“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.
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.
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.”