The following Editorial appeared in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on January 15, 2014.
Editorial: Planning for traffic crush around ONT is more than just wishful thinking – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
January 15, 2014
Does it seem ironic that officials are worrying about how to keep future vehicle congestion in check on the roadways around L.A./Ontario International Airport?
Is it important to give serious consideration now to what vehicle traffic might be like around the airport in 2030, and to figure out how to avoid gridlock on the roads leading there?
Sure, it’s a bit odd to be concerned about excessive roadway traffic around ONT when local officials are wringing their hands over the airport’s withering away in terms of its airline passenger traffic.
Certainly there’s no sign of car traffic jams around the airport these days. You can whiz down Airport Drive just about anytime, or even along the roadways leading to the terminals, without having to slow down for anything other than the speed limit.
There’s still hope the airport can be rescued from the downward spiral in which it has lost more than 40 percent of its 2007 passenger count of 7.2 million. The idea that it might reach 30 million by 2030, as predicted in a pre-recession study, seems far-fetched now, but it could happen — if not in 2030, then someday.
In any event, planning ways to connect mass transit to the airport is important. It’s dumb that L.A.’s Metro rail lines don’t reach LAX; it would be smart to connect the Gold Line Foothill Extension to ONT.
International travelers are dumbfounded that you can’t jump on a train at LAX. From Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport, or even from Orly, the City of Light’s second airport, you can jump on an RER train bound for the city center. You can take the London Underground from Heathrow International Airport to anywhere in the city.
Not that Ontario will ever rival those world cities, but L.A. ought to.
And not only should ONT eventually be a Gold Line stop, but before that can happen there should be regular shuttle service to the airport from the San Bernardino and Riverside lines of Metrolink, which pass a bit north and just south, respectively, of ONT.
Southern California authorities are building more miles of commuter rail lines all the time. It’s up to Los Angeles World Airports and regional transportation officials to figure out how to connect them to our airports.