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Officials Ponder People Mover at LAX

The plans would impact the northern side of the airport.

An ambitious plan to build Los Angeles International Airport a people mover system, relocate access roads and shift many vehicle movements to a new surface transportation terminal on 96th Street will go before a public meeting next week.

The proposed master plan for LAX includes a proposal to shift the northern-most of the airport's four parallel runways 260 feet further away from the central terminals. That shift would allow a centerfield taxiway be be squeezed in between the northern two runways, a move strongly urged by the FAA and the airlines.

But it would shift most aircraft landings by 260 feet further to the north, closer to what's left of the community of Westchester. Some local residents oppose the move.

Los Angeles World Airport officials say moving Runway 24-R to the north would improve sight-lines for pilots, improve safety area protections for taxiing aircraft, and allow new passenger gates to be built at several existing and proposed concourses on the north side of the airport loop.

The new master plan includes a proposed passenger terminal -- with a working title of Terminal Zero -- to be built just east of Terminal 1, on the current site of the LAX-owned Park One parking site. An entirely-new terminal concourse would also be built to the west of the Bradley Terminal.

The maze of roadways at the Sepulveda Boulevard/96th Street interchange would be realigned. Lincoln Boulevard would be again rebuilt, this time shifted north towards Westchester Parkway to make way for the relocated northern runway.

LAWA last month announced it has wedged in space for a possible Metro light rail station to be built inside the airport itself. Such a move has been strongly urged by Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, the outgoing head of the House Transportation Committee, who has said rail service to LAX is a must if California seeks other federal transportation funds.

LAX and Metro last month announced a "strong commitment and desire" to bring the proposed Crenshaw Line inside the airport, possibly linking with the interior people mover system at a station either near Sepulveda at Century boulevards, or at a proposed "Intermodal Transportation Facility" just east of the airport.

Under the airport plan, passengers being picked up or dropped off by vehicle would alight inside the new intermodal facility to be built along 96th Street, just north of the row of hotels on Century Boulevard.

The people-mover system would link the existing terminals to the new 96th Street intermodal transfer station, then extend east another half mile to a proposed central car rental building and satellite parking lot northeast of Airport and Century boulevards.

LAWA has already nearly finished environmental plans for the reconfigured airport. On Thursday, it will present the plans to the public and hear comments on them. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Proud Bird Restaurant, 11022 Aviation Blvd., in Westchester.

Comments made at the meeting or in writing will be forwarded to the Los Angeles Planning Commission and eventually, the City Council, as they consider the plan.

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