High Speed Rail to LAX

Chicago’s outgoing Mayor Daley wants high speed rail from the city’s downtown to O’Hare International Airport. It would be the first of its kind in the United States – meaning that it would be fast, convenient, and far too logical for American politicians to actually build.

Your move, @villaraigosa.

A few years back, I proposed the Metro Flyline – a rail network from Union Station to every airport in the region. It was kind of a joke, in that not many people need to hop a train from Downtown Los Angeles to fly their personal jet out of Van Nuys Airport. But what about a line that did service the major transportation hubs in the region? A high speed TRIANGLE, connecting LAX, Bob Hope in Burbank and Union Station.

Put it all underground. Run the whole thing elevated. Tunnel through every living room in Beverly Hills.

I don’t know where the money would come from. I don’t know ridership numbers. I don’t know environmental impact blahbitty blah. What I do know, is that people would use it. Isn’t that what mass transit is for?

The point here is that it’s time for Los Angeles to start thinking big again. No matter how far-fetched and ridiculous it may seem. Let other cities celebrate highway widenings and Target openings. We’re better than that.

Maybe someday, we’ll have a mayor that won’t mind rolling up his sleeves and putting in a solid 8 hours of work.

11 Replies to “High Speed Rail to LAX”

  1. They need to link in Ontario Int’l with the High Speed rail too. I mean as long as we are thinking big might as well include that other big LA (and LA does own it) airport into the grid.

    1. The California High-Speed Rail system is intended to have a station at ONT on the LA-San Diego segment. Metro is also working with SANBAG to get the Gold Line extended to ONT.

  2. I like this idea a lot. I wonder, though: Would taking it through Beverly Hills and (to a lesser extent) WeHo be sort of fruitless? I imagine most of the people there wouldn’t have much of an interest in taking public transportation to the airport. As long as we’re thinking big, why not shoot over to Van Nuys anyway? Yeah, it’s a small airport, but you’d make the route slightly more accessible to the west Valley, and probably take it through an area where there’d be a greater number of potential riders.

    1. I originally had it going to Van Nuys, but decided to exclude it since no major airlines use that as a hub (to my knowledge). Most people headed to VNY are going that way just to park the car and take the Flyway.

      Also, it would have ruined my carefully crafted triangle.

      1. I would imagine not so many people would want to go direct from LAX to Burbank, and if they did, it would be almost the same distance to go via downtown. There’s already a Metrolink station at Burbank airport, so what’s needed there is simply increased frequencies between downtown and Burbank airport. Metro already owns train tracks that run from downtown to Aviation Blvd near LAX. This right of way will be used for the Crenshaw line and Green line extension to LAX. An express train downtown along the same right of way is also possible, though not funded.

  3. I love this idea. But of course, there are also many other ideas, about improving mass transit in L.A. Currently mass transit in L.A. is almost non-existent, and Metro’s lunatic approaches & politics cause even more bus service cuts… Our rail network is pitiful, and bus service is truly pathetic, for being infrequent, in other words – our city one of the worst transit systems in the entire world (especially given the city size).
    We need completely new Metro staff (with the new CEO) who would realize that public transit is more than just business and making money. Public transit is about moving PEOPLE, and creating reliable transportation options for PEOPLE, not for objects or boxes on a conveyor belt! We need new leadership in order to put Los Angeles on the right track. We need a CITYWIDE rail system and a much more efficient bus system, to serve as feeders to the rail system. We need a complete overhaul. Time to stop concentrating on the Auto industry and keep feeding the greedy Auto giants. Time to get serious about public transportation, and treat it as a first-class service, something that we all deserve.

  4. Three things to note:

    1) A high-speed rail line from LAUS to LAX was studied as part of the statewide HSR system studies. The segment was ultimately dropped from the system as staff correctly identified that the corridor would be better served by local or regional rail. http://tinyurl.com/4yrnljr

    2) Metro recently studied how they bring an LAUS-LAX regional rail service to the corridor along the Harbor Subdivision. They ultimately concluded that it was a worthwhile project but there is simply no funding for it now. http://tinyurl.com/3rvg3y9

    3) Burbank Airport is already served by Amtrak and Metrolink service. Metrolink is adding more service to Burbank Airport with its upcoming service improvements. It should be priority, though, to develop 15-minute service between Union Station and Burbank Airport.

  5. With existing operational railroad tracks that are owned by Metro, A Metrolink spur could run to Century and Aviation with just the construction of stations and some track upgrades.

    I know it not that simple, but it is a thought.

  6. What is really needed is a Metro heavy rail line from LAX to Burbank serving Westchester, Culver City Wilshire/UCLS , Federal West LA complex, Expo Line and Subway to the Sea line connections, Studio City Central Van Nuys, and the Burbank Airport. It would connect with HSR at Burbank and the Wilshire Subway that serves Santa Monica, the Miracle Mile and downtown.

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