Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
bicycle lanes

Political Earthquake in Westwood

2:20 PM PDT on May 25, 2018

Westwood’s new neighborhood council could help catalyze more progressive initiatives there

A May 22 neighborhood council vote could dramatically shift the future course of Westwood. Unofficial tallies show that 58 percent voted to form a new neighborhood council to represent UCLA campus, Westwood Village, Westwood Boulevard south of Wilshire Boulevard and the multi-family neighborhoods to the west and south of campus.

For some 35 years homeowner association leaders have claimed to be the “voice of the community” in Westwood. They’ve been well organized and quite City Hall savvy. During this time many other residents, business owners, students, UCLA faculty and others have felt left out and frustrated by the process. Westwood was one of the last parts of Los Angeles to have a neighborhood council because the homeowner association leaders resisted it, knowing it could mean sharing power with others. Once it was formed, they co-opted it and have controlled a strong majority of the seats on the existing Westwood Neighborhood Council.

After that, the Westwood Neighborhood Council created a track record of opposing bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, opposing businesses that would bring activity such as live music or billiards, opposing new affordable housing for students, and being quite open about saying that renters and students shouldn’t have a voice in Westwood. UCLA students organized Westwood Forward to create this breakaway neighborhood council. Their successful effort could mean a real shift in course for Westwood. The new neighborhood council is likely to be friendlier to bike lanes, street designs that favor pedestrians, street life, nighttime activity and public transit.

This political earthquake may help Westwood to become the hip neighborhood that it ought to be. Home to UCLA, this university community should be one of the more progressive and more interesting parts of Los Angeles. Instead, it has arguably been the sterile epicenter of NIMBYism for decades. I’m looking forward to it!

Ryan Snyder is a transportation planning consultant, a member of the UCLA Urban Planning faculty and a resident of Westwood. Follow Snyder on Twitter.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Measure HLA Fact Check: Sidewalk Costs

The city says $200 million worth of annual ADA work is "included in the cost" of Measure HLA, but the city is already on the hook for that ADA work anyway, so none of it should be included as HLA costs

March 1, 2024

Supervisor Hahn Calls for No Residential Demolitions in Metro’s 710 Freeway Corridor Project

"[For 710 Freeway expansion] Metro needs to commit itself to zero residential property takes. [Metro] should have as one its top priorities ensuring that our projects do not result in kicking people out of their homes."

February 29, 2024

Where Does Alhambra Stand in the BRT Plan for the 60 Freeway Corridor?

The city is not quite in the 60 Freeway corridor; but there is a strong case and appetite for Bus Rapid Transit there

February 28, 2024
See all posts