Hollywood Town Car and Limousine Articles

LAX Transportation – Current and Future Options

Getting to and from LAX – What are the options during and after construction?

The entire landscape of LAX is changing. Our international airport is getting a much needed $14 billion upgrade and less than $2 billion of that is actually being spent inside LAX as we know it. This project is known as LAMP (Landside Access Modernization Program). The entire LAMP project will generate thousands of jobs and be a centerpiece of the Los Angeles economy up until 2023. The question remains as to what it will really do to help the ever-slowing traffic situation at LAX.

The (near) Future of Transportation to LAX

Los Angeles International Airport is finally getting a much-needed, major upgrade. The project will be completed in 2023 with a total price tag of $14 billion dollars and is supposed to bring LAX into the realm of the other top airports both in the US and abroad. Some of the ideas that they are implementing are quite ingenious.

Even after completion of the project in 2023, getting to the airport either by yourself, with your family or with 50 passengers, having a professional driver is the least stressful and most luxurious way to go. This is especially true now that LAX will be under construction until 2023.

Whether you are in a sedan, limousine, SUV, van, sprinter or coach bus, having a professional driver just makes things easy.  If you are being transported to LAX by a livery company, a driver picks you up either at your house, office or other meeting place and takes you directly to your terminal.

If you are coming from LAX, your driver meets you either at the baggage claim or curbside depending on your needs and desires.

If you are the super fancy type, you can add a greeter service that will meet you at the gate and walk you straight to the curb to meet your car and driver.

Current traffic at LAX
What are the Current Transportation Options to LAX?

If you are looking for more options for any reason, there currently are not too many. Let’s look at all of the current options when a chauffeured vehicle is not in the budget:

* Click to expand Pros and Cons

Pros: It’s free for you and a lot of people probably owe you some major favors.
Cons: You will have no friends left once you call in all your markers.

Pros: It is super convenient to have your own car. You don’t have to call in any favors. Most if not all the higher end lots offer car wash or detail service, so your car is sparkling clean when you get back.

Cons: It’s expensive. Prices start at about $15.00 per day for a rooftop parking space at Wally Park on Sepulveda. Covered parking is $26.00 per day and Valet Parking is $28.00 per day + whatever you tip the valet parking attendant and the cost of your car wash or auto detail. The further you get from LAX itself, the cheaper your options are getting as to as low as $6.95 per day if you are willing to take a 10 to 15 minute shuttle ride in.
Taking a shuttle bus to the terminal is a major stress increase especially if you have luggage or any kids with you. Getting the shuttle back to the lot after you arrive back at LAX from your trip is time consuming and here, we go with the luggage again.

NOTE: Some truly thrifty individuals park on side streets near La Tijera and Airport Blvd. and take a Lyft or Uber from there saving big bucks. This makes the residents of those neighborhoods quite unhappy but who cares! You are saving dozens of dollars and your Lyft driver loves making $6.00 to take you into the nightmare of LAX in just under an hour.

Pros: It is very inexpensive. With a price tag of $9.75 each way you can save big bucks.
The buses are quite nice, clean and comfortable with more leg room than you are likely to get on the plane you are about to get on.
Cons: This will take a lot of time and you still need to get to the Flyaway station somehow. Once you arrive at the Flyaway station at LAX, you are going to get you, your guests and your luggage onto a shuttle to get to the terminal.

Pros: Also, an inexpensive option. A SuperShuttle from West Hollywood to LAX is about $30.00 each way.
Cons: You are going to have to be picked up several hours before your flight as you will be stopping to pick up 3-5 other travelers on your way to the airport.

Pros: This is the second-best way to get to LAX besides being chauffeured. Provided you use a RideShare, you are going to spend about ½ the cost of a sedan or SUV service.
Cons: The guy that just dropped you at LAX is not bonded and he knows you just got on a plane and certainly won’t be home anytime soon.
Trying to get a Ride Share at LAX for your return is nearly impossible during construction at LAX. As of 10/29/2019 NO RIDESHARE VEHICLES WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE OF LAX all RideShare pickups are just east of Terminal 1in the new and temporary LAX-it lot. Special LAX-it shuttles take you (with your luggage) to the RideShare pickup area instead of being able to get RideShares at the curb. Wouldn’t it have been great to know that before you left your house? The first day of this new policy was a disaster according to the LA Times.

