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Pedestrian Zone Proposal for Robertson Blvd. Nixed

The City Council does not support idea to create a pedestrian zone along Robertson Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard on Saturday nights during the summer.

A proposal to create a pedestrian zone on Robertson Boulevard near on Saturday nights during the summer was shot down at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Councilmember John D’Amico suggested the city close off Robertson Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard to the entrance to the pay parking lot adjacent to on Saturday nights to create a pedestrian zone.

Noting that foot traffic already routinely spills into the street due to the narrow sidewalks in front of The Abbey and Here Lounge, often leaving cars incapable of moving, D’Amico proposed having street vendors in the area or putting up tables and chairs in the street to add to the pedestrian zone atmosphere.

Other council members weren’t thrilled by the idea. Mayor Pro Tem Abbe Land said that since the area was already busy on a Saturday night, there wasn't much reason for the city to try to bring more people there.

Councilmember John Heilman said that Robertson Boulevard already has plenty of excitement on a Saturday night, suggesting a better place for a pedestrian zone might be a block west on La Peer Drive or in West Hollywood Park. Heilman also suggested doing it on a slower night of the week would be better.

Mayor Jeff Prang, who co-sponsored the proposal, defended the idea, saying that having open public space would be a good amenity for the area.

Public weighs in

During public comment, several business owners along that stretch of Robertson Boulevard spoke against the idea, saying it would hurt their business, especially the valet parking lots there.

Councilmember John Duran suggested if they were to do the idea, the city could lease the lot from King Valet on Saturday nights and extend the pedestrian zone into that lot.

Another public commenter said that seeing sheriff’s deputies in the area with guns on their belts would scare people. Another commenter said that having deputies there would make people feel safer.

Santa Monica Boulevard Business Improvement District

Land, Heilman and Duran all suggested that the proposed Santa Monica Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID) should be the one to tackle such an idea. The city has long talked about creating a BID for the businesses in the Boystown area, similar to the BID along the Sunset Strip.

“If the city does everything, why would the BID get created?” Land asked, pointing out that if the BID were to initiate it, the idea would be more organic than if the city did it.

Not sensing enough support, D’Amico never called the item to a vote. Instead, the Council instructed City Manager Paul Arevalo to study the idea and report back to the Council in July.

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Insider May 10, 2012 at 04:59 PM
What about encouraging folks to walk into the park? There's lots of room to walk around, and Abbey patrons already use the adjacent children's play area as a restroom.
90069 May 10, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Using the park is not a bad idea, however it isn't a "natural" pattern for the already existing crowds of people. As someone who has lived near this intersection for years I know that the traffic is already at a standstill, why not just close the street and have a detour. The sidewalks are too small for the number of people trying to get from the Abbey to the rest of Boystown. Not only is this unsafe it is just not a nice environment when it could be best for the City and visitors if instead of being crammed on the sidewalk they have an area to walk, chat, and congregate without being in a loud noisy bar. Kudos to the council members who are actually trying to be proactive when it comes to safety issues as well as just making West Hollywood a better destination for tourists, one of Weho's main draws and access to tax revenue. An earlier commentator is off base when he or she suggests this will cost jobs. The lot will not be shut down. There will be access to the lot from the south. Read the article more clearly.
joninla May 11, 2012 at 02:29 AM
I think Mr. D'Amico suggestion was posed in too large of a 'project' rather than finally doing something about the problem of the sidewalk being just too narrow for regular daily use, and a dangerous 'serious accident waiting to happen' because of a sidewalk so narrow I can not think of one smaller anywhere. But even if Mr. D'Amico had made a more concise suggestion or any suggestion to the rest of the City Council (good bad or obviously needed and desirable to everyone) it seems to me that the City Council does not like Mr. D'Amico even thinking he can add, contribute or affect any changes to the CIty and plans for change, which are the personal and exclusive property of the ego's and psyches of the 25 year incumbents who think they know best, but have become so far removed from the local residents and conditions they are the last people on earth to make plans for changes to our city. I am sorry Mr. D'Amico - I think if this was not the first time, it was a repeat of the same message the rest of the council has about your ideas ever being included in or given any credit at all for what 'they' decided do with 'their' city. Politics and egos are the enemy to Mr. D'Amico's suggestions that are always 'shot down'.
DNB May 11, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Well said. The CC council has tuned it's back on the promise of WEHO, and turned it into a profit center for real estate developers. They are shameless in there disregard for their concern of the residents.
90069 May 11, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Agreed that the attitude of downright dismisal tells volumes of how the current city council feels about Mr. D'Amico position as well as Boystown visitors and residents in general. Sad.


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