Meet WLASNC Board Member: NW District Rep Partho Kalyani

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Partho Kalyani was recently chosen as the Northwest District representative for the WLASNC. 

 

What’s your history with West LA?

I have been visiting, working, or living in West LA since 2009.  My wife and I recently purchased a condominium in the Northwest district of the neighborhood.  

 

Outside of the NC what do you do with your time?

We enjoy food and travel. We love visiting local museums, cultural institutions, and exploring this amazing city that we all share. I also like to stay physically active on my bike or at the gym.

 

What do you like most about West LA?

I love that we are at the crossroads of LA’s finest colleges and universities, beaches, restaurants, and shopping. Everything our city can offer is literally at our fingertips. 

 

What would you like to see improved?

We need embrace our role as regional center of a global metropolis. It is imperative provide viable housing options for all our residents, from the young tech employee to our seniors looking to age in place. We should recognize each other’s viewpoint and find common ground. Adapting to inevitable change will allow all of us to enjoy a higher quality of life without compromising our neighborly feel and keep our existing local businesses flourishing.

 

What made you run for a Board seat in the WLASNC?

I want to provide a voice to a segment of our neighborhood that cannot or do not make it to our board meetings. Our neighborhood consists of 75% multifamily units and 63% renters, however their voice is rarely heard. I hope to represent the future generations of Angelenos who are looking to the forward to the next phase our city; those who are eager to shed the status quo.  Approximately 70% of this neighborhood rejected the disastrous Measure S Spring ballot initiative and an equal number voted for Metro’s Measure M sales tax increase but so few participate at the community-level.  The passion for real change is palpable and expected from our elected officials but so often the majority is drowned out by a vocal minority.

 

Development is huge in West LA. What’s your opinion on it all? Specifics are fine too if you’d like.

Development, traffic, lack of affordability, homelessness, and displacement are all symptoms of the same underlying condition affecting West LA’s residents and the region, our historic housing crisis. As Santa Monica and West LA have added thousands of jobs without building housing, our streets have turned into a noxious mix of idling cars, frustrated motorists, and unsafe pedestrian conditions as drivers rush to the 405 on a typical weekday evening. We need to focus development along transit corridors and take full advantage of Metro’s $1.5B Expo Line extension, the upcoming Purple Line extension, as well as the frequent bus lines on SMB and Wilshire allowing people to live closer to their workplaces.

 

Traffic is also a hot topic in West LA. How do you personally handle it? What are ways to mitigate it?

My wife and I take the Big Blue Bus to the Promenade or Westwood, walk to Brentwood or Sawtelle’s restaurants, and use pooled ride-share services or Metro Rail when traveling long-distances. We try to stay off the freeways during peak periods.

We should examine the root cause of traffic. Housing, offices, businesses, and people do not cause traffic; single-occupant vehicles cause traffic. There are tried-and-true methods that have worked locally and around the world:

1)     Freeway congestion pricing

·       Proven method to reduce single-occupant vehicle travel significantly. This will have an almost immediate impact by limiting non-essential travel while others will choose to carpool or take transit.

2)     Bus Rapid Transit

·       Allowing dedicated median-running bus lanes along wide boulevards like Santa Monica and Wilshire, we could see demonstrably shorter commute times very quickly for relatively cheap. These changes will prove to be initially unpopular with many drivers accustomed to the status quo. It will require some to rethink how they engage with their city, however people will adapt and we will all benefit. This will take political will and public buy-in.

3)     Rethink parking requirements

·       We must also stop subsidizing parking throughout the city especially within 0.5 miles of transit. Cheap and plentiful parking only leads to more cars on the road, even Caltrans has admitted as such.

4)     Embrace LADOT’s Vision Zero initiative.

·       Pushing for lighted, high-visibility crosswalks, mid-block crossings, and traffic calming measures can save a neighbor’s life. Allow alternative modes of commuting, i.e. protected bike lanes and bike sharing.