Connecting Neighborhoods and Important Venues
An integral part of the multi-billion dollar Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the construction of the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Metro Line. This project will offer alternative transportation options to congested roadways while also providing significant environmental benefits, economic development, and employment opportunities throughout Los Angeles County.
From airport to front porch
When complete, the Crenshaw/ LAX Line light rail transit will include eight stations with off-street parking and will extend from the Metro Expo Line (now E Line) at the intersection of Exposition Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard, and merge with the Metro Green Line (now C Line) at the existing Aviation/LAX Station.
It is also slated to connect with the Automated People Mover at LAX in 2023, thus eventually allowing passengers to completely avoid Los Angeles’ famously congested freeways and instead to commute from the airport to locations in Mid-Wilshire, West Hollywood, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Hyde Park, Westchester, Hawthorne, El Segundo, and Inglewood.
Eight new stations include:
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Leimert Park
- Hyde Park
- Fairview Heights
- Downtown Inglewood
Locations and destinations
The plan for this light rail line was to have it run entirely at street-level along Crenshaw. Metro agreed to dig two mile-long tunnels connecting the Expo/Crenshaw and Martin Luther King stations after community activists argued that this would disrupt local businesses and endanger pedestrians.
Nonetheless, the Crenshaw/LAX Line will be a very visible presence throughout communities; major developments along the way such as the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3-mile-long open-air museum and cultural experience dedicated to preserving the history and culture of African Americans, are in the works.
Because plans for SoFi Stadium weren’t finalized when construction began in January 2014, there isn’t yet a stadium stop. However, the new Downtown Inglewood Station is just two miles away from the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and L.A. Chargers.
What’s taking so long?
Those who have been following the construction of this vital infrastructure project know service was estimated to begin October 2019.
After facing a number of challenges and setbacks, including reports that steel reinforcements were installed incorrectly, Metro CEO Phillip Washington was
asked directly why the Crenshaw / LAX Line has seen so many delays. He told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “I’m not satisfied with the work of the contractor (Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors, a joint venture between Chicago-based Walsh Group and Walnut-based J.F. Shea Co. Inc.). I think they did not have enough workers on this project, and there’s a lot of redoing of work. We will hold the contractor to the best quality job that can be done. We’ve insisted on some rework in some areas. I meet with the contractor and the principals on a weekly basis. The project is 97% complete, but the remaining 3% is the most intricate. I believe this is the year that the contractor will turn the project over to us and that it’s near opening. We will stay on them, but it has not been the ideal project.”
The Crenshaw/ LAX Line is now scheduled to open in 2021.
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