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Metro will open the Crenshaw line this October—but it won’t go to LAX quite yet

The light rail line will debut seven new stations soon, with a free weekend of service to celebrate.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

Its opening made our list of “things to look forward to in 2021,” and when that didn’t happen it had an encore in our 2022 list. Well, we’re glad to share that the K Line is sticking to its 2022 promise—though you’ll still have to wait a couple of years for its most transformative features, including its connection to LAX.

On October 7 at noon, the K Line will officially begin passenger service. Formerly known as the Crenshaw Line, Metro’s latest light rail route will initially service seven stations roughly between West Adams and Inglewood.

K Line
Courtesy Metro

You’ll be able to transfer to the new line at the Expo/Crenshaw Station, which also serves the E Line (formerly Expo) that runs between Santa Monica and Downtown L.A. South of there, along a path that retraces some defunct mid-century streetcar routes, you’ll find a half-dozen other stops in Baldwin Park, the Crenshaw Corridor, Hyde Park, Jefferson Park and Westchester. The K Line’s connection with the C Line (Green) isn’t quite ready yet, so a bus will run south of Westchester in the interim.

To mark the occasion, the entire Metro bus, rail and bike share system will be free from noon on Friday, October 7 through the end of service on Sunday, October 9.

It’s a big deal any time a new rail line arrives in L.A., so we certainly don’t want to downplay the milestone. But it’s worth mentioning that some of the K Line’s splashiest aspects simply won’t be ready this year. The Aviation/Century Station, which is pretty close to LAX, should open sometime in 2023. The LAX/Metro Transit Center Station, meanwhile, won’t open until 2024. That’s arguably the stop on the K Line: It’s where it’ll link up with LAX’s Automated People Mover, which will begin service between airport terminals next year.

In the meantime, if you want to take Metro to LAX it’s still a fairly convoluted process: You can take the interim bus between the K Line’s Westchester/Veterans stop and the C Line’s Aviation/LAX station, and then catch an LAX shuttle from there. Or you can take the K Line to the Downtown Inglewood station, board the 111 bus and then transfer to another bus near the economy parking lot.

Speaking of shuttles, Metro says it plans to launch a bus between the K Line and SoFi Stadium; it currently operates a free gameday shuttle from the Hawthorne/Lennox stop on the C Line. Eventually—possibly/hopefully in time for the 2028 Olympics—the Inglewood Transit Connector will operate a people mover between the Downtown Inglewood K Line station and the city’s sports and entertainment complexes.

Looking even further into the future—and we’re talking decades—the K Line could eventually become the backbone of Metro’s rail system. The agency is currently in the early planning stages of extending the line north to the D Line (Purple) subway extension, with a potential stop in West Hollywood and a connection with the B Line (Red) in Hollywood. Here’s hoping we can all hold on until the 2040s.

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