automated People Mover and (in the unfunded, unforeseen future) Metrolink to all connect and converge next to LAX; the actual transit connection from Century/Aviation to the individual airline terminals would be performed by the APM.

2) The location of the Consolidated Rental Car Facility and the Metro Bus Center were critical for determining the location of the aforementioned Automatic People Mover, which would loop around the central airline terminals to connect with the Green and/Crenshaw Lines at Century/Aviation.

3) Metro was going to use acquired properties, rights of way and decades of planning to extend the Green Line west from Century/Aviation on Century Blvd., north on Airport Blvd., west on 98th Street and work its way to the portion of LAX Parking Lot C next to Lincoln and Sepulveda Blvds.  This terminus would have its own park and ride facility, and from this location, it would be possible to plan and/or build future light rail extensions to the north up either Lincoln and/or Sepulveda Boulevards.

Metro owns key properties between Century/Aviation and Parking Lot C, such as the multi-acre site at 6135 W. Century Blvd (currently being used as a Budget rental car lot).  Century Blvd. lies at the southern edge of this land parcel, & 98th St/Lot C lies at its northern edge, and this was and is a proposed site for the Lot C/Century Green Line Station.  With adjacent Century Blvd. and 98th St., this site could have tremendous potential for transit-oriented development, to say nothing of the benefit of park-and-ride or kiss-and-ride access from nearby Parking Lot C.

Metro's past plans were to extend the Green Line westwards along Century Blvd. (south side of the street) and then turn north into the "Budget" lot, where a Green Line station would be constructed (and with a connection to the aforementioned APM).  The station was expected to have some retail and was expected to serve the hotels & offices of the Century corridor between Sepulveda and Airport Blvds.

Metro's intent was to eventually extend the Green Line from this station across Lot C to the aforementioned park and ride, and then continue north, either up Lincoln and/or up Sepulveda Blvds. (for example, the North Coast Green Line Extension planned for the Green Line was to proceed up Lincoln Blvd. all the way to Marina Del Rey).  Any proposed APM would be easy to connect to this "Century/Lot C" station as well, and without additional expense for LAWA.

As of now, LAWA has its own ownership of virtually all of the northeastern corner of Century/Aviation (Manchester Square), but despite a good likelihood that the Consolidated Rental Care Facility and the Metro Bus Center will also be located at or near Century/Aviation, this is by no means a “done deal".  However, the concept of a combined APM/Green Line shared or adjacent station at Century/Airport and/or Century/Aviation remains tantalizingly close for us to consider.

Perhaps, after these public hearings are over, resumed meetings of a Green Line Interagency Task Force are in order?

And does “Green Line to LAX” mean that the Westside can share in the regional Green Line, Crenshaw Line and Automated People Mover access (via Century/Aviation, and perhaps at Century/Airport) by extending the Green Line next to Parking Lot C in Westchester…because what does the Westside get from a Crenshaw/LAX rail line that is too far away from the heart of Westchester to be of any benefit to the Westside?

But we’re closer than we’ve been in decades, after the passage of Measure R and with a political will to get consensus and projects moved forward:

1) If done right, we'll see a Green Line from Parking Lot C (next to Sepulveda/Lincoln, and at/near Century/Airport) to Century/Aviation to Aviation/Imperial and then east on to Norwalk, thanks to Measure R.

2) If done right, we'll see a Crenshaw/LAX Line from Expo/Crenshaw to Century/Aviation to Aviation/Imperial to Redondo Beach Galleria Mall or even Torrance, thanks to Measure R.

These two projects not only greatly expand MetroRail into the Westside, South Bay and South Los Angeles regions, but they also set things up for the next generation of north/south lines to serve these regions as well as the rest of the county.

Furthermore, future rail connections directly between Union Station to LAX, and between the Metrolink stations and Ontario airport (via the APM from Century/Aviation and perhaps another APM from the nearest Metrolink station to Ontario) lie within the realm of Metrolink, not MetroRail, but a properly-constructed MetroRail/APM plan sets everything up for these connections as well.

As for who pays for the APM from Century/Aviation to the central airline terminals, LAWA has promised to pay for that for years and decades, and we shouldn't let them off the hook.  If LAWA has the money to rebuild Bradley International Airport (a great idea) and the money to fight to extend LAX north into Westchester (a horrible idea), then they've got the money for the APM.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, though, LAX and LAWA is owned and operated by the City of LA, so if we want to throw on a parking or airplane ticket fee to pay for the APM, we can do just that.

There is no need for Metro to pay for an APM from Century/Aviation to the central airline terminals after Metro and county taxpayers have promised to shell out billions of dollars to provide MetroRail access to LAX from south and north, and from east and west, to a designated junction point that LAWA has agreed to for decades.

And there is no need for Metro to pay for an APM that LAWA will operate from Century/Aviation to the central airline terminals, and there is no need for Metro to pay for an APM that LAWA has promised to pay for decades.

And there is no need for Measure R to pay for a project that would serve LAX's needs instead of that of the Westside and the rest of the county.  The Crenshaw/LAX line establishes MetroRail/LAX access from the north, south and east, and the Green Line to LAX should establish MetroRail/LAX access from the Westside to create the final leg of the "X Marks The Spot" configuration Metro and transportation advocates have sought for years, if not decades:

The remaining meeting time is below.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Vice Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected] He is also co-chair of Friends of the Green Line. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) -cw

Tags: LAX, Green Line, People Mover, LA World Airports, Light Rail, Bill Rosendahl, LA County, LADOT

Last Metro Green Line to LAX Workshop:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Veterans' Memorial Complex - Yanji-Iksan Room
4117 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
Served by Metro Bus Lines 33 and 733 and Culver City Bus Lines 1, 3 and 7.
Free parking is available on site.

Spanish translation will be provided. Special accommodations and information in alternative formats are available to the public upon request. All requests for reasonable accommodations must be made three working days (72 hours) in advance of the scheduled meeting date. Please call the Project Hotline at 310.499.0553 or the California Relay Service at 711.

(Please visit Metro for more information.)

Vol 9 Issue 69
Pub: Aug 30, 2011