USA: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority opened the first phase of the light rail K Line on October 7, running on a partly underground alignment from Expo/Crenshaw to Westchester/Veterans with seven stops.
Previously known as the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the north-south route forms a branch off Line E in the west of the conurbation, and serves the Hyde Park, Leimert Park, Fairview Heights, Inglewood and Westchester areas. The interchange with Line E at Expo provides connections to the rest of the city’s metro and light rail network.
‘Angelenos generations from now will recognise the opening of this line as a new chapter in Los Angeles’ transportation history — as a moment where we opened doors of opportunity to communities that had been ignored for too long and put our commitment to making Los Angeles a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable city on the fast track’, said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The $2·1bn project has been largely funded from local taxes, including a sales tax approved by voters in 2008, along with $233m in federal grants and a $546m federal loan.
The construction contract was awarded to the Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors joint venture of Walsh Construction and JF Shea Co.
Work began with a groundbreaking ceremony in January 2014, at which time opening was planned for 2019.
At its southern end, the line currently terminates at Westchester/Veterans, from where free shuttle buses run to the C Line stop at Aviation/LAX and to Los Angeles International Airport.
An extension beyond Westchester is under construction, with opening to Aviation/Century planned for autumn 2023 followed by an extension to Aviation/LAX on the C Line which will take the K Line to 13·7 km.
A stop at LAX/Metro Transit Center is scheduled to be added in 2024, providing an interchange with a peoplemover link to the city’s largest airport.
‘The K Line will be the fastest, most convenient transportation choice for residents, travellers, visitors and airport employees alike’, said LA Metro board member Mike Bonin. ‘This line will simply be the best choice for travellers and will finally give them a viable transit alternative to driving to the airport.’
The operator predicts more than 32 000 daily journeys by 2035, and it is exploring options for further extensions of the route north to Hollywood, with a draft environmental impact report due to be ready for public consultation in 2023.