WeHo’s Design District Getting ‘Streetscape’ Makeover

west hollywood design district streetscape
(Graphic from the Design District Streetscape Master Plan)

“Streetscaping” improvements are coming to West Hollywood Design District.

West Hollywood’s City Council unanimously approved plans Monday for a “streetscaping” plan along WeHo’s Design District (formerly known as the Avenues), which includes westside stretches of Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly boulevards.

The plans call for improvement to the overall aesthetics and mobility of the streets by widening sidewalks, adding bike lanes and reducing the number of lanes of traffic in some areas. Trees, street furniture, street art and lighting will be added. Medians with landscaping will also be installed. Additionally, four “community gathering spots” (mini-parks) will be constructed.

“This is a great plan,” said Mayor Abbe Land. “Overall, I’m very happy with it.”

Melrose Avenue will see the biggest changes with the street reduced to two lanes (one lane in each direction) with a left turn lane from Doheny Drive to La Cienega Boulevard. The plans eliminate the four-lane portions of Melrose Avenue near San Vicente Boulevard.

At the same time, the angled parking on Melrose will convert to parallel parking, eliminating 15 parking spaces. Angled parking is considered more dangerous for bicycles traveling the road. However, angled parking will remain on the north side of Melrose in front of the Pacific Design Center to avoid eliminating too much parking.

Councilmember Jeffrey Prang said he is concerned about the reduced parking.

“We’re a parking-deprived city,” said Prang.

west hollywood design district streetscape
(Graphic from the Design District Streetscape Master Plan)

The “community gathering spaces” will be created in four spots – Beverly Boulevard at Bonner Drive, the southeast corner of Melrose and Robertson, the southeast corner of Melrose and Norwich Drive and the southwest corner of Melrose at La Cienega. Tables, chairs and other street furniture will be added. Specific designs for each of the gathering spots has not yet been determined.

The council had the most issues with plans for Robertson Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The proposal calls for removing the street parking on the west side of the street, which would eliminate 26 parking spots. With the removal of the parking, the sidewalks on both sides of the street could be widened.

west hollywood design district streetscape
(Graphic from the Design District Streetscape Master Plan)

Councilmembers John Heilman, John Duran and John D’Amico agree that if any street parking is to be removed, it should be on the east side of Robertson. Another idea was to eliminate the curb between the sidewalk and the street in that section entirely, instead putting up bollards or planters to distinguish between sidewalk and street.

The council wants plans for that section of Robertson to be revised and brought back to them. D’Amico said any other particulars could be worked out when the council approves the construction documents.

Construction will be done in phases over the next 10 years, according to City Manager Paul Arevalo.

The Avenues Working Group has been meeting monthly since January 2012 on the proposal. Members of the group include representatives from the Design District Business Improvement District (BID), West Hollywood West Residents’ Association and various city commissioners.

Darren Gold, head of the Design District BID, praised the plans.

“This working group should be a model for all working groups going forward,” Gold said. “It really worked.”


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Bazoo
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Bazoo

It’s great to improve the aesthetics of the city and the design district but have they ever driven on Melrose between San Vicente and LaCienega during the afternoons? There is so much traffic right now and with reduced lanes and reduced parking it’s going to be absolute gridlock. This is even before all these new large building open up along Melrose. I also can’t believe they are going to eliminate parking on Robertson! We don’t need wider side walks we need parking for the businesses there so they can survive. How about working on the infrastructure and congestion issues first… Read more »

Ben McCormick
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Ben McCormick

One big question . . . dedicated bicycle lanes?? Once again, the City is giving the go-ahead on a multi-year, multi-street, major redevelopment that, for the most part, includes some paint on the street that says in essence cars and bicycles share this pavement (who’s going to win that arrangement?). This, I remind you, is the City that prides itself on being at the forefront of developing a progressive, bicycle friendly city (on paper) while it is, for the second time (LaBrea being the first), fumbling badly when it comes to putting their beliefs into practice.

Brian Mazurkiewizc
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I am a proponent of this plan; however, I do have concerns about the reduced traffic lanes and parking. I agree with some of the council and feel their is a parking deficiency in the city. The areas of the city (affected by these plans) are experiencing back-ups and traffic congestion now. It is becoming increasingly difficult to leave my office on Sunset and navigate the main arteries and residential streets on my commute home without hitting traffic. I understand the desire to make our city more bicycle friendly but, at what cost!? I think that is it important to… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

@Snarkygal – LaBrea is in the middle of a major street improvement project very similar to what is proposed for the design district. There is plenty of love for the east side – FINALLY! It is very exciting to see construction taking place bringing in great new mixed use developments that will bring new residents and great new shops and restaurants.

Isa
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Isa

Really, reduced lanes of traffic and reduce parking! Leave diagonal parking, again only 1% of road traffic is bicycles….. Bicycles are not required all the safety equipment of vehicles yet they do not make themselves visible enough or follow rules of the road. Agree with Snarkygal.
Lets come up with a better name than East side etc. The connotation is always “not great or low rent”….come on we all know it.

Snarkygal
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Snarkygal

Who is paying for all this? While the east side rots, the City plans all this fancy stuff for the west side, as usual. How about making the sidewalks on the east side walkable at least? The City complains we are parking deficient and then takes away parking spaces. It’s all a plot so we have to pay at their parking garages and meters and then so they can build more. HELL NO!

Wayne
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Wayne

I don’t really care about this…but I am very angry about the extending of parking meter hours of operation…and I’m one of the few West Hollywood residents that is registered to vote and always do so.