The West Hollywood City Council last night endorsed a proposal by council members John Duran and John Heilman that the city take certain steps to improve public safety on the Eastside. The council also expressed its support for proposals to beautify the area that are expected to come from the city’s Eastside Working Group.
Duran and Heilman recommended that the city development plans or measures to:
— Increase public safety.
— Improve lighting in residential neighborhoods.
— Implement a grant program to help Eastside residents pay for installing additional outdoor lighting and security systems.
— Work with social services agencies “to ensure best practices are employed with respect to clients,” which apparently is a reference to addressing the homeless issue in Eastside neighborhoods.
The council also endorsed a proposal by council members John D’Amico and Lindsey Horvath that would have the city work with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to establish a satellite office for Sheriff’s deputies on the Eastside. The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station is located on the southeast corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards on the city’s Westside, although the station has stepped up its patrols on the Eastside in response to complaints about vandalism, trespassing and other minor crimes.
Tod Hallman and Roxanne McBryde, Eastside residents and co-captains of the Detroit Formosa Neighborhood Watch program, suggested other specific steps the city could take that Duran and Heilman added to their recommendations. They include:
— Addressing the neglect of the property at 7171 Lexington Ave.
— Meeting the management of Ralphs, the outside areas of whose grocery store on the southwest corner of Fountain and La Brea avenues have been a gathering place for homeless people. McBryde and Hallman called out issues including graffiti, lights that don’t work and debris in stairwells.
— Considering using fluorescent paint on speed bumps on residential streets to make them more visible.
— Increasing power washing of Eastside sidewalks and graffiti removal.
— Including security gates and parking garages in the proposal to grant subsidies for security lights and locks.
And residents attending Neighborhood Watch meetings raised miscellaneous issues, such as the lack of mail deposit boxes, the removal of the CityLine bus stop on Santa Monica Boulevard at Formosa and the possible installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Fountain and Formosa.
The proposal by Duran and Heilman also suggested the city consider a beautification effort that would include installing specialty crosswalks as well as marked pavers on sidewalks.
Another suggestion was that city staffers consider whether areas of the Eastside should be designated as districts of their own, such as the Plummer Park District or the Formosa/Detroit District. Such a designation was advocated by Shawn Mimbs, a resident of the area, in an opinion article that he wrote for WEHOville.
McBryde and Hallman, however, recommended that such designations be referred to the Eastside Working Group. Hallman and McBryde and that group already have been working on most of the ideas included in the proposal by Duran and Heilman. The Eastside group was formed by the City Council in 2013 and charged with developing a community plan to address issues such as economic development, traffic and safety on that part of the city between Fairfax and La Brea avenues.
The city’s Eastside, once a relatively poor area known for higher than average crime rates and prostitution, has undergone rapid change in recent years. One major change in 2014 was the opening of the Huxley, a building with 187 apartments on the southeast corner of La Brea and Fountain avenues. That was followed by the opening of the Dylan on the northwest corner of Santa Monica and La Brea. Soon to open will be the Domain project and the Avalon West Hollywood, both large apartment complexes on Santa Monica Boulevard just west of La Brea.