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Westchester Residents Oppose LAX Runway Plan

Los Angeles World Airport officials have released plans for an ambitious rebuild of the airport. A meeting on the plans will be held Thursday.

A group of Westchester residents opposes plans to relocate an LAX runway 260 feet closer to their homes, and plans to ask Los Angeles mayoral candidates to pledge against that, it was reported Sunday.

The Daily Breeze newspaper reported that the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion will again ask L.A. mayoral hopefuls to oppose the relocated runway, which every major L.A. mayoral candidate since 2001 has embraced.

The president of the group, Danny Schneider, told the newspaper that current mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has signed the pledge, but city staff has resurrected the runway move idea.

"There's not much I can do about it," Schnieder was quoted as telling the Daily Breeze. "I respect him, I just don't agree with him on this one."

Los Angeles World Airport planners have released an ambitious plan to rebuild Los Angeles International Airport, and a public hearing will be held Thursday to solicit opinions on it. It includes a people mover system, access roads relocation and a new surface transportation terminal on 96th Street.

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 to be squeezed in between the northern two runways, a move strongly urged by the FAA and the airlines.

LAWA officials say moving the northernmost runway toward Westchester 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.

But it would shift most aircraft landings by 260 feet further to the north, closer to what's left of the community of Westchester. That section of L.A. was decimated in the 1950s and '60s, when the northern two LAX runways were built and hundreds of homes and businesses at Playa del Rey and Westchester were destroyed.

The Westchester residents want more flights shifted to Ontario, which is currently owned by LAWA but is suffering a steep decline in flight service as airlines pull out of non-hub airports across the nation.

In addition to the runway relocation, the new LAWA 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.

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.

steve toth January 10, 2013 at 07:29 PM
LAWA won't be happy until there is no more Westchester or Playa Del Rey. And the city council cretins and the worthless board of sups. couldn't care less about the annihilation of these cherished seaside communities. It doesn't seem to matter what the homeowners and renters have to say about their concern about these disappearing beloved neighborhoods; their cries are falling on deaf ears. These meetings are nothing more than a dog and pony show put on by LAWA to make it look like they care about the people who grew up in these neighborhoods and those who have lived and/or owned homes or have rented here for decades. These neighborhoods have been L.A.'s best kept secrets until monstrosities like Playa Vista were perpetrated on the local residents not that long ago. LAWA's mind was made up years ago about exactly what they wanted years ago and they don't give a damn about their neighbors.

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