The Los Angeles World Airport authority undertook a HUGE and very controversial homeowner relocation program in the 1960s and 1970s. Their goal was to eliminate noise lawsuits by purchasing and demolishing homes in the neighborhoods that butted immediately up against LAX
These included three main areas:
Playa del Rey
: This is the area that we've been talking about in this thread. It was a pretty well-off area, comprised of beach-style homes built in the 1930s and 1940s - similar to El Segundo and Redondo/Hermosa Beach. Unfortunately, after the north runway complex was opened in 1959, these homes were directly underneath departing aircraft. This was one of the first areas to be cleared under the program.
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Photo © Beat Hagen
These homes were were literally only a few hundred yards from Runway 6L
/24R when it opened in 1970. They were acquired and removed from 1970-1975 - this area was the scene of some of the fiercest opposition from homeowners.
After the demolition of the houses, Westchester Boulevard was realigned across the former neighborhood (see the road paralleling the runway on the left of the picture) although some of the old streets are still visible. If you land on 24R, look to the right, and you'll see some of the former streets and foundations of South Westchester.
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Photo © AirNikon
Another neighborhood doomed by the construction of the north runway complex. As you can see in the photo above, there was once a neighborhood where all those rental-car and long-term parking lots used to be - complete with an elementary school!
Unfortunately, aircraft on final to the north runways passed just a few hundred feet overhead - hard to imagine, but you came as low over the housetops as you now do at Chicago Midway and San Diego! It's easy to see why this neighborhood was singled out for removal.
If you look at the photo above (from 1971) you can see that almost half of the homes in East Westchester are already gone. In a stunning example of urban foresight, the city turned the area into the lovely mess of barbed-wire fences and parking lots that it is today.
Apparently this program was HUGELY controversial, and lawsuits stemming from eminent-domain home removals tied up the LA
courts and city council for years. If those neighborhoods hadn't been removed, there'd be homes coming right up to the perimeter fence at LAX
- although it's hard to imagine the airport feeling more hemmed-in then it already does.