K Line
K Line train running alongside Florence Avenue in Inglewood, August 2022
Overview
Other name(s)Crenshaw/LAX Line
StatusPartially open
OwnerLos Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Line number807
Termini
Stations7
Websitemetro.net/riding/guide/k-line
Service
TypeLight rail
SystemLos Angeles Metro Rail
Depot(s)Division 16 (Westchester)
Rolling stockKinki Sharyo P3010 operating in 1 or 2 car consists
Daily ridership2,031 (weekday, Q4 2023) Increase[1]
Ridership714,734 (2023) Increase
History
OpenedOctober 7, 2022; 19 months ago (2022-10-07)[2]
Technical
Line length5.9 mi (9.5 km)[3]
Number of tracks2
CharacterAt-grade in exclusive right-of-way, with underground and aerial sections
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead line750 V DC
Operating speed55 mph (89 km/h) (max.)
20 mph (32 km/h) (avg.)
Route map
Map K Line highlighted in pink
Expo/Crenshaw
E Line 
Martin Luther King Jr.
Leimert Park
Hyde Park
Hyde Park tunnel
Fairview Heights
Downtown Inglewood
Westchester/Veterans
LAX/Metro Transit Center (2024)
LAX Automated People Mover C Line 
Aviation/Century (2024)
C Line 
LAX runway tunnel
Mariposa
El Segundo
Douglas
Redondo Beach
Multiple services

Handicapped/disabled access All stations are accessible

The K Line is a 5.9-mile (9.5 km)[3] light rail line running north–south between the Jefferson Park and Westchester neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California, passing through various South Los Angeles neighborhoods and the city of Inglewood. It is one of six lines in the Los Angeles Metro Rail system operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA). It opened on October 7, 2022, making it the system's newest line.[2]

The current K Line represents the initial operating segment of the Crenshaw/LAX Line project, which began construction in 2014. A segment connecting to the C Line via a wye is expected to open in 2024; the C and K Lines will be integrated and services realigned at that time. The C Line's western terminus will be redirected to LAX/Metro Transit Center station and the K Line will take over the westernmost segment of the C Line from the wye to the Redondo Beach station.[4] A connection to the new LAX Automated People Mover is planned for 2025.[5]

Service description

Route description

South of Fairview Heights station, the K Line runs along the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way

The K Line's northern terminus is at Expo/Crenshaw station, a transfer point to the E Line. The K Line station here is underground and does not provide a track connection to the at-grade E Line. Provisions are in place to allow the line to extend further north. The route follows Crenshaw Boulevard from Exposition Boulevard south to 67th Street. It travels underground in a one-mile (1.6 km) deep-bore tunnel, which transitions into an at-grade segment in the median of Crenshaw Blvd (between 48th and 59th Streets) where trains run synchronized to existing traffic signals. From 59th and 67th Streets, the line returns underground into a shallow cut-and-cover tunnel for a half-mile (0.8 km).

South of there, the route emerges from the tunnel and enters the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way, which runs parallel to Florence Avenue and Aviation Boulevard. The line mostly operates at-grade in this exclusive right-of-way, briefly transitioning onto elevated viaducts to cross over major thoroughfares including La Brea Avenue and I-405.

The current southern terminus of the line is Westchester/Veterans station. The extension under construction continues along an exclusive right-of-way, crossing over Manchester Avenue, Century Boulevard, and Imperial Highway. North of Century Boulevard, LAX/Metro Transit Center station will be at-grade and serve as the new western terminus of the C Line and function as a transfer point to the currently under construction LAX Automated People Mover. At Century Boulevard, Aviation/Century station will sit on a viaduct and also be shared with the C Line. The line will then briefly enter an open trench as it passes close to the LAX runways[6] before connecting at a wye to the existing C Line just to the west of Aviation/LAX station (will be renamed to Aviation/Imperial station). The K Line will then subsume the westernmost segment of the C Line west of the wye, running south before ending at Redondo Beach station.[4] Until this extension opens, Metro is operating a bus shuttle called the "C & K Line Link" from Westchester/Veterans to Aviation/LAX.

