The Crenshaw Line Is Closer to Opening. The LAX People Mover? Not So Much.

A train station a mile from the airport is coming together, but real rail service to LAX is still years away

Metro is making real progress on the Crenshaw Line, which will soon connect the South Bay to the Crenshaw District via Inglewood and Leimert Park. Just this week Metro shared pics of the elevated Aviation/Century station receiving its shiny, white canopies.

The good news is that the transit agency is still expecting a fall 2019 opening for the light rail line (though we wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to open it in the summer or even spring of that year). The bad news is that the Crenshaw Line—often described as the project that will finally close the gap between the rail network and LAX—won’t actually connect to the airport for several more years after the opening.

A future LAX People Mover will connect to a future Crenshaw Line station, at 96th Street, just north of the Aviation/Century station. Metro tells us the 96th Street station won’t open until 2023, and there’s no guarantee the People Mover—being built and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, which runs LAX—will be completed by then.

There is hope that the openings will sync up, since LAWA still anticipates a 2023 opening for the People Mover. Construction has yet to begin on the automated train system, which will make stops at a centralized car rental facility, a transportation center, and three areas within the airport. A LAWA rep says work on the People Mover should begin by summer 2018.

Five years of construction may sound like a long time, but building anything around one of the world’s busiest airports will be a tricky maneuver. At least LAWA doesn’t have a 2024 Olympics breathing down its neck.

For now, the Crenshaw Line’s Aviation/Century station will get riders closer to LAX than the current Aviation/LAX station on the Green Line. Currently, a free LAWA-operated bus takes riders from the Green Line’s Aviation station directly to the terminals and, until the People Mover is operational, the agency plans on running another free shuttle at the new Crenshaw station when that opens in 2019.

RELATED: The Crenshaw Line Is Taking Shape, and Suddenly 2019 Can’t Get Here Fast Enough