City Council axes ‘Out on Robertson’ program

The word is in: “Out on Robertson” is out.

West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to discontinue the pilot program that closed Robertson Blvd. to vehicular traffic on weekends in an effort to stimulate businesses affected by the COVID pandemic.

“This was a great example of trying something new, seeing if it worked,” said Mayor Lindsey Horvath. “When it was first proposed, there was a lot of fear around traffic and all kinds of issues that never really manifested. It’s also fair to say it didn’t manifest the activity we had hoped for either.”

“What we thought it was going to be — farmers’ markets, different types of classes — it didn’t end up being that,” said Councilmember Sepi Shyne.

The council originally envisioned a bustling mix of bars, restaurants, small vendors, artisans and performance artists bringing life to the street. 

City staff pointed to a number of reasons that vision never materialized: COVID-related restrictions, operational costs, limited alcohol sales and fear of crowds.

But to many watching over the past several months, the program appeared to stimulate only one establishment in particular: The Abbey.

“This was supposed to be a quiet way to add low-key entertainment; instead it became a taxpayer expense benefitting one business,” said Charlie Jasper.

“I beg you, Councilmember Meister,” said Mel Greentwalt. “Shoot this down. People in West Hollywood West Association don’t want this.”

Councilmembers all acknowledged the program’s shortcomings, but not all were ready to blame The Abbey. D’Amico reminded the council that the activity generated there was substantial and benefitted city coffers.

“It’s not empty tables and chairs. It’s tables and chairs with hundreds and hundreds of people weekend after weekend,” he said.

“It was never meant for just The Abbey,” said Shyne. “It was just that The Abbey stepped up to participate.”

Councilmembers passed a motion to end the “Out on Robertson” program after the next two weekends, on Aug. 2, in order to give The Abbey time to reconfigure their outdoor setup. The establishment still has the option of using the adjacent alley for outdoor seating as part of the separate OutZone program.

Meister noted that perhaps in the future, when forthcoming developments on Robertson Blvd. like the hotel and the park are in place, the program might be revived and succeed.

“Robertson isn’t alive with a plethora of quaint stores, ice cream parlors, and a variety of bars and restaurants,” said public commenter Manny Rodriguez. “This may have been a sweet idea, but at the wrong location at the wrong time.”

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Michael Lee
Michael Lee
3 days ago

Glad to hear!!!

Frank
Frank
3 days ago

Hallelujah

Thom Cook
Thom Cook
3 days ago

An abundance of stupidity seems to permeate our Council. I for one can’t wait to see what they do next!

Happy Girl
Happy Girl
3 days ago

During the OUT hours, turning right on San Vicente was a nightmare and backed up traffic along the block between Robertson and San Vicente.

Joe Bolgna
Joe Bolgna
4 days ago

In other words: It was a stupid idea.

Stevie
Stevie
5 days ago

So did Unite Here instruct Lindsey and the other “Mean Girls” to kill it until they can control the Abbey and the new Robertson Bl hotel?

hifi5000
hifi5000
6 days ago

It is gone!! The “Out on Robertson” show was a flop,with little particpation by local businesses.That The Abbey was appearing to be a huge benefactor was not a good look.

if you look at the correspondence on that agenda item,there were many commenters who were opposed to the program.The council finally listened to the residents.

JJ1
JJ1
6 days ago
Reply to  hifi5000

Finally is right.

Gregory W. Ellwood
Gregory W. Ellwood
6 days ago

This was always going to be a benefit only for the Abbey. I called it out from the beginning. Worst move D’Amico has ever done. So disappointed.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 days ago

I thought giving the keys of the City to Stormy Daniels rated pretty high up there.

Joe Bolgna
Joe Bolgna
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Yes, they thought that was a good idea. Says it all.

Frank
Frank
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Agreed. So so so trashy.

JJ1
JJ1
6 days ago

It was the wrong location to implement this. The only restaurant/bar within this zone was the Abbey. The council also never sought input from residents and from the get-go it did not garnish any support from the actual businesses on Robertson. Not exactly a recipe for a successful pilot program. It cost us quite a penny to run this thing for the last three months. Money that could’ve been spent elsewhere with greater benefit for the community. Very happy to hear for the first time in a long time the council has listen to the people and has squashed this… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by JJ1
Thom Cook
Thom Cook
3 days ago
Reply to  JJ1

I think you meant ‘garner’ not ‘garnish’, and ‘quashed’ not ‘squashed’.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
6 days ago

Co-sponsors D’Amico and Erickson have so much egg on their faces after this failed experiment they had to extend it 2 weeks? As Biden would say “c’mon man!”. In any event this is great news and thanks to Manny and everyone who stood up to the council members and protested this deeply flawed project.

Last edited 6 days ago by Peter Buckley
JJ1
JJ1
6 days ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

Yes, Bravo Manny! Many thanks!

Robert
Robert
6 days ago

Just another awful idea brought forward by D’Amico and Erickson. Even after the pilot crashed D’Amico groveling for two more weeks as of he doesn’t understand his own rules amd John Ericskon seconded that stupid move. Erickson is on the wrong side of every issue.

JJ1
JJ1
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert

That is so true.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert

very true

What's Going On Here?
What's Going On Here?
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert

One has to question the mental stability of these two council members. One is erratic, the other treacherous and uninformed. While Out of Robertson was on life support, D’Amico decided to beat a dead horse deader than dead rather than graciously accepting that he presented a flawed and poorly thought idea. Next.

Joe Bolgna
Joe Bolgna
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert

True.

OMG Weho
OMG Weho
6 days ago

How will greedy The Abbey live without selling booze on the falling apart street? You know, bottle prices for Scotch is $400!

The 39 year-old Mayor Lindsey Horvath and her gofer John Erickson will have to go inside to get freebies from the owner for “pay to play” action.

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