Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

GWNC Transportation Meeting Scheduling Stirs Controversy

A GWNC Transportation Committee meeting has been scheduled to discuss traffic control systems, similar to those shown at the intersection of Rosewood and La Brea, proposed for two intersections in Hancock Park at 4th Street and Highland and Rossmore Avenues. (Photo from GWNC)

Notice of a special meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Transportation Committee, to discuss traffic controls at two Hancock Park intersections, stunned Hancock Park leaders when it hit their inboxes on Sunday afternoon.  The meeting, noticed as “LADOT Presents “Stress-Free Connections” and Takes Your Questions at a Transportation Committee Special Meeting Weds. at 5:30 p.m.” is a joint meeting of the Transportation Committee and the Board. It was called by Conrad Starr, the GWNC’s new president and current chair of the council’s Transportation Committee, without the knowledge of the leaders of the Hancock Park Homeowners’ Association, who represent the neighborhood where LA DOT is proposing to make “Stress-Free Connections.”

The topic of intersection improvements has been anything but stress-free for local leaders and residents, who say they have been baffled by LA DOT’s unwillingness to meet with them recently, despite many requests for a meeting to discuss plans to install bike lights and restricted turns at intersections at 4th Street and Highland and Rossmore Avenues. The improvement proposals have been around in various forms since 2011, and are supported by Streets for All, a local bike organization. But residents on Highland and Rossmore Avenues have long opposed the lights as both unnecessary and unwelcome, saying there have been no accidents at either intersection, no data supporting the need for the lights, and and that installing additional lights will clog traffic on Rossmore, making it impossible for residents to exit their driveways. In addition, residents say neighborhood already has a number of restricted turns, and they fear more will make it harder for people to get to their homes.

“We have been asking for a meeting with DOT since December to provide us with data, explain their proposals and address the deeply flawed survey circulated by the department that assumes these changes need to be made, yet we  have not seen any data to support those assumptions,” Hancock Park HOA President Cindy Chvatal-Keane told the Buzz.

But the meeting seems to be an effort by Starr to address the long-standing issue, and told the Buzz he called the meeting because it was on his agenda.

Today, Chvatal-Keane said James Kim, a DOT official, told her the department would not meet with Hancock Park separately, despite Chvatal-Keane’s concerns that local residents were only given three days notice for the meeting, and could be denied an opportunity to ask DOT officials questions in a forum controlled by the GWNC. According to the GWNC agenda, “members of the Transportation Committee and the GWNC Board may speak for two minutes each. Members of the public may speak for one minute each and LADOT representatives will be invited to respond to questions.”

So Chvatal-Keane is continuing to press for a nore neighborhood-focused meeting and recently enlisted assistance from the Mayor’s office.

“We will not allow your voices to be marginalized. We promise to give you all sufficient notice of a new time and date for the meeting with LADOT, at which you will be heard,” wrote Chvatal-Keane in an email to residents, advising them not to attend the Wednesday’s special meeting.

The GWNC Transportation Committee and the residents of Hancock Park have been at odds on this issue for quite some time. However, both recently agreed to hold a joint meeting about the proposed street improvements because a forum had been scheduled for the April 14 GWNC board meeting but was cancelled at the last minute when the GWNC’s executive board determined that the meeting agenda – which also included seating of the newly elected board members – would be excessively long. (As we reported last week, the meeting ran more than three hours before it was adjourned with much of its agenda unaddressed.  It was continued to this Wednesday.)

The GWNC has consistently opposed bike lights and restricted turns on 4th street since they were first proposed in 2011.

But many Hancock Park residents say they support improvements to make 4th street more accessible to everyone, said Chvatal-Keane, stressing the word “everyone,” not just those on bikes.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. Patricia, I understand your desire to paint the HOA, and its President, as speaking for Hancock Park residents, but that is not the case. There are many residents of Hancock Park—namely leasees—for whom Chvatal-Keane does not speak. I am a resident of Hancock Park not represented by the HOA, and did not receive the email from Chvatal-Keane that you refer to, however I am represented by (and can vote for) the GWNC. The neighborhood council meeting is in fact the “neighborhood focused meeting.” As a resident of the neighborhood and a cyclist, I see the matter very differently to the HOA and appreciate that I have the opportunity to speak at a public meeting and reject the idea that public officials should be forced into private meetings with homeowners to decide this matter.

  2. This method of public outreach is not only being used in Hancock Park but by MidCity West CC as well. It’s unfortunate that a body of individuals who are elected to represent the neighborhood don’t care to do the outreach they should and instead resort to these tactics to get their agenda’s passed. In addition to this, ANYTHING that “Streets for All” says should be noted as likely being backed by deep pocket special interest groups along with ride share and E-Scooter companies who’s main goal is to make our streets as unfriendly to automobiles as possible in order to make ride sharing services a necessity. The dark money non-profit won’t provide donor information or amounts and can’t be properly vetted on watchdog sites like either.

  3. I am confused. There is an unusual journalistic tone used in this article, which seems to make a veiled suggestion, pitting the GWNC against Cindy Chvatal. Further, as a longtime Hancock Park resident, I am not represented by the HPHOA as a renter. That group speaks only for a select number of residents in Hancock Park. Have I no voice? The GWNC, on the other hand, represents all residents. Not to mention, Hancock Park is fully represented on the GWNC — so they can present any concerns from its HOA members — in not one by two Board positions, as Cindy Chvatal is now a GWNC board member for the “non profit” position. It seems to me that an over-zealous Chvatal is attempting to use the Hancock Park moniker to push her own agenda while smearing the newly elected GWNC president. Shame!


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