With much fanfare, Metro’s K Line opened Friday, running from the Crenshaw district to Westchester and giving South Los Angeles its most extensive rail service since the 1950s.

The line fulfills a dream that began when Tom Bradley was mayor from 1973-93 and sought to provide world-class transportation in South Los Angeles, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

“The K Line is integral to Los Angeles’ transportation future,” Garcetti said. “It will open doors of opportunity for riders across our region and help make Los Angeles a more accessible, sustainable, and inclusive city.”

Metro will offer free rides on all of its buses and trains through the weekend in connection with the K Line’s opening.

The northern-most point of the K Line is the Expo/Crenshaw station at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards. The line heads south along Crenshaw Boulevard, with stations at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in Leimert Park and Hyde Park.

The southern half of the line uses the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way, with stations in Fairview Heights and downtown Inglewood, ending at the Westchester/Veterans Station, near La Cienega Boulevard and Florence Avenue.

Free bus service will be provided from the Westchester/Veterans Station to the C (Green) Line’s Aviation/LAX Station. That future stretch of the K Line won’t open for about a year. According to Metro, the K Line station at Aviation and Century boulevards is set to open in fall 2023. It was unclear when the line will stretch beyond that point to the Aviation/LAX Station and merge with the C (Green) Line.

When that southern stretch of the K Line does open, it will initially bypass the planned LAX/Metro Transit Center Station, which is scheduled to open in late 2024. When it opens, that station will connect with the Automated People Mover that will carry passengers into the LAX terminal area.

The 8.5-mile K Line was originally planned for completion by 2020, but construction issues forced delays in the project, which was further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Metro initially delayed the roughly $2 billion project’s opening until early 2021, then pushed it back until 2022.

The Crenshaw/LAX line is seen as a critical element in providing alternative transportation to the airport. It is also expected to help relieve traffic on game days at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The rail line does not stop at the stadium, but Inglewood is pushing for construction of a roughly 1.8-mile people-mover system that will link the stadium with the nearest rail station.

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