‘The Sunset Experience’ Hopes to Improve Walkability on the Sunset Strip

The City of West Hollywood has partnered with urban design and planning firm Gehl Studio to design and install temporary six-month pilot projects on the Sunset Strip that aim to improve walkability and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment for residents and visitors.

The project has been dubbed “The Sunset Experience,” and will feature light poles wrapped in bright colors with directions to nearby restaurants and clubs along with historic facts about the Strip. There also will be painted extensions of the sidewalks at key intersections, narrowing the distance to cross some streets while adding a colorful and driver-aware flair to the roadway. In addition, there will be a shaded and screened seating area called a “parklet,” which will be installed at an on-street loading zone adjacent to Book Soup, located at 8818 Sunset Blvd.

There is a launch event scheduled on Dec. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the parklet at Book Soup. This is an opportunity for the community to meet the project planners, discuss and give feedback on the project, and enjoy some food and drinks. No RSVP is required. Visit www.weho.org/sunsetexperience for more information about The Sunset Experience.

The painted sidewalk extensions are being created by the street artist, The Art of Chase, who is known for his quirky and humorous paintings that create disruption in our day to day lives. This installation joins Pattern Park, by the same artist, which currently surrounds the parking lot located on the Sunset Strip on the north side of Sunset Boulevard from Sherbourne Drive to the east and Horn Avenue to the west, near the Tower Records building. Chase’s work is also featured in the city’s automated parking garage, in Bay 3. More information about the artist can be found at www.theartofchase.com.

  1. This is the stupid idea anyone has come up with. How do we petition the city to get rid of this? This is creating worse traffic conditions.

  2. The parklets have been a great success in SF where it wasn’t possible to widen sidewalks. The one in front of book soup is a great idea.

    I walk on Sunset every day. This makes it nicer to walk in the neighborhood.

    They should probably eliminate a parking space where the sidewalks now sorta jut out at the intersections so there is a zone for deliveries.

  3. Hahaha! Just today, as I was walking up Holloway to Sunset, I saw (who I think), were the smarty-pants crew that think this is a great idea congratulating each other just as a city Dash bus turned right and ran over their precious planters right in front of them! Mark my words – these “parks” are gonna be used more for vagrants’ living spaces, AND, people are gonna get seriously injured from cars running through them.

  4. If there is a petition to force City Hall to remove these constricting, painted/coned street necks from Palm/Holloway and Larrabee/Sunset, I will gladly sign it.

    Who on EARTH who knows anything about WeHo traffic problems signed off on this?!

  5. ATTN City Council:

    Add art and colors all you want… BUT DON’T PUT ANYTHING IN THE CURRENT ROAD. You’re just complicating traffic.
    Drive Holloway near Palm & Sunset and you’ll see this is already causing problems.
    The disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

  6. Taking away part of the street might work for tiny Fiats and other clown-style cars but it’s not working for large vehicles like delivery trucks. I saw multiple delivery trucks that could not navigate the constricted roadway and basically got stuck and blocked a lot of traffic. There are many residences in the area that get deliveries from trucks and there are many businesses that will not simply go out of business to accommodate an “art” display. This is an obvious consequence to anyone except people who are paid huge salaries and pensions for the sole purpose of coming up with bad ideas like this.

    The problems in this area are:

    1. Palm Ave is too narrow to be a collector/feeder road and needs to be widened north of Harratt St. to a normal width, like it is south of Harratt St. There is plenty of room to do this. SCE has already dug up the power poles, intending to replace them, and it wouldn’t cost any extra to move them a few feet away from the road so that it can be widened.

    2. There needs to be a stop sign at Palm and Harratt because people, especially the rising number of Uber/Lyft drivers, speed down the hill on the narrow road and cause accidents. The unequal width of Palm north and south of Harratt blocks visibility and creates confusion between drivers making turns.

    3. The Palm/Holloway/Sunset intersection cannot accommodate the volume of traffic that is there. People who do not frequent the neighborhood do not know this. Palm is a major feeder/collector of tourist/club/festival traffic and cut throughs. There needs to be signage at Palm and Harratt to direct people going to Sunset Blvd to turn left and use the signal at Larrabee, which is a wide street with the capacity for these cars and a full signal at the intersection with Sunset.

    4. A right turn only sign at the north end of Palm Ave might be drastic but it would reduce congestion and improve pedestrian safety. At this point, the few people not turning right are going to get tangled in these ugly bulbous red paint zones anyway. The sign could be for daytime hours only, since it makes no difference in the middle of the night if people use an empty intersection.