Hours and frequency

K Line service hours are approximately from 4:30 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. daily. Trains operate every 10 minutes throughout the day on weekdays. Night service is every 20 minutes. Due to the ongoing construction of the new LAX/Metro Transit Center station, trains temporarily run 20-minute headways on weekends.[7][8] It takes approximately 18 minutes to traverse the line's 5.9 mi (9.5 km) route.

Time 4A 5-8A 8A-1P 2-7P 8P-12A
Weekdays 12 10 20
Weekends/Holidays 20

Station listing

The K Line currently serves seven stations. It will stop at six more (four are currently part of the C Line) in late 2024.[9] The following is the complete list of stations, from north to south.

Station Opened/opening[10] City (Neighborhood) Major connections and notes
Expo/Crenshaw October 7, 2022[2] Los Angeles (Jefferson Park) E Line 
Park and ride: 450 spaces (closed Sunday)
Martin Luther King Jr. Los Angeles (Baldwin Hills/Leimert Park)
Leimert Park Los Angeles (Leimert Park)
Hyde Park Los Angeles (Hyde Park)
Fairview Heights Inglewood Park and ride: 200 spaces
Downtown Inglewood SoFi Stadium via shuttle bus
Inglewood Transit Connector Planned connection to Inglewood Transit Connector (2027)
Westchester/Veterans C Line via C & K Line Link
LAX/Metro Transit Center Late 2024[11] Los Angeles (Westchester) C Line 
LAX Automated People Mover LAX Automated People Mover (2025)
Aviation/Century C Line 
Mariposa[a] El Segundo
El Segundo[a] Park and ride: 93 spaces
Douglas[a] Park and ride: 30 spaces
Redondo Beach[a] Hawthorne and Redondo Beach[b] Park and ride: 450 spaces
  1. ^ a b c d Currently part of the C Line.
  2. ^ The station straddles two cities. The north end of the station is in the city of Hawthorne, and the south end of the station is in the city of Redondo Beach.

History

Main article: History of Los Angeles Metro Rail and Busway

Early transit proposals

To prepare for a LAX extension, Metro built two concrete ramp stubs west of the Aviation/LAX station.

Extending the C Line (formerly the Green Line) to Los Angeles International Airport was an early goal of Los Angeles transit planners. Studies in 1984 and 1988 outlined routes from the Aviation/LAX station, running northeast to LAX and Westchester, similar to later plans for the second phase of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor.[12] Although planners planned to add a spur towards LAX, they did not include it over fears that commuters would not use the line if they had to go through the airport on the way to work.[13] The proposed extension to LAX was further complicated by concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration that the overhead lines of the rail line would interfere with the landing paths of airplanes. Amid ambivalence at LAX and L.A. City Hall, the plans to extend the line to the airport were shelved.[14] To serve the once bustling aerospace sector in El Segundo, the line goes south to the Redondo Beach station.[13] Access to the airport requires connecting to a shuttle bus at the Aviation/LAX station.[15]

Crenshaw/LAX Line project

A north–south line along Crenshaw Blvd was planned following the 1992 Los Angeles riots as a way to better serve transit-dependent residents in the corridor while at the same time providing stimulus for positive economic growth in the South Los Angeles region.[16] The corridor was originally served by Los Angeles Railway Line 5 yellow streetcars until 1955 when the service was replaced with buses.[16] The proposed line would link the E and C lines via Crenshaw and Florence, and a wye would be constructed to connect the K Line tracks to the C Line tracks near the Aviation/LAX station. There would also be a station serving the LAX Airport (Aviation/Century station), completing the LAX connection envisioned by planners in the 1980s.[17] The new line was championed by State Senator Diane Watson and County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, both representing portions of the corridor.

