Standing Room Only to Oppose LAX Expansion Closer to Neighborhoods

The renovation is part of an airport-wide modernization plan

By Kim Baldonado and Julie Brayton
|  Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013  |  Updated 11:39 PM PDT
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Westchester residents on Tuesday night packed a hearing room to oppose plans to move the northern runways at LAX 260 feet away from the terminals and closer to the residential community. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2013.

Kim Baldonado, Sean Browning

Westchester residents on Tuesday night packed a hearing room to oppose plans to move the northern runways at LAX 260 feet away from the terminals and closer to the residential community. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2013.

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Westchester residents on Tuesday night packed a hearing room to oppose plans to move the northern runways at LAX 260 feet away from the terminals and closer to the residential community.

"Increased noise levels, increased air pollution levels, as well as increased noise. Not to mention coupled with the fact that there will be declining property values," resident Mark Reddick told the panel.

Moving the runways, which the airport said must be done for safety and efficiency, is part of an ongoing modernization of the airport, the nation’s busiest.

"Our runway complex on the north was designed in the 1960's for aircraft that existed at that time," said Diego Alvarez, LAX Project Manager.

It was not designed for the massive Airbus A380, which arrived in 2007. Special rules are in place when it's on the ground, causing delays for other travelers.

Still, residents (pictured below) are concerned for their own safety.

"On the north side, if an airplane cannot land, or has a problem, it has to land on our homes," resident Graciela Huth said.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters acknowledged LAX is a job creator for her district, but opposed the runway expansion.

"My first priority is ensuring an excellent quality of life for the residents that have worked so hard for so long to protect this community from being overrun and endangered by the intrusion and expansion of LAX," Waters said.

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