Pros: Yes, this is still a thing. Getting a cab to LAX is still super easy and convenient.
Cons: Taxi pickups are no allowed inside LAX. All Taxi pickups ill be at LAX-it until further notice.  Cab drivers are notoriously rude. Scheduling a cab to come get you at your home is iffy at best. Since the inception of Ride Shares, taxis have become extremely unreliable which makes sense but is unfortunate.

* Taking Light Rail to LAX is not currently viable as the station is just too far away so we are not going to list it as an option which is tragic. Fortunately, with the new construction at LAX your options are going to greatly increase.

Traffic and Historical Upgrades to LAX - How did we get here?
LAX was originally built in 1928. It was completed in 1930 and was named Mines Field for William W. Mines, the real estate agent who arranged the deal to take 640 acres in Westchester to make a few dirt landing strips with no terminals or even hangars. The name was changed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941 and LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) in 1949. And although development was ongoing in a piecemeal fashion, since then, LAX has had 2 major upgrades. That is nearly 100 years with only 2 major projects for what is now the 2nd busiest airport in the world. The first major upgrade to LAX was from 1958 to 1962 to bring LAX into the Jet Age. At that time the airport was made into pretty much what it is today. This is when the iconic Theme Building was built which still stands like a weird flying saucer to this day. The second upgrade began in 1982 with a price tag of 700 million dollars built the Tom Bradley International terminal and the 2nd level loop to separate automobile traffic for departures and arrivals. This project nearly doubled the number of cars that LAX could accommodate at a single time, in preparation for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Since then, there has been virtually nothing done and certainly nothing substantial. Since the inception of Ride Share services, the LAX loop has become a slow-moving parking lot. In 2010 it took about 5 to 10 minutes to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 6 and back again. Right now, it can take as long as an hour to make the same trip. You can actually walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 7 faster than you can drive, and it has become…unusable.
What is the LAMP (Landside Access Modernization Program) Project all about?

The massive LAX upgrade project could have a significant effect on the traffic as well as an incredible number of new amenities for travelers.

Most of the great International Airports in the world have a few things that LAX currently does not. Take Hong Kong for instance. This is one of the most modern airports in the world. It is currently the 9th busiest airport in the world and the 2nd busiest in the US. There is a terrific article on Trip Savvy that explains that the Hong Kong Airport Express train leaves from downtown every 12 minutes and takes passengers to the airport in 24 minutes at a speed of 84 miles per hour. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a bullet train built above the 405 to get you to LAX from the north San Fernando Valley or Long Beach from the south at 80 to 90 miles per hour?

LAX will not be getting a bullet train yet but there will be some great options available.

LAX Contruction: The Overall Plan

The biggest part of the LAX construction or LAMP will not actually be inside of LAX. Although $2 billion of the $14 billion will be spent on modernizing the terminals with a new people mover. There are 4 major pieces of construction outside of LAX proper in addition to the APM (Automated People Mover) to connect all the pieces with the terminals.

Those pieces are the AMC (Airport Metro Connector), ITF West, ITF East and the conRAC.

All these locations will allow pickups and drop offs for private vehicles. Travelers can jump on the APM (Automated People Mover) at any of these locations for transport to and from all the Terminals at LAX. If used, this will greatly reduce the number of vehicles inside of LAX at any one time.

Let’s take a deeper dive and find out what these pieces are and what it will mean for travelers. As we are talking mostly about transportation to and from LAX via ground transportation, let’s start with the Transit Hub.

The Airport Metro Connector (AMC) Transit Station

The AMC will house the new and improved LAX Metro Green line and the Crenshaw LAX line. The Green Line travels east and west along the route of the 105 all the way to Norwalk to the east and curves south currently ending at Redondo Beach. Travelers coming from Downtown LA can take the Silver Line to the Harbor Freeway Metro station and transfer to the Green Line to take them to the AMC.

Once at the AMC, travelers will jump on the people mover (APM) and head to their terminal. – The AMC will also house the new Bus Plaza that will be moved from its current location on 96th ave.  This will take care of all Metro bus traffic and the Flyaway buses coming from Van Nuys, Hollywood, Union Station and Long Beach.

Transit Center Map
The AMC will be located between Aviation on the West – La Cienega on the East and  West Arbor Vitae on the North.

