Is the sun setting on the ‘Out on Robertson’ pilot program?

“Out on Robertson” has outlived its usefulness.

The 90-day pilot program, which brought restaurant and retail operations out onto city streets when COVID restrictions were toughest, is set to end on July 17 unless City Council renews it. The program closes N. Robertson Blvd. south of Santa Monica Blvd. and north of Melrose Avenue to vehicular traffic each Saturday and Sunday evening.

The larger OutZone program allows for the temporary zones (OUTZones) to provide outdoor space in public rights-of-way for restaurants, shops, and personal care establishments to operate outside.

In its three-month run, the program has had little participation from local businesses. The street never “transformed” into a pedestrian friendly zone as intended. Project Angel Food, Black Woman Lead were the only two non-profits who participated over the first ten weekends. This past weekend a post by local resident Jordan David revealed frustration at the failure of the “Out on Robertson” program when a right-wing booth occupied Robertson Blvd.

City Council approved the “Out on Robertson” street closure without public input or understanding the public safety budget to close the street. Each weekend numerous city staff can be seen monitoring the street. In addition many sheriff officers are deployed to monitor the street closure.

The program is expected to be on City Council’s July 19 agenda.

Council should do away with “Out on Robertson” but leave the “Outzone” program intact.

The Abbey can still have their “Outzone,” but Robertson Blvd. can also be open to allow traffic to flow and support the other local businesses.

“Out on Robertson” was not without its success story. On the Abbey’s 30th anniversary, Lady Gaga unveiled a giant “Born This Way” Pride-themed street mural painted on Robertson Blvd. It was a memory for a lifetime and will etch “Out on Robertson” as a success despite the setbacks.

This past weekend, crowds flooded the Santa Monica Blvd. for the July 4th holiday. The previous weekend crowds flooded the streets for Pride. But ‘Out on Robertson’ had little additional traffic. All the shops and restaurants on Robertson are open for business but residents complain about access to some of the establishments along Robertson Blvd. such as Anawalt Lumber.

It’s time for the City Council to land this pilot program and re-open Robertson Blvd for all the residents and businesses.

West Hollywood City Hall remains the only major building in West Hollywood that is still closed despite the lifting of all county health restrictions on June 15th.

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William Seegmiller
2 months ago

The editor of this article needs to correct Mr. David’s claim that the booth in question was a religious “hate group”.

To my understanding, his claim is inaccurate, and likely betrays a personal bias. I confirmed with Mr. David on a Facebook thread that his issue is with ANY Christian-specific church group participating in our tax-funded community events.

Make of that what you will…

Randy
Randy
2 months ago

I personally think the author of this article needs to have their name on it, since this truly is an opinion piece.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago

I recall during the candidates forum, moderated by Robert Kovacik, his opening remark was “Children, let’s play nicely.” He was right about the children aspect. Then John Erickson was among other things, advocated cafe life dining on the sidewalks. Could we take up a collection and buy him a ticket to Paris if this is what he had in mind? Perhaps he could be inspired to save what’s left of Weho . Dining on the filthy sidewalks Weho littered with elements too disgusting to mention, is not a great idea particularly since we have too few historic buildings left and… Read more »

Mayor of Realville
Mayor of Realville
2 months ago

Considering that Mr. David has a history of disingenuous and frankly disinformative remarks at city council and God only knows where else, I fear his post will fall on deaf ears. Well, I would. If I cared.

Kyle Wilson
Kyle Wilson
2 months ago

And the city then installed bright, spooky-looking lights on Robertson. We now have our own Haunted Mansion.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago

Yes, time to END this Out on Robertson program! Council never reached out to the public for input and businesses on that block were not supportive of it. Every weekend that this has been going on is a waste of precious resources ($$$) —with staff and sheriffs deputies babysitting the closed off street that only benefits the Abbey and the Abbey alone.

Josh
Josh
2 months ago

I think Out on Robertson is great and should be continued. It improves safety and walk-ability. I would like to see more food trucks/street vendors/etc be allowed to join in though!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh

The food trucks should have been part of it from the start if the goal was actually to fill the street with activity. As Boys Town, or whatever we are calling it these days, is booming, the Robertson closure should wind down. Maybe if we consider this closing again, for like July 4th or Labor Day, we put more thought and effort into it and make the closure a more inviting and special event.

teo27
teo27
2 months ago

Sadly this was the nail in the coffin for Hedley’s on Robertson. The long running restaurant survived Covid only to have the city make it more challenging by taking away parking. Restaurants come and go but Hedley’s was a successful business for over 19 years. So sad to see what the city did here.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  teo27

This is a blight or virus that has slowly been creeping through the city as we remember it. The community at large should TAKE BACK OUR CITY before it is nothing but dust that some artist or developer can artfully arrange into a monumental folly.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  teo27

Yup.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago

The pilot program has accomplished it’s goal. It has proven that this road closure brings nothing of value to the community at large. It does provide the free use of a public road and sidewalk to one private business and facilitates more capacity and more $20 martini sales to paying customers. But that giveaway, with no other benefit to the non-paying public, does not justify the street closure or the expense incurred by the city.

It was a sweet, maybe naive, small town idea. But at the wrong location and at the wrong time.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  Manny

Unfortunately the city has become more reliant on its highly paid staff and consultants who appear to live in ‘hip and happening theory pods” rather than real life experience. Their judgement is biased for fear of upsetting the financial equation. No one speaks truth to power let alone have valid ideas and thus the garbage in garbage out concept becomes exponential. To deconstruct a city and then proceed to reinvent it with an inexperienced and naive team does not look like an intelligent plan.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  No, No, No

Particularly not good when the public is offered an elusive seat at the table. Continuing with this disingenuous plan will ensure a folly.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  Manny

Absolutely.

Mayor of Realville
Mayor of Realville
2 months ago
Reply to  Manny

Something about roads to hell and good ideas.

hifi5000
hifi5000
2 months ago

It looks like the “Out on Robertson” program wasn’t the huge success the city was looking for.Just having the Abbey and the Chapel participate wasn’t enough to get people to come out.Pride and the 4th of July were the exceptions. I think the program could have been more successful if food trucks,item vendors and non-profits publicity booths were allowed.Robertson is a somewhat narrow street,but is important for access to Melrose Ave. and Santa Monica Blvd. To close it during the weekend creating confusion for drivers who wanted to go to Pavilions and the nearby parking structure wasn’t a good idea.… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago

Robertson should be open for business. We always shopped at Koontz Hardware or Anawalt for the yard and house. Parking became impossible and the other congestion have pushed us to go outside of West Hollywood to other nurseries and home improvement stores and that will be a permanent loss of local business and tax revenue.

Jason
Jason
2 months ago

The Outzones need to have an end date as well. Sidewalks and more importantly parking spaces need to be fully available again. There’s a real shortage of parking spots in Weho, which has got to be hurting businesses.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

True.

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

Before doing that, we should consider how much of their own money local businesses invested to create these spaces. When we were locked down in November, it created a huge ruckus for local businesses, as they had made an investment. For certain businesses, they’ve been able to increase their overall outdoor space, increasing revenue, and now that indoor dining is allowed, it helps them to make up for loss revenue, during COVID, with more space (e.g., Hi Tops). I do not think now is the time to slam the door on the concept. It has been less than a month… Read more »

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