‘The most walkable city?’ not for many disabled residents.

With a Walk Score of 91 and a size of 1.9 square miles, the City of West Hollywood is ranked as one of the most walkable cities in the State of California. Its extensive sidewalks attracted many people with disabilities to make their homes here. But today, they must compete for limited sidewalk space with strollers, bikes, dogs on leashes, plus the scooters, and outzones.

The Outzones which allowed most businesses to expand their outdoor footprint have helped many businesses recover lost capacity. Clearly there is a post-pandemic bounce that has brought crowds to the streets and limited access to crowded sidewalks during peak periods. But the addition of scooters this past July to the streets and sidewalks has created hardship for many disabled residents.

One resident, Myra Friedman, who serves on the Disability Advisory Board, has requested a discussion of scooters to be placed on the Disability Board Agenda. It is her hope that the DAB can gather public input on the new ‘scooter policy’ that was implemented without recognizing the problem of enforcement or potential hazards for persons with disabilities.

In a letter to the City Council, Friedman wrote, “I am a disabled senior citizen with balance problems. The scooters are a huge hazard to me and many other seniors and persons with disabilities. Either dump these things or enforce the laws that you have initiated to go along with them.”

Ms. Friedman, a direct appointee to the Disability Advisory Board by Mayor Lindsey Horvath, went on to explain, “Do you really care about seniors and persons with disabilities, or are you just giving us lip service?”

The City Council re-initiated the scooter program in July 2021. Scooters are supposed to travel in bike lines and are not allowed on public sidewalks. Outzones for many businesses include the servers and busboys crossing the sidewalk to service the customers.

The Disability Advisory Board’s main job is ensure access for persons with Disabilities at all public facilities and city events. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government’ programs and services.

Friedman concluded her letter to the City Council: “Do you just consider us (persons with disabilities) a pain in the neck that you have to deal with? We like to think that we are your friends, and we are voters! How you handle this miserable problem for us will tell us the answer!”

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Karen
Karen
2 months ago

We moved here 9 years ago because of the walkability and have enjoyed many years of walking everywhere – UNTIL the advent of the scooters and the recklessness of the drivers who have made even crossing the street with the light dangerous. People feel so entitled to do whatever makes them happy with no regard to anyone else. We are now moving out of WeHo because walking is no longer safe or enjoyable here. Off to a better neighborhood.

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Karen

Is this *really* a primary reason for moving from here? Not trying to make fun of you, but I literally cannot believe the “problems” that keep people come up with, or let them feel so disarmed. Has anyone else traveled anywhere else in the world? Forget that … how about just over into Hollywood? DTLA? City of LA?

Joey
Joey
2 months ago

I was an early adopter of the scooters, I don’t think the scooters are the issue. I think the issue is the bike lanes or lack there of are not safe. Half the time you try to ride up SMB there is a delivery truck blocking the bike lane. Drivers in Los Angeles do not know how to deal with bikes in the street let alone scooters.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Joey

Sorry. More often than not, the scooters ride recklessly on the sidewalk while ignoring an empty bike lane. That’s typical.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
1 month ago
Reply to  Manny

And sadly, cause very bad injuries to a high percentage of people who want to try it, just once,

ONE CRACK (put there on purpose) on the concrete sidewalks (like paving stones, but to help water to drain) and DOWN GOES BOTH INEXPERIENCED AND CASUAL RIDERS WITH AN AMBULANCE TO CEDARS ER (if the scooter can get you around everywhere but the ER, it’s not a choice for transportation or fun play on overcrowded WeHo streets and sidewalks.

walker
walker
2 months ago

There are more bicycles than scooters riding on the sidewalks in West Hollywood. I just walked past three bicyclists speeding on the sidewalk in one block on Santa Monica at La Cienega. They are mostly smug and entitled men in their 20s and 30s. ANY attempt at law enforcement would greatly improve the safety of the sidewalks.

zzwakeup
zzwakeup
2 months ago
Reply to  walker

You do realize the lack of bike lanes right? Let alone separate protected ones like in developed urban cities…

voter
voter
2 months ago
Reply to  zzwakeup

Are you one of those lawbreakers riding their bikes on the sidewalk? What is wrong with you! Then take another road. You’re not entitled to ride your bike down Santa Monica Blvd if it too scary for you.