Another interesting feature will be the new Metro Bike Hub. At the time of this article, few details about the bike hub are available but a simple guess can tell us it will be similar to the existing bike hub at Union Station , El Monte Transit Center and Hollywood/Vine Metro Red Line Station. These bike hubs have a repair shop, secured parking for hundreds of bikes as well as retail shops and according to Metro “The bike center will also offer bike valet, tours and bike rentals at the site, and will explore other possible bike-related activities to encourage local bicycle trips. Retail hours will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Our hope is that this will get a lot more use than we think it will. The last feature we will note is that the AMC will have one of many new “vehicle pick-up and drop-off areas” to help curb the current, insufferable amount of traffic inside of LAX.

Construction of the AMC –

Ground has already been broken and construction continues apace. The Stella Charter Academy  has been relocated to their new campus at Stocker and Creed. All other homes and businesses have already been cleared or are in the process of being destroyed or relocated. It is a massive undertaking, but we have been assured that it will be completed by 2023. Check this space for updates. This will be the first area that anyone can drop off or pick up a passenger via the APM (Automated People Mover System)

The official LAX Project Website will be constantly updated to show new details and progress on the AMC.

conRAC LAX Rental Car Facility
Consolidated Rent-a-Car Facility – conRAC

The 2nd newest feature will be the 2+ Billion dollar, 5.3 million square foot car rental facility will be located on the corner of Century Blvd. and Aviation Blvd. All of the Car Rental Agencies will be housed here and the conRAC will be accessible for travelers via the APM.

The conRAC will feature the following:

  • 18,000 parking stalls for rental cars
  • 6,600 ready return spaces
  • 10,000 idle vehicle storage spaces
  • 1,100 rental car employee parking spaces
  • An undetermined number of visitor parking spaces
  • 200, level 2 electric vehicle charging stations
  • Quick Turn Around Facilities to wash and fuel the rental vehicles and get them ready
  • A solar “farm” that will generate 8,400 megawatt hours annually.

All the landscaping will be “drought tolerant” and use reclaimed water to lower the buildings carbon footprint. One of the most interesting things about all the new buildings is that the developers are trying to be as forward thinking as possible. With that goal in mind, the conRAC is being designed with the future in mind. All of the parking structures are modular and will be reconfigurable to house autonomous rental cars or whatever the future brings.

According to Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin whose district includes LAX,

“We are future-proofing everything we build at LAX, Every project under construction or on the drawing board will meet our needs now and be capable of adapting to new technology and demands.”

This may be the first construction project in America that seriously considers the future of transportation and what can be done to limit the obsolescence of todays building methods and uses.

Construction of the conRAC –

Ground was broken on the project on September 12th 2019 and be completed in 2023. PCL Construction is the contractor with US headquarters in Denver.

Intermodal Transportation Facility – West - Night
ITF West – (Intermodal Transportation Facility – West)

LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports) is hoping that the ITF-West will be the preferred location for pickups and drop-offs for travelers. This is where they seem to be taking a giant leap of faith. Angelenos have been using the terminals to pick up and drop off for years so retraining them will be the big challenge here. The fact that there will be no reduction in the type of vehicles that will be allowed to enter the airport (other than rental-car-shuttles) makes us skeptical. It is our opinion that if LAX Landside Operations and LAMP management disallows non-commercial traffic and rideshares into the airport at all, this will fix the problem and although we may be short sighted, we can’t seem to think of any other remedy that will have a serious effect on traffic. It seems to us that the national security bonus alone of not letting just anyone with a vehicle into the airport makes that alone worth it to say, “no more cars in LAX unless they are commercial vehicles”. Of course, we are not the ones that make these decisions.

Although the ITF-West looks suspiciously like a 4 story, 1.7 Million square foot, 5.5 billion dollar parking structure, the ITF-West will be the new “Face of LAX” according to LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports) (https://www.lawa.org/). The ITF-West will be located on the corner of 96th Street and the new Jetway Blvd. which has yet to be built.  Jetway Blvd will connect Westchester Parkway to Century Blvd and be located (map) ½ way between Sepulveda and Airport Blvd. (SEE MAP). This will be the first piece of the project to be completed and will open in 2021 without the APM (Automated People Mover) which will be completed in 2023. Until such time, a constant flow of shuttles will bring travelers from the ITF-West to the terminals and back again.

