Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line is moving closer to opening, according to CEO Stephanie Wiggins and top managers assigned to the project.
The announcement came during a virtual presentation that the agency hosted for community members and business leaders on September 30. The meeting featured updates on key components along the line as well as encouraged feedback from attendees.
The $2.1 billion project, which is 99% complete and slated to start service in 2022, is 8.5 miles long and connects the cities of Los Angeles, Inglewood and El Segundo. In opening remarks, Wiggins outlined the importance of the community’s input throughout construction of the line.
To the audience, she expressed, “Thank you for the many hours you’ve spent collaborating with our Crenshaw/LAX Project Team. I want to thank everyone for their patience. I know when Phil [Washington, former CEO] met with you a few months ago, he was very upfront with you about the status of this project. I want you to know that we are dealing with the contractor on a daily basis and I am meeting weekly with the contractor, continuing the diligence and oversight that Phil had on this project.”
Emphasizing the significance of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Wiggins insisted, “This is our top priority. We are working tirelessly to get this project done. We are listening. We value your partnership throughout this process and going forward. We really believe the Crenshaw/LAX, once opened, will be a jewel that everyone will be proud of – the community, businesses and residents alike.
“As we work to ensure that the contractor meets their obligations, our focus is on getting this project completed and one that everyone can be riding on next year. Crenshaw is our first mega project. We’ve learned a lot working with communities that we can now incorporate in our future mega-projects that we’re working on in other parts of the county,” noted Wiggins.
“Your feedback is important and will help us with our future riders as well as help as we prepare to host the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games in 2028.”
The Crenshaw/LAX route contains eight stations – one aerial, four at-grade and three underground. The Expo/Crenshaw, Martin Luther King Jr. and Leimert Park Stations are underground and have several distinctive elements. Vibrant paintings, perimeter glass panels and bike storage lockers are some of the amenities for passengers. Also, porcelain enamel artwork decorates the Hyde Park, Fairview Heights, Downtown Inglewood and Westchester Stations.
On October 1, train testing began along the Crenshaw/LAX Line. In conjunction with the testing, Metro has activated the Photo Enforcement Program, which aims to reduce train and vehicle collisions and improve safety on the boulevard for motorists and pedestrians.
Cameras monitoring left-turn movements are currently operating at the crossings on Crenshaw Blvd. between 48th and 59th Streets. Beginning December 1, motorists who disobey traffic signals will be cited. The violations will cost an average of $100 along with penalties and assessments.
Also highlighted was the Metro Airport Connector Station where travelers can connect to LAX’s Automated People Mover, which is under construction. Bicycle parking, bus plaza, customer service center and retail outlets are planned for the site. The estimated construction completion date is 2024.
In addition, Metro staff shared that environmental work is underway on the Crenshaw Northern Extension, a north-south line that will connect the Crenshaw District, Mid-City, West Hollywood and Hollywood. The project calls for extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line north along Crenshaw Blvd., from Exposition Blvd. to Hollywood Blvd.
The agency continues to operate the Business Solution Center to support businesses impacted by the Crenshaw/LAX construction. During the second quarter of this year, Metro staff contacted 479 companies, conducted 363 business assessments and made 1,145 business referrals.
Metro also encourages small firms to apply for assistance via its Business Interruption Fund (BIF), which provides grants up to $50,000 per year to businesses suffering revenue loss due to light rail construction. BIF has awarded 797 grants – 232 to small businesses – totaling $19.7 million to businesses affected by the Crenshaw/LAX Line.
In addition to CEO Wiggins, Metro staff participating in the presentation were Deputy Executive Officer Anthony Crump, Systems Safety Manager Abdul Zohbi, Community Relations Managers Annette Cortez, Ginny Brideau and Brett Roberts, Principal Transportation Planner Jessica Spearman, and Transportation Associates Sidney Urmancheev and Jesus Galeno.
To learn more about the Crenshaw/LAX Project, visit metro.net/Crenshaw.