Positions and Resolutions

1.  LETTER REGARDING INSTALLATION OF BUS ONLY LANE ON WILSHIRE BLVD

Westwood Community Council, Inc.

c/o Law Office of Charles H. Magnuson

10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1400

Los Angeles, CA  90024

July 25, 2010

Ms. Martha Butler

Project Manager

Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO)

One Gateway Plaza, 99-23-1

Los Angeles, CA  90012

Via email:  wilshirebrt@metro.net

In Re:  Proposed Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Dear Ms. Butler:

The Westwood Community Council, Inc. is the broadest-based Westwood community organization, representing some 140,000 stakeholders in the 90024 community, including homeowner associations, multi-family residential dwellers, business organizations, schools, religious groups, volunteer service groups, public safety, and environmental organizations.  Our Council boundaries are Sunset Boulevard on the north, Santa Monica Boulevard on the south, the Beverly Hills border on the east, and the 405 Freeway on the west.

At its regularly scheduled meeting on July 20, 2010, the Westwood Community Council received a comprehensive presentation and briefing from representatives of METRO and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on the proposed Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.  Following this presentation and questions and answers, our Council voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolution opposing the proposed BRT segment on Wilshire Boulevard between Comstock Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard in Westwood.

Our Council supported the NO PROJECT alternative between Comstock Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard for the following reasons as discussed at its meeting:

• There is currently no traffic delay during peak hours between Comstock and Glendon avenues along the residential mile.  If a goal of the BRT is to improve traffic flow, it will not do so in the Westwood segment.

• There is no justification for the assumption that the number of people moved will increase because buses will go faster.

• The removal of parking spaces on Wilshire (almost 100) and the loss of delivery access to numerous high-rise residential buildings during peak hours will cause severe problems for residents, schools, churches, synagogues, and businesses.  Labeling these impacts as a “social issue” in no way diminishes the severity of the adverse impact.

• The removal of mature trees along the Wilshire parkway will cause significant impacts on quality of life and air quality, and will decrease natural barriers to traffic noise.

Westwood United Methodist Church Pre-School located on Wilshire at Warner Avenue would lose an important buffer zone between the school and the proposed Wilshire bus lane, and would also suffer the significant loss of mature trees in front of Belmont Village Westwood and the Church, which won city approval only a few years ago.

Ms. Martha Butler July 25, 2010 Page Two

• Increased noise and vibration impacts will occur from buses running closer to residential high-rises and a pre-school.

• Cut-through traffic in the adjacent single family neighborhoods to the north and south of Wilshire Boulevard will reduce quality of life and create safety issues.

• Four significantly impacted intersections in our community cannot be mitigated and likely will be worsened.  The inability to mitigate a currently severely impacted intersection does not justify further worsening of the impact.

• Traffic delays for automobiles will increase substantially on Wilshire between Comstock and Sepulveda if 2 lanes are removed in order to make them bus-only lanes.  Traffic will idle and gridlock will occur in areas where currently these problems do not exist.

• A severe bottleneck will occur as drivers enter and exit the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, thus increasing gridlock and adding to environmental degradation.

• A public safety issue would exist if jut-outs are removed.  Safe egress from the high-rises would be impossible with the bus lane only a few feet away.

• There is no justification that the BRT will shift riders from auto to public transit.

• With two lanes eliminated during peak a.m. and p.m. rush hours, two of three Rapid Bus Lines (720 and 920) will be squeezed into mixed-flow lanes, thus adding to increased congestion for automobiles.

• A significant adverse impact on property values will occur.

• METRO’s own DEIR study in 2001 for a similar project concluded that buses traveling through Westwood achieve good travel times, and do not experience delays.

• A recent test run of the Wilshire bus-only lane in West Los Angeles, between Federal and Centinela avenues, produced extremely harmful results for the business community, and the test was terminated early as a result of the significant negative impacts on that community.

• The planned Westside extension of the Wilshire Subway (Purple Line) to Westwood, which will provide a 26-minute ride from Westwood to Downtown L.A., obviates the need for this proposed BRT project in Westwood.  According to a very recent statement by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the Mayor’s “30-10” Plan has been very positively received by Federal officials, and is expected to expedite completion of the Wilshire Subway extension to Westwood/UCLA and to the VA campus within the next ten years.

• The only improvement this segment of Wilshire Boulevard needs is resurfacing.

The proposed project and Alternatives A and B each have stretches of Wilshire which do NOT include bus-only lanes.  The Westwood Community Council supports the exclusion of bus-only lanes on the Wilshire segment between Comstock and Sepulveda.  It supports retention of the jut-outs and the NO PROJECT alternative in Westwood.  A separate letter dated July 24, 2010 was sent by Jackie Freedman on behalf of our Council, listing the questions that were asked at our meeting; it is incorporated herein by this reference.  Finally, attached for your information is the roster of our Councilmembers, showing their many affiliations in the Westwood community.

