50 Years Ago Today: Passenger Projections & Financial Feasibility Report For An LAX Monorail Project

Goodell monorail coach (Click to enlarge)

Whether considered for alignment following the Los Angeles River, or connecting the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, Los Angeles’ historic monorail proposals each have their own fascinating story.

Fifty years ago today, transportation consultant Arthur C. Jenkins submitted his Preliminary Report On A Goodell Monorail Passenger System Between Los Angeles International Airport And The Wilshire-Downtown Areas.

The report’s conclusions found that such a “practical, high-speed, light weight, attractive and convenient passenger line” would divert passengers who would otherwise use the airport bus line or their own automobiles.

It was estimated that potential annual traffic for the year 1965 would reach 3,387,000.

If the Goodell System retained the then-current rate for airport buses ($1.25), it was estimated that passenger revenue in the same year would reach $3,991,000 — with an average annual revenue by 1975 of over $7 million.

Goodell monorail proposal, 1961 (Click to enlarge)

Three routing proposals were studied: from LAX east along Century Boulevard before turning north along the Harbor Freeway, northeasterly along Slauson Avenue, and a slight variation which included Hoover Street and Exposition Boulevard.

One notable selling point was the au courant nature of such as system, which was consistent with burgeoning jet travel.

Except for the attractive downtown ticket offices, the modernistic and futuristic appeal of the airline passenger industry is in effect isolated behind the entrance gates of the airports.

Outside those gates, the airline passenger descends from the fantasy of his lofty luxury into the realities of the perpetual battle of street traffic congestion.  He is at the mercy of the automobile.

The report goes on to say that it is “evident” that the only practical means of airline passenger conveyance is an elevated transportation system.

The vast expanse of available space above the paved surfaces of the street system offers almost unlimited possibilities as a means of relieving vehicular traffic congestion in metropolitan areas.

Furthermore, it states that the easiest and perhaps most convenient point for a terminal downtown would be at the Pacific Electric Railway Building located downtown on the southeast corner of 6th and Main Streets, then in use by the Metrpolitan Transit Authority.

The system would be fifteen to eighteen miles long, depending on the route.

This particular proposal listed two stops at LAX, two downtown, one in the Civic Center, three along Wilshire Boulevard, and possible future stations at the Coliseum and Hollywood Park.

At 60mph, passengers would be traveling between downtown and LAX in just 15-18 minutes.

We hope to put this monorail proposal in its proper context amongst other proposals in the future, but we didn’t want this anniversary to slip by — especially without sharing these wonderful images of the proposed passenger cars.

The suggested tailfins were certainly a nice touch!