    5. The commercial businesses on Sunset Blvd think they have “a right” for their patrons to park in traffic lanes on Sunset while a valet piddles around and eventually moves the car out of the way. Ditto for Uber/Lyft drivers who think that traffic lanes are loading zones for their customers to pack up furniture and luggage. This is why that section of Sunset is permanently clogged for hours a day. More enforcement at rush hour and revoking licenses for abusive valets would get Sunset moving. Even signs informing people of the fine for stopping in a traffic lane to load or wait for parking would be a help.

    Implementing these ideas would do much more to improve traffic flow and help pedestrians than these eyesore red paint and tacky plastic cone zones whose stated purpose is to “create disruption in our day to day lives,” as if “disruption” were better than solving problems. But then City Hall wouldn’t need someone with a salary and a pension to come up with bad ideas.

    1. “Our focus is creating cities for people”. An extraordinary statement by the Urban Design firm Gehl that designed this project. Apparently the cities of the world in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US have been doing it all wrong for centuries. Weho has magically hit upon the earth shattering combination to sort it all out here right in front of Book Soup. Does anyone know the budget? It’s hard to take this seriously as not only do we quite possibly have a “make work department” in the city, there is actually a company in Copenhagen who utilizes that concept as a business plan. Will they soon be selling ice to the Eskimos for the purpose of winning a Creative Igloo Design Competition?

  7. Sunset can never be a pedestrian friendly street. The sidewalk is too narrow in many places, it’s a major thoroughfare and quite hilly in many places.

  8. The city should know better than to reduce the width of the road.
    Parking & traffic are already bad enough.
    (And yes Mike Dolan, this reduces the width of the street in these areas by about the width of a car in order to “narrow the distance” to cross the street.)

    If you’re annoyed with adding to our traffic problem contact the Project Planner, gsrapyan@weho.org or 323-848-6827.

  9. Clearly the City of West Hollywood has to be number one in everything it does, including being number one in phenomenally stupid ideas. There are ways to improve walkability without impeding already horrific traffic on Sunset Boulevard. Let’s start with educating drivers about how to approach a pedestrian crosswalk and give the pedestrians the right of way when they have it. Conversely, pedestrians need to respect traffic flow and avoid crossing against lights, or in areas other than marked crosswalks. Let’s also clean the sidewalks so we don’t step through last night’s party gifts, droppings and oozings–oh wait, that’s Hamburger Mary’s on SMB. Basics first, then frills.

  10. The Parklet will occupy a parking space and that faces into the sidewalk and a business.

    The creative space in no way cordon’s off curb sites so cars or inhibits cars from making right turns.

    Parking spaces are set in as are the parklets and do not block a through-lane of traffic. Cars that turn right will be able as they have always been. Traffic flow is not impacted.

    1. Traffic flow is absolutely impacted. Cars can’t get over to turn right.
      Ubers can’t use that space to pick up passengers.
      Cars heading west on Holloway can’t split into two lanes to turn onto Sunset near Palm. You’re taking away road which indeed impacts traffic!

        1. I don’t need to check, I’ve driven down the street.
          Have you? I’m happy to take you for a ride or send you pics since you don’t seem to accept the plastic guides in the road are impeding vehicles.

        1. Don’t look at it on paper, go see it in person.

          I just watched a car heading west on Holloway waiting to turn left on Palm block traffic because cars can’t go around on the right. They all missed the light to turn onto Sunset.

          I watched an Uber block a bus in front of Dialogue Cafe because they can no longer pull over.

          Stop saying go to city hall. Go to Holloway and Palm and see for yourself. Or send me your email and I’ll send you pics of what I just witnessed. Good on paper doesn’t always translate to reality.

        2. Mike,
          Greg is right. Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. So that space is either road or extended sidewalk. The added “driver-aware flair to the roadway” is in the road where cars used to pass.
          I doubt any one is against artwork, but rather against complicating traffic in an already over congested area.

    2. Not true. Spend a few minutes watching buses and trucks trying to make the right turn from San Vicente to Sunset and you’ll see the new red zone has greatly diminished their ability to turn thus clogging up and disrupting traffic. It’s a stupid, wasteful idea.

  11. Does this idea come from the Make Work Department of Silliness? People would actually appreciate clean sidewalks plus building and business owners that keep up their inhabited storefronts. Sunset Plaza seems to have no problem with this concept.

    1. Yes! Why can’t we get SM Blvd store owners to keep up their storefronts?
      I hope this new concept doesn’t attract more drug addicts to house themselves in these spaces.

  12. It sucks. Big Time. What they have done is cordon off curb sites so cars making right turns cannot pull further over to the right. So, cars that are going forward will have to wait for the right-turner.

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