Los Angeles airport officials have announced that they are studying proposed reconfiguration of Los Angeles International Airport’s northernmost runway by up to 400 feet north into Westchester and Playa del Rey or 652 feet west toward the Pacific Ocean to protect homes east of the airport.

The proposal was discussed during a presentation at the city Board of Airport Commissioners meeting at LAX Monday, Aug. 9. The Notice of Preparation (NOP) is expected to be released in mid-September.

Diego Alvarez, LAX regional transportation coordinator, told the board that the study includes a separation of the northern runways, which are currently separated by 700 feet, to construct a centerline taxiway for the accommodation of larger aircraft and to reduce the risk of collisions between arriving and departing aircraft.

Under consideration is moving the northernmost runway by 100, 200, 300 or 400 feet to make room for the centerline taxiway. Based on their findings, airport officials said that with each increment, the level of safety for large aircraft during all weather conditions increases.

Mike Molina, deputy executive director of external affairs at LAX, said officials are considering moving the runway 400 feet north because it would best comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) current standard for all weather conditions.

The comments angered neighboring community members and Mike Bonin, chief of staff to 11th District Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the airport area.

“Come on, 400 (feet) north? This is the kind of situation that breaks the public’s trustÖ just bringing up the specter of 400 feet north has people on the phone with their lawyers,” Bonin said.

At the meeting, Denny Schneider, Westchester resident and president of Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC), pointed out to the board that since the projected air capacity for the end of the master plan period is less than current they don’t need any of the alternatives (100 to 400 feet) and should consider more ground access fixes instead. He also mentioned a safety issue with the bridge (upper roadway at LAX) and claimed he was told that the walkways across from the parking lots to the buildings are in even worse shape.

Schneider told The Argonaut, “Any proposal to expand LAX is just unacceptable. It’s crumbling and in need of major repairs. Spend the money to make it better, not bigger. At the BOAC meeting today we were told that the expansion alternatives will lengthen the outboard runway (24R) to Pershing Drive just like it was approved in Alternative D of the master plan.

“The impact on Playa del Rey was unacceptable then and remains unacceptable,” he continued. “We refuse to give up our business district for expansion as well. Our community is going to have to rise up once again to stop this madness.”

The Specific Plan Amendment Study is online for review by clicking on “Specific Plan Amendment Study Advisory Committee, then click on “Aug. 9 presentation” at:

www.ourlax.org/.

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