K Line test train crosses Interstate 405 in August 2022

A Major Investment Study was initiated in 1993,[18] and after more than a decade of study, a Final Environmental Impact Report was completed in May 2011.[19] The FTA gave its approval to build the line in 2012,[20] and heavy construction began in June 2014, funded by Measure R.[21] Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was a key advocate for tunneling and other grade separation along the line. He also convinced Metro in 2013 to add an extra underground station at Leimert Park (Crenshaw/Vernon).[22][23][24][25]

The route was designated as the K Line in November 2019.[26] Originally scheduled to open in 2019, the project saw repeated delays. In April 2020, Metro announced that the completion date for the project would be pushed to no earlier than May 2021 due to construction issues. The support structures for bridges and tunnels had concrete plinths that were incorrectly installed, requiring extensive repairs to sections where tracks had already been installed.[27] The K Line was substantially complete on June 17, 2022.[28]

Even with the line's completion, it won't connect to the C Line or LAX until late 2024. Metro is under-construction on a new infill station at LAX/Metro Transit Center, providing Metro riders a seamless transfer to the airport terminals via the LAX Automated People Mover system.[29][30][31] During construction, Metro is only operating the K Line from Expo/Crenshaw station to Westchester/Veterans station with a shuttle service providing passengers access to the LAX shuttle and the C Line at Aviation/LAX station.[32] The northern portion of the line ultimately opened on October 7, 2022.[2]

Future developments

LAX/Metro Transit Center

Rendering of the LAX/Metro Transit Center station platform

The line was from its inception intended to offer a connection to LAX via an Automated People Mover (APM). However, at the time the line was designed, it was unclear where exactly that connection would take place. While Metro expected that the connection would be at Aviation/Century station, ultimately the route chosen for the LAX Automated People Mover intersected with the new line at 96th Street, about half a mile to the north, requiring the design of an additional station while the overall line was still under construction.

In 2014, Metro approved the planning and scoping of this station, which was called Aviation/96th in planning documents but was ultimately designated LAX/Metro Transit Center station.[33][34] This station is intended to serve as Metro Rail's main gateway to the airport itself, while the Aviation/Century station will serve destinations along the busy Century Boulevard corridor.

While initial plans called for the full length of the project to be opened for service while the LAX/Metro Transit Center was under development, delays in the opening of the main line meant that major construction on the station was already underway by the time the line was ready. As a result, the line opened on October 7, 2022 only from Expo/Crenshaw to Westchester/Veterans.[2] The full length of the line, including the LAX/Metro Transit Center and Aviation/Century stations, along with the connection to the C Line, will open in late 2024.[10][11]

Future service patterns

Graphics depicting the three options for future C and K Line service patterns

Varying service patterns have been proposed for integrating the completed K Line into the rest of the system over the course of its planning and construction, all of which have involved sharing trackage and infrastructure facilities with the existing C Line. Although some early proposals would have sent trains through all three directions of the wye, this was rejected by Metro because it would cause too much wear and tear on the track switch mechanisms.[35][36]

The debate over service patterns proved somewhat contentious.[37] In 2018, with the line then scheduled to open within the year, the Metro Board of Directors overrode a recommendation by operations staff that would have had a single line operating between Expo/Crenshaw and Norwalk station. Passengers from the Redondo Beach area would have been served by a shuttle to the LAX area, where they would need to transfer to another train to continue east or north. Instead, board members approved a one-year pilot of a configuration that would combine an Expo-to-Norwalk line with another line that would connect Redondo Beach with Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station, allowing transfers to the A and J Lines.[38][39] The approved plan would have incurred higher operating expenses but board members argued it would retain better transfer opportunities for South Bay residents.[40]

