A proposed pedestrian bridge at the Studio City campus of Harvard-Westlake School continues to ignite controversy among nearby residents, as the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The bridge would span the width of Coldwater Canyon Avenue near the intersection of Hacienda Drive, connecting the campus to a planned three-story parking garage with a rooftop practice field for the school’s athletic teams. On its website, Harvard-Westlake argues that the new structure is necessary to meet the parking demands of students, faculty, and parents.
The project has been drawing the ire of neighbors for years, but that tension may now be coming to a head as the Los Angeles Planning Commission prepares to weigh in on it. On Tuesday, the planning department will host a public hearing at Van Nuys City Hall to gather public comment.
But many members of the community have already made plain their feelings about the project. A neighborhood group called Save Coldwater Canyon has emerged to oppose the bridge, arguing that Harvard-Westlake’s plan would “disfigure our foothills, urbanize our community, and add to congestion.”
A final environmental impact report on the project includes dozens of letters from neighbors taking issue with the project, as well as a petition from Save Coldwater Canyon with hundreds of signatures. Many objected to the destruction of open space in the area, calling the project “atrocious” and a “behemoth.”
Others argued that it would create more traffic—particularly during its 30 month construction timeline—with no obvious public benefit (Harvard-Westlake is a private school).
Even Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne seems unimpressed with the school’s proposal. In a recent tweet, he called pedestrian bridges like this one “anti-urban and a waste of [money].”
A spokesperson for the planning department tells the Daily News that the planning commission could make a decision on the project as soon as September.