A presentation scheduled for the February 5 meeting of the West Hollywood City Council offers a look at plans to transform a short stretch of San Vicente Boulevard into a shared street.
The project, which would impact a one-block stretch of San Vicente between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard adjacent to West Hollywood Park, already sees partial or full closures up to 30 days per year for city-sponsored events and programs. However, this poses some challenges due to a lack of shade trees near the street, as well as the installation of temporary accessibility measures.
West Hollywood has worked with design firm !melk on plans for permanent improvements to the plaza space, with the aim of integrated with the adjacent Stories: The AIDS Monument. The design concept, called "Sky Sanctuaries: San Vicente Streetscape Plaza," is described in a city staff report as having a "pedestrian-centric strategy" inspired by Dutch woonerfs.
The plaza, which will encompass roughly one third of an acre, will be raised on a "street shelf" which ramps up at the north and the south to sidewalk level to create a curbless transition from the street to the adjoining protected bike lanes and sidewalk. This design feature has the dual purpose of encouraging slower vehicle speeds and providing better access to persons with special physical needs.
Plans call for a center median composed of moveable planters on embedded tracks, which can be moved as needed to serve as crash barriers during public events. Above the ground, plans call for shade structures (the "sky sanctuaries") which will house greenery above and rain water capture infrastructure below.
Per the staff report, the cost of constructing the plaza would range between $13 million and $18 million - up to 80 percent of which could be offset by a combination of county, state, of federal funding and grants. The staff report estimates that the project could be completed by 2030.
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