More than 200 turned out last week to offer their opinions on the future development of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
A public scoping meeting for the Los Angeles International Airport Specific Plan Amendment Study was held by Los Angeles World Airports officials Wednesday, March 15th, at the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum at 6661 W. Imperial Highway, near LAX.
A second such meeting was held Saturday, March 18th.
Los Angeles World Airports is the city agency that owns and operates LAX, Ontario, Palmdale and Van Nuys airports.
The purpose of the meeting was to implement an inclusive community-based planning process for the LAX Specific Plan Amendment Study, said representative Nancy Castles.
Local residents received an update on the February settlement agreement regarding the LAX Master Plan between the City of Los Angeles and six plaintiffs.
As a result of the settlement agreement, the “green light” projects of former Mayor Jim Hahn’s LAX Master Plan Alternative D can now be built.
“Green light” and “yellow light” projects were terms used under a “consensus plan” by former 11th District Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski to designate projects that could be built versus projects that the public opposed for safety and traffic congestion reasons.
The settlement agreement was ratified by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, the City of Culver City, the City of Inglewood, the City of El Segundo and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC); and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a “statement of non-objection.”
The “green light” projects include the South Airfield Improvement Project, which will move the runway southward and build a center taxiway to facilitate taxiing and takeoffs and help avoid landing delays.
The Tom Bradley International Terminal will also receive much-needed renovations and improvements.
An in-line baggage security screening project will also move forward.
Other “green light” projects that require project-specific environmental review include connecting the Green Line to LAX, a consolidated rental car facility and a West Satellite Passenger Concourse that would eliminate busing passengers to remote gates as is currently practiced.
The Specific Plan is a city ordinance that establishes regulations on how each project under the master plan is to be processed.
The LAX Specific Plan Amendment Study begins with a six-month initial scoping phase, according to airport officials, which includes the development of goals and objectives, the development and refinement of concepts; and the development of the environmental alternatives.
Los Angeles World Airports will then begin the 24-month planning and environmental phase that includes:
n the development and publication of the environmental notice;
n the public review and comment period on the notice;
n the preparation of the environmental document;
n the response to comments and the development of the final environmental document.
The city approval process begins with the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners and the Los Angeles City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee, and ends with the Los Angeles City Council.
The settlement agreement also requires Los Angeles World Airports to invite the Federal Aviation Administration, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino, and other airport operators in the Los Angeles region to participate in a regional airport working group.
This group will be responsible for the following:
n recommendations regarding current and future plans to achieve a regional distribution of air traffic demand;
n considering development of a common framework for coordinating all airport master planning and facility construction consistent with the adopted SCAG Regional Aviation Plan;
n coordinating and putting into effect a regional approach to Southern California’s air transportation needs;
n consideration of coordinating with the Southern California Regional Airport Authority, or its successor;
n considering the feasibility of entering into a joint powers agreement to create a regional airport authority and/or support of legislative efforts to create such an authority.
Group participation at the town hall scoping meeting involved audience members breaking up into four groups to list common points of agreement regarding modernization of LAX.
Ideas and issues brought forth by the four groups included:
n environmental issues — jets idling and maintenance work that includes running of jet engines;
n an Amtrak stop at Ontario;
n more Flyaway buses;
n requiring freight vehicles to burn at least ten percent clean fuel;
n a train station stop in Inglewood to downtown Los Angeles;
n better security and more police presence;
n better signage on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) with signs to the airport further away and directing traffic to use Century Boulevard to get to LAX;
n consolidation of rental car facilities and getting better signage to direct passengers to rental car return without getting lost;
n removal of graffiti from the San Diego Freeway (I-405), since passengers coming from LAX will view this graffiti as they enter the city from the airport;
n a dedicated truck roadway to facilitate security checks;
n green open space;
n building up a shrinking business district caused by buyout of adjacent land for airport use; and
n development of a triage area for emergency use.
Other comments from the four groups suggested a Flyaway bus from the North Valley to Palmdale;
n a high-speed train to Palmdale;
n extension of the Century Freeway (I-105) to Pershing Drive; and
n eliminating multiple shuttle buses at LAX and having consolidated shuttle service.
Until a new Web site is developed for the LAX Specific Plan Amendment Study, information from this scoping meeting and general information about projects can be found at www.lax masterplan.org