Make Sense
Make Sense
2 months ago
Reply to  zzwakeup

When skiing and you have a variety of trail choices, if you see a Black Diamond, are timid or unaccomplished, you choose the intermediate or novice. You don’t demand the ski area make the Black Diamond easier.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
1 month ago
Reply to  zzwakeup

BICYCLES REMAIN TO THIS DAY THE WORLD’S MOST EFFICIENT HUMAN POWERED MODE OF TRANSPORTATION. That said, getting Los Angelenos out of there cars is a proven impossibility. I used to bike a lot. Loved it. But after Highschool & college, a job, fancy car, and I was all driving to the gyms to ride stationary bicycles. No good solution for the unique MEGA CITY (30 of them in the world) it is a car City. WeHo sidewalks are too dangerous for people & bikes. The existing bike lanes (I’ve heard from locals who say it is VERY dangerous to ride… Read more »

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  walker

I am happy to contend with cyclists on the footpath because it’s safer there for both me and the cyclist than on the roads here. The real issue here is lack of protected bike lanes and drivers who have no respect for the safety of anyone including themselves.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

The “footpath” is for feet, not wheels.

Make Sense
Make Sense
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

Your benevolence is seriously misplaced.

RobbyDobbyMark2
RobbyDobbyMark2
2 months ago
Reply to  walker

Thing is, people aren’t dumping their bikes in the middle of the sidewalks and leaving them. Try being blind with a Guide Dog and navigating the sidewalks in this city, anywhere, not just West Hollywood. The south side of Santa Monica Blvd. has become nearly impassible for me with all the restaurants and valet stands. Add the scooters and I’m forced to walk on only the North Side of the street regardless of how inconvenient that is for where I’m heading. No, scooters are a menace to the disabled. So are the extended outdoor seating areas…

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
1 month ago

I have to say THAT IS NOW A NEW NEVER BEFORE DONE THING. It would have been nice when I was young to drop my bike anywhere. But we had to become the “KRYPTONITE LOCK” generation dragging those heavy locks to try to keep them from being stolen. All bikes sould be in a rack for public safety on city sidewalks. BUT AS HUMANS, IF IT’S NOT YOUR OWN PERSONAL BICYCLE (or anything you don’t own, but just use) WE TREAT THEM WITH NO CARE AND EFFORT TO CONSIDER NOT DAMAGING A RENTED BIKE. We are flawed as humans. I… Read more »

Manny
Manny
2 months ago

It’s disheartening that two commentators here wish to discount the legitimate views, experience and concerns of the respected community member featured in this article. But that’s the attitude and disregard we see from scooter riders everyday on West Hollywood sidewalks.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago

The companies like to spin their product as a last mile/first mile solution to urban commuting, and that is a truly noble goal. Does anyone really believe they are used for that purpose and not as joy rides for punks? I have no objection to the scooters, but every objection in the book to the ill-mannered twits who use them and the way they use them. Riding on the sidewalk is illegal, they don’t care (nor does law enforcement), parking them responsibly would be nice, they don’t care. I can’t drive my car on the sidewalk or park it where… Read more »

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Alan, surely you understand life is more complex than simply an “either or”, most often they are both. I can attest that I use these devices (I say devices because I use whatever is available at the time they are needed: e-scooters, e-bikes, wheels) as a last mile/first mile/transit connecter almost daily on my commute to and from my office near the Santa Monica airport. I have also witnessed riders who appear to be using them for nothing more than joy rides – I will even say that I have riddent them unnecessarily, just as many in this forum have… Read more »

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Josh, thank you. I’ve been beating this drum for some time. Get the Sheriff Department to do their job! Why have laws, w/o enforcement?

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Unfortunately with their budget cut and not enough staff, higher priority law-enforcement such as murders rapes etc. take precedent over people riding on sidewalks. Unfortunate, sad, frustrating fact.

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

Did you watch the last Public Safety Meeting? The lieutenant said that they were getting around to getting foot patrol on the streets. Or something along those lines. Puhlease … tickets issued would pay for these officers. Scooters, cyclists on the sidewalk, people texting and driving. Nobody wants the job of issuing these tickets.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Other cities that have allowed these vending machines have not been successful at all. Citizens have just been give no choice but to accept the chaos and disfunction of cities like LA, which has turned into a junk yard of on-demand scooters. NYC residents hate them. I was in San Antonio recently and they have ruined the beautiful historic district with careening on sidewalks and cutting off horse and carriages on the street. The hotels are frustrated that they are dumped in the middle of their driveways. As a small city, West Hollywood, as many, many other cities have done,… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Manny
Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

The best solution is to simply get rid of them.

There ya go!

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Yes. They won’t be missed.

Christopher Roth
2 months ago

Thank you for another “ongoing war against scooters” article disguised an obstacles for the disabled piece. We get it Wehoville you hate scooters. Scooters are a nuisance.