Key features available to travelers to the ITF-West are:

  • Parking for 4,500 vehicles. (This alone immediately raises the amount of spaces from about 8,000 now to 12,500 upon completion of construction.)
  • Meet and Greet Space for travelers
  • Valet Parking Space and Personnel
  • A 17,500 square foot concession area on level 1
  • A 7,500 square foot concession area on level 2
  • A state-of-the-art parking guidance system which will alert drivers as to where the open spaces are

The environmentally sustainable elements that are being touted are:

  • Efficient LED lighting with energy saving light controls
  • Dedicated parking spaces for low emitting vehicles and car/van pool vehicles
  • Use of low flow plumbing fixtures
  • Drought tolerant landscaping
  • Electric vehicle charging stalls
  • Use of recycled water
  • Use of parking guidance system that will help reduce driving circulation time and emissions

The ITF-West has been designed with the future in mind. All of the parking areas will be built with high enough ceilings to convert the space later to be used for just about anything. Plumbing and electrical can be added as well as drop ceilings so that when and if autonomous vehicles take over, this space will not have to be torn down and rebuilt. This is incredibly forward thinking and we feel that the LAWA staff should be highly commended for being so thoughtful about the future. If you really want to go deep and find out more about the ITF-West, we found a thorough PDF with an executive summary

ITF East – (Intermodal Transportation Facility – East)

Although the final stop of the APM (Automated People Mover) on the east will be the conRAC, the ITF-East will be located right behind the conRAC on a 21-acre site at the northeast corner of Aviation Boulevard and 98th street and used primarily by private and commercial vehicles traveling to the airport. It will offer 8,300 parking spaces across 5 stories, and measure 3.1 million square feet. ITF East will also serve as the connector station to the Metro Crenshaw and Green Lines, which will be a huge boon for fans of public transit in LA. We find much less information currently available about the East station than the West station.

ITF East Map

We don’t know how far you will have to walk from the ITF-East to the conRAC APM station, but this could be the hidden gem for people who look for a little faster and more convenient way to the main terminal complex. Notice how close the ITF-East is to the 405 freeway.

The ITF East will be a total of 3.1 million square feet and include an additional 8300 parking spaces. The 5 story facility will have a moving pedestrain walkway to take travelers to the conRAC to allow access to the APM, Transit Station and of course, the main terminal complex.

At the time of this article, little could be found on when the ITF East will break ground or be completed but we will certainly update you the moment we have more information on the subject.

The APM (Automatic People Mover)
Automatic People Mover and Theme Building Rendering
The APM is really the centerpiece of the whole plan because without it, travelers arriving at either the conRAC, ITF-West, ITF-East or the APM will have no way to get to the terminals.  Our concern is that until the APM is completed, extra shuttles coming from ITF-West will make LAX traffic, even more congested. Once completed however, the APM will connect all the above pieces with the terminals via 3 stations throughout the main terminal area. APM Map The APM will run from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm at full strength with 9 trains of 4 cars each. A schedule for off hours (11:00 pm to 9:00 am) has not yet been released. Each car will hold 50 passengers with their luggage and travel at 47 miles per hour. Travel from the conRAC at the far east end to the APM Center station will take approximately 10 minutes including the stops at the ITF-West and Transit Station. The train will be free for all riders. With a total of 6 stations (3 inside the central terminal are and 3 outside), the APM is estimated to carry 30 million passengers per year. Once passengers exit the APM at the terminals, new moving sidewalks will take passengers into the terminals. The ground breaking ceremony was held on March 14th 2019. When asked about the project at the ceremony, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said;
Everyone traveling to or from LAX should have access to modern, reliable public transportation that gets them to their destination on time,  The Automated People Mover is a historic investment in our city’s transportation infrastructure — a milestone that will create middle-class jobs, reduce traffic congestion, and deliver a world-class experience for travelers.
The entire APM project has a price tag of $4.9 billion making it the single most expensive piece of the entire LAMP project. The 30 year contract for the APM was awarded to LAX Integrated Express Solutions (LINXS) back in April of 2018.  This is the largest contract in the city’s history and covers the design, finance, construction, maintenance and operation of the APM. The details of the project can be viewed here and the original RFP (Request for Proposal) can be downloaded here. The 3 center stations inside of LAX has been budgeted at $336.5 million and the contract has been awarded to Austin Commercial LP located in Dallas.
What Does it all mean?
Completed LAX View

Until the completion of all of these projects in 2023, the traffic situation and therefore the transportation situation at LAX will be rough for travelers and transportation companies attempting to get those travelers to their flights on time and with as little hassle and delay as possible. 

No matter what happens with the LAMP project in the end, it certainly couldn’t make things at LAX get any worse. 

There is also a plan to build 2 more terminals and a complete revamp of the roadways to and from LAX which we will explore in a future article coming soon.