The 750-Car Garage At Harvard-Westlake School

By Eric & Joshua Preven

By now it’s common knowledge in Los Angeles that Harvard-Westlake, an elite private middle and high school, is trying to erect a 750-car parking structure in the hillside residential neighborhood abutting its campus in Coldwater Canyon.

On October 10, the L.A. City Council was supposed to vote whether or not to grant Harvard-Westlake the first of many zoning variances the school needs to get the 750-car garage up and running; in particular, the Council would vote to grant or withhold the “air rights” necessary for HW to build its proposed private pedestrian skybridge over Coldwater Canyon Boulevard connecting the parking garage with the school’s campus. (Editor’s note: On October 10, the City Council vote was delayed until January 16. The Planning Commission has delayed indefinitely its vote on the project.)

What does Mayor Garcetti think of all this?

He’s an alumnus of the school but to date has not weighed in on the highly controversial project.

Mr. Garcetti could kill the project with a lift of his little pinkie. Why hasn’t he? His constituents in Coldwater Canyon have a right to know.

The proposed garage at Harvard-Westlake would house 750 cars.

In fact, his constituents in every corner of the city have a right to know, because a central goal of the Mayor’s overall transportation policy—including his Vision Zero Initiative and his Great Streets plan—is to “get people out of their cars” and have them use alternative modes of transportation, such as bicycles and busses.

Shouldn’t Harvard-Westlake parents and students also be looking for alternative ways to get to school? What kind of message does allowing the construction of the 750-car private parking garage in a residential neighborhood send to the public at large?

And one other detail the Mayor may appreciate, a 750-car parking garage is also roughly the size of three White Houses.

(Eric Preven and his brother Joshua, a Palisadian, are public advocates for better transparency in local government and can be reached at This piece originally appeared on the City- Watch site on October 2.)

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