Christopher Roth
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Nice of you to assume that I am not disabled and scooter riders are not allowed on the sidewalks. Let us adapt and overcome. Think of creative ways to educate the public and help scooter riders to change their behavior. We can write an article about other cities who are exploring this and cities that have been successful at it. Are you aware that there is technology that exists that powers the scooter off when the rider is on the sidewalk? Be part of the solution not just bitching about everything you hate. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/scooters-on-sidewalks-safety/2020/10/10/30f49a58-08ac-11eb-9be6-cf25fb429f1a_story.html

carleton cronin
2 months ago

IN OUR NEXT EVOLUTIONARY TURN WE’LL BE BORN WIITH WHEELS INSTEAD OF TOES ANND THEN WE CAN COMPETE WITH THE OTHER SIDEWALK USERES. (sorry – cap key stuck)

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
2 months ago

Scooter’s, skateboards, motorized bikes, delivery robots, all dangerous impediments. Yes, the disabled, residents out for a stroll with their doggies, really all residents. The City has run a muck.

TomSmart
TomSmart
2 months ago

I see the city has sent out RFP’s asking to study bike lanes the entire length of Fountain Ave and Santa Monica Blvd. Although a nice idea, I cannot even imagine how on earth this is possible without losing many parking spaces. Surely they’ll keep 2 traffic lanes going both directions no? But one cannot assume anything with city hall sadly.

Christopher Roth
2 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

A bile permanent bike lane on Fountain Ave. through WeHo reducing Fountain Ave to 1 lane each direction would be the perfect solve for all of the speeding, street racing and did I mention speeding (in front of my apt most nights cars over 80 mph). This is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge Fountain as the residential street that it is and give our city an east-west bike route that could be safe for all.

TomSmart
TomSmart
2 months ago

Orrrrrr we can enforce ALL of the laws, something that West Hollywood isn’t good at sadly.

RobbyDobbyMark2
RobbyDobbyMark2
2 months ago

That’s already going to happen. Fountain is being expanded to 4 lanes with a left turn block in the middle for its entire length through West Hollywood. Traffic levels are too high for a two lane road and to meet State safety requirements a makeover of Fountain is already in the works…

No Repetitive RFP's
No Repetitive RFP's
2 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

The city has allegedly studied this many times. Please contact Oscar Delgado for all the details. The most recent public meeting regarding this subject was conducted at Plummer Park approximately 4 years ago with OD and various engineers present. Council members Meister & D’Amico were present.

Do we need additional consultants to give more points of view?

ASAP the residents would benefit from some Sheriff attention to folks that think Fountain in a warm up for Indy. A few radar guns should do the trick. Less speeding makes the road safe for everyone….

Fountain Issues
Fountain Issues
2 months ago

Last evening Engineer Dimitri confirmed the last intervention of Fountain and the progress since. The radar triggered sign boards don’t do much to help as spiders speed up so they will not get squeezed behind another vehicle. Many states have SQUEEZE signs indicating in an image what lies ahead. That would be helpful and employ some Radar equipped Sheriff deputies to nab the speedsters rather than rely on passive signs. Action has results but passive efforts are largely inconsequential regarding speeders.

Christopher Roth
2 months ago

I don’t know if they are doing this but if they would collect the info from the radar triggered sign boards they would learn what time(s) of day speeding is the problem and that data should help them determine the best time for police to be out there to stop the dangerous speeders. This would help make the best use of their time.

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

Staff comes forward with an edict, Council bobble-heads it into law, Sheriff refuses to enforce law. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Walk on a city sidewalk? How very last century..

Observer
Observer
2 months ago

Scooters are a disaster waiting to happen. In just the last two weeks, I was almost hit on three different occasions. Since you can’t hear them coming behind you, one step to the left or right could have resulted in serious injury or maybe even death. Is that what it will take for the Council to ban this dangerous mode of transportation? I wouldn’t even be writing this if everyone using a scooter abided by the rules. They are not. Most seem to ignore the statement on each scooter that they are not to be ridden on a sidewalk. And… Read more »

Gwen Chambers Green
Gwen Chambers Green
2 months ago
Reply to  Observer

I AGREE!

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
2 months ago

Larry vs scooters: Chapter 23

TomSmart
TomSmart
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

YES!!!…Great response.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Or Greeneyedguy may just be saying that you have been on top of this issue for a long time without any negative connotation.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Please explain how my comment was a “personal attack”

I’ll wait.

Christopher Roth
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

You shouldn’t have an agenda.

Tracy
Tracy
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Thank you Larry. it’s my right that should not be taken away by brazen young people who visit our city and just use the sidewalks like it’s a skateboarding course. The person above who cannot see that is selfish and foolish.

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