Travelers wait in line to have their boarding passes checked at the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on November 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LAX's northern-most runway would be moved 260 feet towards Westchester, and its parallel northern runway would be lengthened towards Sepulveda Boulevard, according to a “final” LAX plan unveiled Friday.
Los Angeles World Airports staff said it had listened to public comments and evaluated safety and operational issues before coming up with its final set of recommendations, released Friday.
Most of the plan had already been revealed by the airport staff, but the issuance of the final environmental impact report sets into motion the path to bring it to the city council for an ultimate decision.
It was released for about two weeks of public comment, and a formal hearing on the EIR will be held Thursday.
The Board of Airport Commissioners will vote on the expansion plan Feb. 5, and the plan then goes to the Planning Commission and City Council. Some residents in the Westchester neighborhoods oppose it, and plan to solicit pledges from Los Angeles mayoral candidates that they will oppose moving the runway towards the neighborhood. In the final EIR, airport staffers said their primary goal was to increase safe airplane operations on the airport's two northern-most runways, which sit close to the remaining houses and businesses in Westchester.
Residents there have long campaigned to keep runways from being moved towards them. In the final EIR, the staff said moving the northern-most runway 260 feet away from the central terminals would allow for a taxiway to be built between the two runways there. That will solve a major operational problem on the parallel runways, where a 1991 runway crash killed 34 people.
The taxiway would also allow 747s and Airbus 380s to use the northern two runways during good weather, airport officials said. The large planes are usually restricted to the southern two runways now. The plan envisions 153 total gates at LAX, with new wings added to Terminal 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. A new passenger concourse at the airport's western end would be connected via passenger tunnels to the Bradley Terminal. East of Terminal 1, a new Terminal Zero would be built on the current Park One site.
The 96th Street entrance would be realigned, and Lincoln Boulevard would be relocated north, closer to Westchester Parkway. A consolidated rental car facility and parking lot would be built east of the airport, in a subdivision now mostly owned by LAX. A new terminal for buses and vans serving the airport would be built on 96th Street, and a “people-mover” system would link the new ground transport terminals with all nine airplane terminals.
A light-rail station on the new Crenshaw Metro line would be built, either inside the airport loop near Terminal 7 or in the new ground transportation terminal on 96th Street east of Sepulveda Boulevard. Persons who wish to comment on the plan may do it via mail, on the internet, or may have up to five minutes to address the Board of Airport Commissioners at the hearing, which starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the airport's offices, 1 World Way, opposite from Terminal 7. More information is available at www.laxspas.org.