Ongoing construction delays led to a reassessment of that plan in 2022. Metro recommended public outreach aimed at reformulating the operating plan before the connection to the C Line opens in 2024;[10] in March 2023, Metro indicated that it would recommend Option 2 in the figure above, in which the K Line would run north–south between Expo/Crenshaw and Redondo Beach, while the C Line would run west-east between LAX and Norwalk.[41] On June 22, 2023, Metro's board of directors officially approved the implementation of Option 2 based on staff recommendation and public opinion.[4]

Platform extensions

While most stations on the K Line were built to accommodate three-car trains, the current C Line stations built south of the Interstate 105 were only built to accommodate two-car trains. To enable increased capacity of the line, Metro plans to lengthen the platforms at Aviation/LAX, Mariposa, El Segundo, Douglas, and Redondo Beach. The project would also add traction power substations and replace catenary wire and track ties.[42] In April 2023, the state awarded Metro $95 million for the project, which is expected to cost $141 million. The project is expected to be complete in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics.[43]

Northern extension to Hollywood

Main article: K Line Northern Extension

Map of the study area of the K Line Northern Extension Project

The original plans for the Crenshaw/LAX Line project connected Wilshire Boulevard to Los Angeles International Airport. However, once light rail was selected as the preferred mode, the cost for the entire route exceeded the project budget, so part of the corridor north of Exposition Boulevard was deferred until funds became available.

The final design for the Crenshaw/LAX project included a tunneled station at Expo/Crenshaw to accommodate a potential northward extension, which increased the cost of the original project by $236 million.[44]

With the passage of Measure M and the enthusiastic support of the city of West Hollywood, the K Line Northern Extension, which would travel north from the current Expo/Crenshaw terminus, connecting along the way to the B and D lines, is currently under development. Three options are being studied, all ending at the B Line's Hollywood/Highland station, with an optional station at the Hollywood Bowl also being considered. The San Vicente Alternative, also known as the hybrid alternative, follows Crenshaw Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard, turning north on Fairfax Avenue to serve The Original Farmers Market and Television City before turning on Beverly Boulevard to connect back to San Vicente Boulevard near Cedars-Sinai Medical Center towards West Hollywood at Pacific Design Center. Finally, serving new stations on Santa Monica Boulevard, the route curves north again towards Hollywood. The other two options follow a traditional north–south routing on either Fairfax Avenue or La Brea Avenue.

Operations

On Metro Rail's internal timetables, the K Line is called line 807.

Maintenance

The K Line is operated by Division 16 (Southwestern Yard) in Westchester directly east of the northern runways of the Los Angeles International Airport, and adjacent to the future LAX/Metro Transit Center station. Trains access the yard via crossovers from the north and south sides of the yard.

A northbound K Line train in Hyde Park

Rolling stock

As of 2022, the Kinki Sharyo P3010 is the only rolling stock to serve the K Line. Trains run in one- or two-car consists but has the option to run at a maximum of three cars at anytime. However once service is extended to Redondo Beach, two-car consists will be maximum as the C Line stations south of Aviation/Century were built for up to two cars only. However, Metro is planning to extend the platforms at these stations to also be able to eventually accommodate up to three-car trains.[42]

