Do we want to keep the OutZones?

West Hollywood city staff members held a virtual community meeting for residents to give their two cents on the divisive OutZone program which was created last year as the COVID pandemic was in its first summer surge.

“We are wanting to start putting our thinking caps on about how we want to transition the city from our pandemic sidewalk activities into some future scenario, after the pandemic is over,” said John Keho.

The pilot program allows local businesses to make use of the public right of way. Restaurants in particular have benefitted from the OutZone, which let them use sidewalk areas and parking spaces to seat diners when indoor dining was still forbidden.

“As we began the process last year, we really rushed out, we were very flexible, we really worked with the businesses to try to get these up and operational as quickly as possible,” said Jackie Rocco. “We wanted to make sure that our businesses could remain open and make it through this pandemic.”

The map above shows the locations of 70 OutZones throughout the city, and no two are exactly alike. Each was designed to capitalize on available space while allowing for access to pedestrians — some more successfully than others. Complaints about OutZones impeding foot traffic and producing excess noise have plagued the program since the beginning

Staff members surveyed the 29 attendees of the meeting to help gauge the public’s sentiment on the program.

54 percent said their experience walking in OutZone areas was uncomfortable or congested, while 50 percent said they’d experienced noise-related issues.

“I find that the OutZones that are out there now are really an abuse of that privilege that was given to businesses and us as customers when we couldn’t go inside,” said Manny Rodriguez. Well now we can go inside and they’re taking up 80 percent of a 16-foot sidewalk.”

Attendees like Dan Morin offered other reasons they were opposed to the program.

Morin feels that the OutZones encourage the public to slack off on COVID precautions like social distancing and wearing masks.

“I know that a lot of us don’t want to deal with it, especially the younger generation — they just want it to go away,” he said. “And I understand that I was in my 20s at one time too. But I’m not anymore. And maybe that’s why I’m overly cautious. I’m concerned about the health of everybody in this country, especially in the place I’ve lived almost 43 years.”

“My concern is not so much the outdoor dining as our situation with traffic and parking,” said Alex Kurtzman. “And in some situations where the valet parking has to be pushed out into the middle of the street and there’s only one lane. You just run into these dangerous situations, especially at night. People are stopping their cars and getting out in the middle of the street.”

Staff members said they are gathering input from the Los Angeles Fire Department to determine whether the OutZones are hampering emergency responses.

The city will hold another virtual meeting covering the same topics at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Residents who are interested in attending must register here.

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JF1
JF1
1 month ago

No. Pedestrians already have been squeezed out. Bikes, skateboards, scooters on the sidewalks. The OUT Zones were meant to be temporary relief. The restaurants are open. Give the sidewalks back to those that walk.

Richard Luna
Richard Luna
1 month ago

No need to worry about outzones because the pandemic will NEVER be over. The citizens love it! They are possessed by a collective Mucnhausen. Triple vaxxed and double masked, alone on hiking trails or in their cars, they love it! It allows them to express the most important personality traits they value…victimhood and virtue signaling.

Edd
Edd
1 month ago

The Outzones were designed to give businesses usable seating space when they weren’t allowed to have people indoors for seating. Now that they can have indoor seating, remove the Outzones and give the public back the sidewalks. Give the valets their spots near the curb and the lanes will be cleared of the stopping cars letting passengers out in the middle of the street, hopefully. Seriously, end the Outzones and give the pedestrians the sidewalks back.

Chloe Ross
1 month ago

Out Zones or Simply The Outer Limits? I am convinced the United States is living in dreamland. Without a degree in virology, I still KNOW that Covid is not done with our planet. But… like a playground of 5 year olds, WE want it to be the way it was before. And if you hear foot stamping you are not hearing things. The media* and government (which are the messengers) send mixed and confusing messages, regularly, as reinforcements. What is wrong with us? My observation: We have gotten bored with Covid is what I think, BORED. And whiny. ‘Why are… Read more »

:dpb
:dpb
1 month ago

Staying on topic (hello people?), please keep the out zones beyond Covid. It’s nice to have a choice of indoors or outdoors + it allows for more patrons which brings more taxes into the city coffers. The out zones have been a huge help to sustain businesses in West Hollywood, but we need to move past sustaining and into profiting and that will be a long time after a year of closure and eventually paying back moratorium(ed) rent.

