The Threat

Harvard-Westlake Parking Expansion

In 2013, Harvard-Westlake launched an unprecedented parking plan, to the shock and surprise of its neighbors. Rather than benefitting the community, the plan would disfigure our foothills, urbanize our community, and add to congestion.

Since then, the community opposition to this massive project has grown steadily. In 2016, the School released a revised plan, only to make their proposed project LARGER, excavating MORE of the hillside, and taking LONGER to complete. The Final EIR (Environmental Impact Report) is due out Spring 2017. Soon thereafter there will be PUBLIC HEARINGS and more opportunities to COMMENT. Read more to find out why so many residents, commuters and environmentalists oppose this unnecessary and destructive project.

Here’s what the school wants to do:



Put an athletic field on top of the parking garage. The artificial turf would be surrounded by fencing rising another 3 stories high and 14 light poles that beam lights down from a height of over 80 feet. Games/practices will be played until (they say) 8:00 pm on weeknights.


This is the bridge that the Wilson Geosciences expert report says is “likely to fail” in a moderate to large earthquake.

Traffic & Construction

Original estimate: 2 years and 9 months

160 trucks per day, 6 days a week for 9-12 months.

Flagmen stopping traffic for trucks, cranes and backhoes.

All this after 3 years of DWP trunk line construction.


The Los Angeles Times reports that 1,300 cars per hour drive Coldwater Canyon.  During the years of construction, road closures and delays would bring traffic to a grinding halt.  If the garage is allowed to be built, a net increase of over 500 cars would routinely drive Coldwater — adding to the rush hour commute and creating even worse traffic delays and congestion.

Do we really want Canyon-Geddon II?

The Environmental Damage

Loss or damage to 130 protected oak and walnut trees, plus removal of hundreds of other trees and shrubs on the hillside.

“Human-intolerant mammal and bird species would permanently decline.” (SMMC Comment Letter, 9/23/13)

The creation of a “multi-acre disturbance zone” in a known wildlife corridor. (SMMC Comment Letter, 9/23/13)


Light and noise pollution from the athletic field.

Loss of scenic vistas.

Numerous sensitive and threatened species live on site!

Damage to air and water during construction.


The Law

The school must obtain carve-outs from the City Planning Commission, the Board of Public Works, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission and the Los Angeles City Council. The school wants to change all of the following:
Permitted Use: The land is zoned for very low and minimum residential use. That means a maximum of 4 single-family homes. That would be about 16,000 square feet, compared to the more than 100,000 square feet of parking and 64,000 square feet of an athletic field proposed by the school.
Setbacks: They want to reduce the 25 feet required.
Height: They want to exceed the 30-feet limit.
Airspace: They want to build a land bridge as if Coldwater were a freeway.

Excavation: They want to remove 137,000 cubic yards of soil – over 400 million pounds. Basically, the hillside.

cubic yards photo

The Need

There is none.

The School’s own lawyers have repeatedly told the City that, at their current enrollment, 436 spaces were more than adequate to meet the needs of the campus.  They already have 568 – 30% more than they need.  If the new garage is built, they will have 1,226 – nearly three times what they need.

The school claims to have no plans to increase enrollment, yet their lawyers argue they have no enrollment cap to stop them.

The school already has a state-of-the-art sports field on the east side of Coldwater Canyon, and routinely buses their athletes to nearby practice fields.


The school claims to have no plans to build new facilities on the existing parking lots.

The school claims there will be no increase in traffic to the school and the plan will actually reduce traffic (did you ever know a property owner who added 750 new parking spaces so it could reduce traffic to its property?).

If everything the school claims is true, why do they need this?
And why should all these exceptions be made just for them?