North Westwood Neighborhood Council recap – May 27
May 28, 2020 12:29 p.m.
The North Westwood Neighborhood Council is the official neighborhood council representing Westwood Village and UCLA to the Los Angeles City Council. Council meetings are open to the public and held monthly. The next meeting will be held virtually June 3.
General Public Comment
Westwood Community Council Chair Steve Sann alerted the council to the significant impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the businesses of Westwood Village, urging council members to consult business owners before arguing for new policies. Many businesses in the Village have been forced to close due to lack of foot traffic in Westwood, including “legacy businesses” Stan’s Donuts and Helen’s Cycles. Flame Broiler, Victoria’s Secret and 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen have also been forced to close and may not reopen.
The council passed a motion to remove forms of hostile architecture in Westwood by a 10-3 margin. Councilmember Andrew Lewis proposed removing dividers from benches and public spaces that prevent people experiencing homelessness from sleeping comfortably on public benches. “If people cannot sleep comfortably above the ground, they will sleep uncomfortably, or on the ground, and neither of these are a public good,” said Grayson Peters, member of the council’s transportation and safety committee.
Peter Clinco, owner of Skylight Gardens, voted against the measure and said the removal of hostile architecture is a temporary solution to the much larger problem of homelessness in Westwood. The removal of such architecture will encourage homelessness, Clinco said, and may dissuade people from conducting business in Westwood. Councilmembers Josh Trifunovic and Kevin Crummy also voted against the motion.
The council unanimously approved a resolution urging the city of Los Angeles to continue accelerating the repaving of traffic corridors during the coronavirus pandemic without infringing upon the implementation of Mobility Plan 2035, which calls for the creation of more bike lanes and upgraded crosswalks.
The council passed a motion to support Project Roomkey, proposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, which calls to secure hotel and motel rooms for unhoused individuals statewide during the COVID-19 crisis. The project aims to limit the spread of the virus on city streets and within homeless shelters by providing hotel rooms as temporary shelters. The council passed an amendment encouraging Los Angeles to coerce, rather than incentivize, hotels to provide rooms for those currently unhoused.
The council voted unanimously in favor of requesting that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation establish a “slow streets” program while stay-at-home orders are in place. This program would close off streets across LA to vehicular traffic, including Broxton Avenue and Gayley Avenue, designating them as “slow streets.” This would allow locals to walk or exercise safely along Westwood streets while adhering to social distancing guidelines. The council previously discussed the topic during its May 6 meeting.