Incident

See also

References

  1. ^ "Interactive Estimated Ridership Stats". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e Patel, Tine (October 7, 2022). "LA Metro's new K Line opens today". CBS. Archived from the original on October 7, 2022. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Facts At A Glance". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 2023. Archived from the original on March 19, 2023. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c "Board of Directors – Regular Board Meeting". Metro. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  5. ^ "Fitch Downgrades LINXS (LAX People Mover Project) Sr Revs to BB+; Rating Outlook Negative". Fitch Ratings. January 19, 2024. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  6. ^ Cho, Aileen (January 31, 2018). "Above, Below and Through: How They Build L.A.'s New Light Rail Line". Engineering News-Record. Archived from the original on October 3, 2022. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  7. ^ "Metro K Line schedule". December 10, 2023. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  8. ^ Hymon, Steve (November 27, 2023). "Dec. 10 service changes: more light rail service and many bus line improvements". The Source. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  9. ^ Hymon, Steve (July 23, 2015). "Actions taken today by Metro Board of Directors". The Source. Metro (LACMTA). Archived from the original on April 12, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2015. The Board adopted the official names for the stations along the Crenshaw/LAX Line that is currently under construction. The names, from north to south: Expo/Crenshaw, Martin Luther King, Jr., Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Fairview Heights, Downtown Inglewood, Westchester/Veterans and Aviation/Century.
  10. ^ a b c "Crenshaw/LAX Line Operating Plan Update" (PDF). Metro. April 21, 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 12, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  11. ^ a b @numble (May 16, 2023). "March 2023 status report on LA Metro's LAX/Metro Transit Center (Airport Metro Connector). Construction is 39.9% done. Metro now proposes combining partial opening of station with opening of K Line south segment on 7/31/24 instead of first opening south segment in Fall 2023" (Tweet). Retrieved June 22, 2023 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ COASTAL CORRIDOR RAIL TRANSIT PROJECT NORTH SEGMENT (PDF). Metro (Report). Bechtel. August 1988. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Simon, Richard (August 12, 1995). "Is New Green Line a Road to Nowhere?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 28, 2021. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  14. ^ Hymon, Steve (August 12, 2020). "The Green Line is 25 years old. Some thoughts on that". The Source. Archived from the original on October 29, 2021. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  15. ^ "LAWA Official Site | commuteLAX". www.lawa.org. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
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  20. ^ "FTA approves L.A. Metro light rail project". Metro Magazine. January 5, 2012. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  21. ^ "Measure R". Metro (LACMTA). Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  22. ^ Ridley-Thomas, Mark (December 2009). "MTA Board Unanimously Adopts $1.7 Billion Crenshaw To LAX Transit Corridor Light Rail System Championed By Supervisor Ridley-Thomas". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
  23. ^ "Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project Park Mesa Heights Grade Separation Analysis" (PDF). Metro (LACMTA). September 16, 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  24. ^ "Board votes to add Leimert Park Village station to Crenshaw/LAX Line — if the funds can be found". The Source. Metro (LACMTA). May 26, 2011. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  25. ^ Thomas, Mark Ridley. "Ridley-Thomas Executive Summary" (PDF). p. 25. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  26. ^ "Letter Line ID Project" (PDF). Metro (LACMTA). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 26, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
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  32. ^ Metro (LACMTA). "C and K Line Link". Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  33. ^ Hymon, Steve (June 18, 2018). "Report explains operating plan for Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line". metro.net. Archived from the original on November 25, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  34. ^ Nelson, Laura J. (June 26, 2014). "Train station to connect Metro rail lines with LAX approved". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  35. ^ Sumers, Brian (January 21, 2014). "Metro breaks ground on new $2 billion L.A. Crenshaw/LAX Line". Daily Breeze. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
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  38. ^ Chiland, Elijah (July 3, 2018). "Will the Crenshaw Line strand South Bay riders?". Curbed LA. Archived from the original on May 21, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  39. ^ StreetsblogLA (December 6, 2018). "Metro bd mtg: Barger votes yes. Hahn Crenshaw/Green C3 motion passes 7-4-2 (Ridley-Thomas, Kuehl abstained)". twitter.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  40. ^ "Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line Operating Plan Presentation – Sports Competitions – American Football". Scribd. Archived from the original on July 28, 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
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  42. ^ a b Sharp, Steven (January 14, 2020). "Metro Seeks State Funds to Extend Green Line Platforms". Urbanize Los Angeles. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  43. ^ Steven, Sharp (April 25, 2023). "State awards more funding for L.A. area transportation projects". Urbanize Los Angeles. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
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  45. ^ "New footage shows Metro train smash into concrete truck stuck on tracks in Inglewood". ABC7 Los Angeles. KABC Television, LLC. February 18, 2023. Archived from the original on March 6, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
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