Sincerely,

Steven D. Sann

Chair

Westwood Community Council, Inc.

cc:  The Hon. Paul Koretz, Fifth District Councilmember

Westwood Community Council – 2010 Board of Directors Roster

1.    Linda M. Blank, Vice President, Westwood Homeowners Association; Board member, Friends of Westwood Library; Attorney at Law

2.    Dr. Jerry Brown, President, The Diplomat Condominium Homeowners Association; Board member, Wilshire Corridor Condominium Presidents Association

3.    Sandy Brown, President, Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association: Founding member, Westwood-Holmby Historical Society; Co-Founder, Friends of Westwood; member, The Diplomat Condominium Homeowners Association; past Co-Chair, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee

4.    Robert Bucksbaum, Board member, West L.A. Little League; member, Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association; owner, The Majestic Crest Theatre; President, Reelsource

5.    Rick Chancellor, member, Westwood Business Improvement District Formation Committee; Vice President, The McDevitt Company

6.    Jessica P. Dabney, member, Westwood Business Improvement District Formation Committee; Chair, Westwood Village Farmers’ Market Board of Directors; past member, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; Director of Brokerage, North American Realty Company

7.    Joyce L. Foster, past President, Westwood Homeowners Association; past member, Westwood Community Design Review Board; Board member, Film LA; past member, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; past Vice President, Los Angeles Building & Safety Commission; Vice President and past President, West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission

8.    Jackie Freedman, past Co-President, Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association; Co-President, Coalition for Veterans Lands; Co-Founder, Friends of Westwood

9.    Gail Friedman, Board member, Friends of Westwood Library; member, Westwood Village Business Association; Co-Owner, Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers (Service and Civic Groups/Recreation Organization Stakeholder Representative)

10.  Philip Gabriel, Board member, AYSO Soccer, Region 70; member, West L.A. Little League; member, Warner Avenue Elementary School WAVE Foundation; member, Westwood Village Business Association; past member, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; past Board member, Westwood Village Community Alliance Business Improvement District; Board member, Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association; owner, Scrubs Unlimited and Baskin Robbins – Westwood Village

11.  Merrie “Niki” Gewirtz, Executive Director, Belmont Village Westwood (Westwood Senior Living/Retirement/Assistant Living Residential Stakeholder Representative)

12.  Robert E. “Reg” Gipson, member, Westwood United Methodist Church; member, Westwood Homeowners Association; Senior Partner, Gipson Hoffman & Pancione

13.  John K. Heidt, past President, Westwood United Methodist Church; Board member, Westwood Village Rotary Club; member, Westwood Homeowners Association; President, Heidt Torres Co.

14.  Michelle Heilpern, Immediate past Co-President, Westwood Village Synagogue; member, Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association; President, Perfect Paris

15.  Cyrus Hekmat, Partner, Indivest, Center West, Murdock Plaza, Plaza La Reina & Wilshire-Gayley Associates

16.  David Hekmat, owner, Mary & Robb’s Westwood Café; President, Westwood Corporate Foods, Inc.

17.  Ren T. Hirose, General Manager, W Los Angeles – Westwood Hotel

18.  Dr. Laura Lake, Co-President, Save Westwood Village; Co-President, Coalition for Veterans Lands; member and past Board member, Westwood Homeowners Association; Co-Founder, Friends of Westwood; President, Lake & Lake Consulting, Inc.

19.  Carole H. Magnuson, Vice President – Land Use and Immediate Past President, Westwood Hills Property Owners Association; Founding member, Westwood Community Design Review Board; member, Westwood Hills Garden Club; member, St. Albans Episcopal Church; past member, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; Executive Director Emeritus, UCLA Office of Community, State & Local Government Relations

20.  Charles H. Magnuson, member, Westwood Hills Property Owners Association; Founding member, Friends of Westwood Library; member, St. Albans Episcopal Church; Attorney at Law

21.  Michael S. Metcalfe, Co-President, Save Westwood Village; past President, Westwood Homeowners Association; member, St. Paul The Apostle Church; Principal, Metcalfe Associates

22.  Alvin S. Milder, Vice President, Westwood Hills Property Owners Association; Founder, UCLA Watch; Attorney at Law

23.  Shannon K. Montoya, member, Westwood Village Business Association; past member, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; Event Sales Manager, Napa Valley Grille

24.  Debbie Nussbaum, Board member and Traffic Committee Chair, Westwood Hills Property Owners Association; member, L.A.P.D. West Bureau Traffic Committee

25.  Jan Reichmann, Founding President, Comstock Hills Homeowners Association; member, Santa Monica Boulevard Parkway Task Force; Realtor, Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills Previews

26.  Stephen Resnick, President, Westwood Homeowners Association

27.  Mark K. Rogo, Board member, Blair House Homeowners Association; President, Friends of Westwood Library; member, Westwood Village Rotary Club; Treasurer, Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association; Realtor, Coldwell Banker Previews International

28.  Steven D. Sann, Chair, Westwood Village Business Association; Board member, Friends of Westwood Library; Advisory Board member, Westwood Village Farmers’ Market; past Co-Chair, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; Partner, Tengu, NINETHIRTY & The Backyard at the W

29.  Clinton Schudy, member, Westwood Village Business Association; past member, L.A. Film Festival Westwood Host Committee; owner, Oakley’s Barber Shop

30.  Jason H. Somers, member, Montana Regency Association; Project Development Manager, Pacific Crest Consultants

31.  Margaret G. Souders, Senior Vice President, Westwood Horizons Corporation and Executive Director, Westwood Horizons Retirement Community

32.  Carol Spencer, Vice President and Traffic Committee Chair, Comstock Hills Homeowners Association; member, L.A.P.D. West Bureau Traffic Committee; member, Santa Monica Boulevard Parkway Task Force; member, St. Paul The Apostle Church

33.  Terry A. Tegnazian, President, Westwood Hills Property Owners Association; Co-Founder, Friends of Westwood Library; Founder, Los Angeles Musical Salon; Partner, Incal Associates, Ltd.; President, Aquila Polonica Publishing; Attorney at Law

34.  Nicholas Vartanian, member, UCLA Graduate Students Association; member, UCLA Weyburn Terrace Association

35.  Wolfgang Veith, President, North Westwood Village Residents’ Association

36.  Laura Winikow, member and past Board member, Fairburn Youth Association; Vice President, Friends of Westwood Library; Board member, Comstock Hills Homeowners Association

37.  Joseph Yoshitomi, member, Westwood Village Business Association; Director of Marketing, Geffen Playhouse

Letters and resolutions

 

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