If you’re two miles southeast of LAX on a light rail train, how long will it take to get to the airport?
Expect seven to 14 years.
That’s the estimate the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority gives of when a connection will finally be built between LAX and the two Westside light rail lines, the existing Green Line and the proposed Crenshaw Line.
Tuesday night in Culver City, Metro held the last in a series of three meetings aimed at getting initial impressions from the public about which of the three proposed methods are favored at this early stage.
One solution would put extend the Green Line, which runs along the 105 Freeway, but goes south at Aviation Boulevard toward Redondo Beach, directly into LAX. The other option would involve putting a new Green Line/Crenshaw Line station next to LAX from which riders would go into LAX proper by transferring to a driverless vehicle called an Automated People Mover or to a rapid bus system.
At this point, "there’s no consensus about anything," said Metro's director for the project, Roderick Diaz. "We still have a lot of work and study to do."
Diaz anticipates holding additional rounds of meetings, including another set this autumn, when Metro would present more detailed alternatives based on public input so far.
The long-range transportation plan has money available for use between 2018 and 2025, Diaz said. Measure R, a voter-approved half-cent county sales tax, would provide $200 million, but additional revenue may be needed from other sources, he said.
A number of residents at Tuesday’s gathering said they hope light rail will run directly into LAX, eliminating the need for travelers to transfer before they get to LAX terminals.
"Buses need constant mechanical care," said Craig Thompson from the MacArthur Park area. "They spend more time in the shop than they do on the street." He said light rail could use either the upper or lower roadway deck at LAX, reducing car traffic, which could then be confined to the other level.
Dr. Kenneth Alpern, president of the advocacy group the Transit Coalition, wants the Green Line extended to the proposed Aviation/Century station near Parking Lot C (see attached fact sheet). He said he believes up to 70 percent of the riders would be LAX employees.
In either case, Marina del Rey resident Carol Kirschenbaum was unhappy that current options don’t address Lincoln Boulevard, which is frequently clogged from LAX to Santa Monica.
"There’s nothing for us who live due north of LAX," she said.
Diaz said the three community meetings have drawn about 250 people, which he considered "a fairly respectable number" for such gatherings.
The 50-plus people at Tuesday’s open-house style event were shown a series of full-color charts, maps and drawings of the project, with Metro representatives at hand to answer questions. They also tended easels stocked with oversize sheets of paper where public comments were written out in large letters, prompting additional remarks from others, and supplementing the questionnaires given to each attendee.
"People have different exposures to different types of rail and transit systems at airports around the world," said Diaz. "We’re at the very beginning stages of our planning process."