STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES - Holding signs and chanting, protesters rallied at the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Boulevard in Studio City to voice their concerns about what they call a potential traffic nightmare.
"Coldwater traffic is bad enough, and the school wants to build a project that takes 3 years?" said resident Sarah Boyd.
On the table is a $50 million, three-story athletic field and parking structure with a private bridge over Coldwater Canyon Avenue proposed by the Harvard-Westlake School.
Opponents like Boyd say on top of snarling traffic during construction, the plan raises safety concerns for students trying to get from the new site to the main campus.
"They're supposed to take a bridge which would be a private bridge over this public canyon, but if they don't take the bridge they could easily get hurt," said Boyd. "There are extreme safety concerns."
Protesters are also worried about environmental impacts.
"The project proposed is on the west side, and the amount of earth they want to excavate is staggering. It would destroy 147 protected trees -- oak and walnut trees," said Boyd.
"They're going to move a mountain and shut down Coldwater Canyon for almost three years on and off," said resident Edward Lozzi.
On its website, the school defends the plan, saying it would improve traffic flow by adding an extra through lane on Coldwater, and eliminate off-site parking in the surrounding neighborhoods during school hours.
The school's president reacted to the rally in a statement, saying, "Our democracy protects the right of our project's opponents to organize peaceful protests like the one this morning. This is a value we teach on our own campus. For our part, we're focused on conducting classes today."