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Eyes on the Street: West Hollywood’s Pilot Willoughby Neighborhood Greenway

This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.

The cities of West Hollywood and Los Angeles have collaborated on a pilot project to make Willoughby Avenue safer for people walking and bicycling. While the pilot is a decent step in a healthy livable direction, its effectiveness has been undermined by scofflaw drivers.

Tour Willoughby this Wednesday - more information at WeHo Bike Coalition
Tour Willoughby this Wednesday evening - more event information at WeHo Bike Coalition

Check out the Willoughby project tomorrow at a ride hosted by the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition. Meet at the Poinsettia Park, at the corner of Willoughby and Fuller Avenues, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday June 1.

Willoughby is a fairly dense residential street running east-west midway between major east-west arterials: Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The street sees fairly high volumes of car traffic cutting through the neighborhood - as well as decent volumes of people on foot and on bike. Calming streets like this has been done in various cities under various names: neighborhood greenways, bicycle boulevards, bike-friendly streets, etc. These types of projects don't remove all cars from any street, but calm and divert cars in order to better prioritize walking and bicycling.

According to the WeHo City project webpage, the "Willoughby Ave, Kings Rd, and Vista/Gardner Street Design Project" seeks to make these streets more comfortable and inviting for people walking and biking of all ages and abilities. The page includes a zippy explainer video overviewing Neighborhood Greenways and the project itself. The website allows people to give project feedback via an online form - and invites the public to two upcoming virtual community workshops: June 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. and June 11 9:30-11 a.m. Update: meetings postponed to August 25 at 5:30 p.m. and August 27 at 9:30 a.m.

The initial phase of the Willoughby project includes three features:

    • A diverter at Ogden Drive. Eastbound cyclists can continue east at Ogden, while eastbound drivers have a 'right turn only.'
    • Corner curb extensions at Spaulding Avenue.
    • A mini-roundabout at Curson Avenue.

Streetsblog got a chance to tour the Willoughby Avenue Neighborhood Greenway facility earlier this month.

At Willoughby and
At Willoughby and Ogden, a diverter allows cyclists to proceed east, while requiring drivers to turn right.

During Streetsblog's visit to the site, a majority of eastbound drivers broke traffic law to continue straight through the intersection.

Cyclist at the diverter at Willoughby/Ogden
Cyclist at the diverter at Willoughby/Ogden
Curb extensions at xxx
Curb extensions at Willoughby/Spaulding. Each of the three pilot installations includes signage explaining the project, including instructions on how to give feedback
Mini-roundabout at xxxx
Pilot mini-roundabout at Spaulding/Curson. Raised yellow dots act like speed bumps.
Further east on Willoughby - at Formosa Avenue - the city of West Hollywood has a diverter designed to prevent drivers from turning north. Unfortunately this diverter is also commonly ignored by scofflaw drivers.
Not part of the current Willoughby pilot, but further east on Willoughby, the city of West Hollywood L.A. has an existing diverter designed to prevent drivers from turning north onto Formosa Avenue. Unfortunately this diverter is also often ignored by scofflaw drivers. Caption corrected: this diverter is located one block south of the WeHo border with L.A.

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