Just north of LAX on Westchester Parkway, remnants of old streets have been overgrown with weeds. Streetlight posts without their lamps line the street – they look like relics of a forgotten neighborhood.
KCRW listener (and Metropolis fan) Jen Manning has lived in Westchester, walking distance from LAX, for years. She’d always been intrigued by the empty land. She even noticed other similar fenced-off areas as she drove to the west of LAX, near Dockweiler Beach.
She wondered what used to be in the empty lots. “I find it fascinating that you don’t see any signs of a foundation of a house, but the roads stayed,” she said.
So she asked Curious Coast “What are the streets, curbs and street lights (but no houses) behind fences just west and north of LAX.”
Hers was one of several LAX-related questions:
Nick Cappello asked “What’s the history of the LAX dunes?
Judi Oergel asked “I wonder about the beach houses that were located in Playa del Rey on the bluffs that are currently owned by LAX.”
LAX owns a lot of land. (According to the airport’s website, over 2,950 acres of active airport and 700 additional acres that includes the El Segundo Dunes).
Manchester Square, a neighborhood west of LAX, is now almost entirely in the hands of the Los Angeles World Airport, which runs LAX. Over the last two decades, the airport authority has been buying homes in the neighborhood through eminent domain. The plan is use the land for a public transportation hub, a consolidated rental car facility and parking lots- with a goal of easing congestion around the airport.
We want to find out why so much of it is empty. What used to be there? Who was displaced?
Finally, we want to find out about a small endangered species and how the LAX dunes are helping to preserve the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly.
What do you want to know about LAX or anything else? Ask us!
Curious Coast is a project made possible by the supporters of KCRW and a grant from Antioch University Santa Barbara.