Reducing congestion at LAX

August 24, 2006 at 4:06 pm in LA

As someone who flies into and out of LAX 4-6 times a month, I am very familiar with the traffic congestion that occurs around LAX. This is especially true at rush hour, as people who live or work in the area compete with stressed travelers rushing to get to their destinations in an ever-changing aviation environment. As a frequent traveler, I have my tricks to circumvent the backup of traffic off the 105 at the airport exit – I exit a couple of exits early and park at one of the off-airport parking lots with a shuttle bus – but even so, I have to build in extra travel time during peak hours due to the congestion. The new LAX FlyAway bus that departs from Union Station looks promising as well, but the public transportation options to and from the airport are still lacking.

Airport planners had previously suggested rebuilding the entire airport, but that plan was unpopular, especially with the cities surrounding LAX. Now they’ve come up with several new ideas:
http://blogging.la/archives/images/2006/08/laxAirPhoto2Big-thumb.jpg

They’re little more than concepts now, lines on paper that show how the bumper-to-bumper traffic that bedevils Los Angeles International Airport might someday be loosened.

Double-deck Century Boulevard. Extend the Century (105) Freeway. Create a free-flowing loop of road that could get travelers to their terminals without once waiting at a red light.

Airport planners will unveil the ideas — many of them gleaned from months of community brainstorming meetings — during a public hearing this evening.

Unfortunately, I missed the hearing, but I’ll be interested to watch how this plays out. LAX handled 61 million passengers last year and is the fifth busiest passenger airport in the country world. While some of this traffic consists of passengers connecting to and from transpacific destinations, a large number of those passengers are either residents or visitors to Los Angeles. In my opinion, the airport desperately needs some form of modernization that will allow it to more effectively handle that amount of traffic flow. None of the suggestions from the airport planners are easy or quick to implement, but at least they’re thinking about ways to solve this problem. I think the idea of new offramps and roadways that lead directly into LAX from surrounding freeways instead of onto already congested streets is a good one, but I’m sure there are significant drawbacks to it and all the plans. How much will it cost? How long will it take? What will the impact be to the existing traffic situation while the construction is occurring? I only hope that the airport and city planners can agree on something that will improve the situation.

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