LAX officials are soliciting public comment on a voluminous environmental review of the massive $5 billion modernization project intended to reduce congestion, redistribute traffic and improve access to what is the world’s seventh busiest airport.
The highly technical, 1,628-page document provides the highest level of detail yet released about the sprawling Landside Access Modernization Program that covers 794 acres in and around Los Angeles International Airport.
When completed in 2024, what is the largest civic project in the history of Los Angeles will change the face of LAX and how most of the 80 million passengers a year get in and out of the airport.
“The release of the draft environmental impact report is an important milestone for LAX and the entire region,” said Deborah Flint, chief executive officer of Los Angeles World Airports. “We want to hear from the community, airport users and area stakeholders about how L.A. can improve ground transportation at LAX, reduce traffic congestion and directly connect to the metro regional transit system.”
Where to find the EIR
The document is available at www.connectingLAX and at the main public libraries in El Segundo, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Westchester-Loyola Village, Culver City and at the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Branch Library in the Exposition Park area of South Los Angeles.
Two community workshops also are scheduled in Westchester where people can comment in person: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Senior Center at the Westchester Recreation Center, 7000 W. Manchester Ave., and 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum, 6661 W. Imperial Highway.
The deadline for public comment is Oct. 31.
LAMP includes four major components: two off-site intermodal transfer facilities to the east and west of the airport for trains, buses and vehicles, a consolidated rental car facility and a 2.25-mile elevated automated people mover.
The people mover will connect the three facilities with another three stations at the airport, whisking passengers to terminals in a matter of minutes and dramatically reducing the almost constant traffic jams that “severely compromise” LAX and surrounding streets, airport officials said.
Capable of moving as many as 5,800 airline passengers an hour, nine free automated trains up to 185-feet-long will run every two to three minutes 24 hours a day, all but eliminating the 1.1 million annual rental car shuttle trips on the loop road connecting terminals.
The people mover is designed to greatly reduce the 6,000 vehicles that enter LAX at peak periods. Because transit connections are so poor at LAX, almost two-thirds of departing air passengers currently rely on private vehicles and taxis to reach the terminals.
In theory, that will make dropping off or picking up passengers at the airport easier than it is today. But LAX officials hope many will choose to use the convenience of the two ITFs instead, further reducing traffic headed into the airport itself.
Key parts of the project
The main features of LAMP include:
• The 2.1-million-square-foot rental car facility on 69 acres will consolidate the more than 20 scattered lots that currently exist in a single 278,000-square-foot customer service building. It will have parking for about 8,000 vehicles.
• The 33-acre ITF West is designed to intercept traffic that uses Sepulveda Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue. It will have two parking structures with room for about 8,000 vehicles and a 13,000-square-foot, two-story APM station.
• The 22-acre ITF East adjacent to Aviation Boulevard is aimed at vehicles that today primarily use the 405 and 105 freeways as well as Century Boulevard to reach LAX. It will have a parking structure that can accommodate about 8,000 vehicles.
Metro also is planning a separate transit station immediately to the west of the ITF East that will connect the APM with the regional light rail trains and bus system.
Each of the ITF will be a few hundred feet from busy Century Boulevard, which is full of hotels and offices, allowing more travelers easy pedestrian access to the APM and LAX.
As part of the project, LAWA also will improve 6.5 miles of roads in and around the airport.
In addition, the program also calls for the destruction and reconstruction of three parking garages near terminals.
Moreover, to make room for the APM and other new transportation hubs, officials plan to demolish assorted structures on and off the airport. Those include the current administration offices, a fast-food restaurant, the current 84,000-square-foot LAX bus center, the 66,000-square-foot Travelodge on Century Boulevard and an urgent care center.
Many of the properties sit on land owned by LAX.
The plan is expected to open up hundreds of thousands of square feet of additional land for redevelopment, too, in and around each of ITFs and car rental facility.
Even if that occurs as expected, traffic studies conducted as part of the analysis show the modernization program would not significantly worsen traffic on roads and most intersections surrounding LAX.
Construction on the phased project could begin as soon as next year.