Under construction now for 2019, a great deal of activity is happening with the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Work on the $2-billion light-rail system intended to serve neighborhoods in and around Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX will reach a milestone at the end of the month.
Workers are poised to begin excavating the third and last of its underground stations near Leimert Park, prompting a 14-day closure of Crenshaw Boulevard between Vernon Avenue and 43rd Street/Homeland Drive. Click here for detours.
In the meantime, workers are building the structure that would allow the tracks to rise from ground level to a junction with the Green Line near Aviation Boulevard and Imperial Highway.
In June, they will begin digging an underground tunnel in Park Mesa Heights, and installing perimeter walls along the tracks between Crenshaw Boulevard and Brynhurst Avenue.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, vice chairman of Metro’s Board of Directors, said the importance of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line can not be understated.
“This rail line will transform neighborhoods by allowing people to get where they need to be, and quickly,” he said. “It will also cut air pollution and traffic congestion, and boost businesses along the route by carrying customers almost to their doorstep. It will change the landscape of Los Angeles for the better.”
Aside from ratcheting up construction, Metro is continuing efforts to help local businesses.
This month, the agency held a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) outreach event at Inglewood City Hall to teach local businesses owned by women and minorities how to secure contracts with Metro to help build the Crenshaw/LAX Line.
Chris Chance attended a similar seminar years ago; now, her company, The Brass Star Group produces public service announcements, promotional videos, training videos, and documentaries for Metro.
“After they were able to see our talent, they would give us more work over the years, and as we grew, we were able to hire more people,” said Chance, who grew up in Compton. “This income helps other businesses in the area, like the places where we shop. It really helps the local economy.”
Metro is also commissioning artists to create murals and art for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. One of the artists, Kenturah Davis, will hold a May 23 photo shoot in Inglewood for members of the public interested in becoming part of her artwork. She is planning a series of portraits for the Florence/La Brea Station inspired by the random and serendipitous observations that can happen in a crowd riding public transportation. Those who live, work or maintain a significant connection with Inglewood are invited to be her subjects, but space is limited.
Once completed, the Crenshaw/LAX rail line would be the first to serve the Crenshaw District and Inglewood since street cars – dubbed “Yellow Cars” – stopped running in the 1950’s. The line will have eight stations, the northernmost connecting to the Expo Line, and southernmost to the Green Line. Funded through Measure R, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008, it is projected to have a daily ridership of 13,000 to 16,000.