Cy Husain
1 month ago

The safety and traffic aspects of this whole issue can be solved if we completely shut down private traffic on Santa Monica Blvd just like the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. If the monsters from Beverly Hells need to curse LA with their presence they can either go around West Hollywood or take PUBLIC TRANSIT ❗ 🤣 The COVID-19 Pandemic is far from being over and, nonpharmaceutical containment methods along with vaccination to complete herd immunity will be needed for eradicating COVID-19

Geography 101
Geography 101
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Mr. Hussain, Santa Monica Blvd. is in part, State Route #2

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  Geography 101

GOOD, than part of State Route #2 can be shut down to private traffic and, if we win in court we will be setting a great precedent❗⚖

Blue eyed
Blue eyed
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Closing public corridors to automobiles that working people rely on everyday to survive is ideologically misguided and a severe overreach of local government.

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  Blue eyed

The “working people” tend to rely on Public Transit and, will be completely unaffected. The rich people out of Beverly Hells will have to find other paths for their joy rides. “Severe overreach of local government” is what people like YOU beg for when people like me are sharpening our pitch forks and lighting our torches on the march!🎆

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Piitch forks and torches. You sound like a lovely and reasonable person.

Edd
Edd
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

The city of Santa Monica did not close off Santa Monica Blvd for their promenade why would West Hollywood? This is a ridiculous idea.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago

My biggest complaint would be Trunks and areas like it. The patio and Outzone are both filled with smokers which means if you’re walking down the sidewalk, you have to walk through a tunnel of cigarette smoke! We already know the dangers of 2nd hand smoke, but when you factor in Covid, smokers are actively blowing their droplets into the air. When this is happening on both sides and one has to walk through it, you’re getting a double whammy of smoke and virus. It’s long overdue to ban smoking and when you factor in Covid, it’s clear public health… Read more »

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

Outdoor space (other than the more recent outzones) was added onto these businesses solely for people to be able to have a place to smoke. Rather than smoking indoors, which I assume you would have a problem with. So be happy with what you got.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

Don’t smoke, anywhere, it’s bad for you.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

I should be happy with this?
Secondhand smoke kills approximately 45,000 Americans each year.
Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke.
Secondhand smoke exposes smokers and nonsmokers to more than 4,000 toxic substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans and animals.
The U.S. Surgeon General warns that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

How about we stop letting the 10% of smokers harm the other 90% of us?

Jerry
Jerry
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

No. These areas allowed businesses to serve food & drinks. Smokers ruined it.

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago
Reply to  Jerry

Look up your Los Angeles and West Hollywood history, Jerry. When smoking was banned indoors, these businesses added patios so people could still smoke while drinking. The patios (not about the more recent outzones) were only put there for that purpose. Only put there for that purpose. Thus allowing people like Greg there a space to be smoke free, and allowing a place for smokers to smoke. That’s called a reasonable compromise. But some people clearly want to take a mile when you go out of your way to accomdate them. It’s good to know who these people are, always… Read more »

Jerry
Jerry
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

No.
As the article states, “OutZone, which let them use sidewalk areas and parking spaces to seat diners when indoor dining was still forbidden.”
This wasn’t meant to be an extension of “the smoking section.”
I’m not interested in compromise when it comes to health, especially when smokers selfishly affect our air.

Michael on Hayvenhurst
Michael on Hayvenhurst
1 month ago

West Hollywood is not Paris! Santa Monica boulevard is like a long strip mall.

The traffic is horrendous. And who wants to be eating and being subjected to the exhaust from buses trucks and everybody going from Beverly Hills to get to the LA

It is a nightmare. Do you have to be reminded of the Communist Chinese Party influenza like it was a great event instead of a major curse on the United States?

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael on Hayvenhurst
Alex Gerstenzang
Alex Gerstenzang
1 month ago

WeHoville Excellent recap of the Zoom Call … the WeHo City teams did an amazing job gathering input. I encourage people to call into Wednesday’s Zoom Call.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

I think eventually they need to go once Covid is more under control. If in the end it is decided that they stay in some capacity, there needs to be some kind of design guidelines so it doesn’t look like shanty shacks up and down the street.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

I think thats a fair assessment. If they are permanent, they should look good.

Last edited 1 month ago by greeneyedguy
Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago

Keep them, but design them in such a fashion that pedestrians are not an afterthought in the use of sidewalks. We already battle bikes and scooters for safe passage. There are several that are intrusive and hazardous.

Civilized Dining
Civilized Dining
1 month ago

Please clean the gross sidewalks. Who would want to eat near them.

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