Top Ten Reasons to “Green Light” the Green Line to LAX

Ken Alpern and Robert Leabow
Co-Chairs, Friends of the Green Line

Just as the freeway and road projects of the last century revolutionized and shaped our local economy and way of life,  efforts to create a rapid transit network will undoubtedly do the same for Southern Californians of the 21st century.

One idea, championed by Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and supported by Assemblymember Ted Lieu and Congressmember Jane Harman is the construction of a Green Line extension to Century/Aviation and LAX Parking Lot C at Lincoln/Sepulveda.

Transportation advocates have supported this vital Green Line/LAX link as a fundamental first step in connecting LAX to a regional rapid transit network, because:

1) Our environment and quality of life are being destroyed by the pollution and congestion surrounding the airport, and environmentally-friendly light rail transit can play a major role in reversing this trend

2) Our rapid transit planning to date has suffered from “near misses” such as the failure of the Green Line to successfully access LAX, and the voters and taxpayers deserve better, and correcting this hole in our rapid transit network is a key step in restoring public confidence in our political leadership and their transportation planners

3) The proposed LAX People Mover train is helpful for LAX-related traffic from the south and east, but does not provide direct LAX access for residents of the Westside, the Valley and Downtown, who would be asked to proceed south of LAX only to double back again north to the airport when more direct options exist

4) The costs, planning efforts and land acquisitions of a LAX Green Line Extension are relatively small ($150 million) compared to other proposed multibillion-dollar projects to improve LAX-regional traffic flow such as double-decking Century Blvd to connect with the 405 freeway, and needs only a simple and quick supplement to a previously-approved EIR. 

5) LAX is a major job center as well as a prominent commuter and tourist destination, and will require comprehensive mass transit access to significantly reduce its local and regional traffic and environmental impacts (and make Los Angeles a more likely future host of the Olympic games)

6) Westside neighborhood councils and associations from Venice, Mar Vista, Del Rey and Westchester have thrown their support for a north-south light rail line that connects LAX with the future Exposition Light Rail Line as an alternative to the ever-gridlocked 405 freeway

7) Future plans for a regional rapid transit system includes connecting  passenger rail lines between Downtown, the Westside, the South Bay and the San Fernando Valley with LAX as a vital connection, and the two-mile Green Line LAX Extension enjoys regional benefits since it will “double” as part of future rail lines to serve both the Westside, Valley and Downtown

8) A comprehensive, quality LAX Green Line extension will promote other previously-explored Green Line extensions, such as those planned to the South Bay Galleria Mall (the South Bay’s bus transit hub) and the Norwalk Metrolink Transportation Center, because other regions will want to be linked to the Green Line that no longer goes “from nowhere to nowhere”

9) Metrolink, the multi-county, regional passenger rail network that serves much of Southern California’s long-distance passenger rail needs, has no Westside, South Bay or LAX stations, and a train station at Century/Aviation is necessary for a connection to the Metrolink hub at Union Station via a publicly-owned rail right-of-way that could allow rail access between LAX and currently-existing stations at Burbank and Palmdale Airports

10) Just as the previous political opposition and engineering limitations to extend the Wilshire Blvd. Subway west to the ocean are being overcome, an identical situation now exists to extend the Green Line to and even through LAX to the Westside and other regions—the options of doing nothing, or waiting for some nebulous future project to connect LAX with Downtown, won’t fly with the public

The time is now to “green light” the Green Line to LAX!


So Near and Yet So Far

We see the westbound Green Line train leaving the Aviation Station passing by the planned rail link to LAX turnout. If the LAX leg of the Green Line was built as planned, this train could now be heading north instead making access to LAX faster and easier for all us commuters.

When the Green Line was built in the early 90's as part of the Century Freeway (I-105), this line was planned to transport eastside aerospace workers to the high concentration of Aerospace Companies south of LAX as well as serving LAX with a stop at the 96th street transportation center and continuing north to the Marina. Due to safety concerns at LAX and lack of funding, this segment of the Green Line was never built.

Today, to get to LAX's Terminals, commuters must transfer to LAX's "G" shuttle bus that travels in mixed traffic to the Airport. The unpredictable traffic on Aviation, Century and at LAX makes this leg an unreliable link for making connections and getting to work on time.