West Hollywood Voted The Most Walkable City In California by Walk Score
The City of West Hollywood is proud to announce that West Hollywood has been voted The Most Walkable City in California by Walk Score, a service that helps promote walkable neighborhoods across the country. According to Walk Score, ranking rates are based on the distance to nearby amenities, such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, banks, schools, parks and public transit. With a score of 89, West Hollywood’s walkability is ranked higher than San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
"One of my favorite things about this City is that you can walk to so many places,” said West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land. “West Hollywood redefines what it means to live in Southern California. Many of our residents live without a car, and I love days when I can walk to work or to meet with friends. It’s what makes our City so special. We have innovative programs like car sharing, free shuttles and are improving our bike and pedestrian plan to achieve a higher index of walkability."
Throughout the years, West Hollywood’s pedestrian-friendly policies have included improving pedestrian connections to city parks, increased green-space and encouraging the location of neighborhood-serving businesses and amenities within walking distance of all residential neighborhoods in order to encourage walking as a desirable mode of transportation. One of the urban design goals in the City’s first General Plan, which was adopted in 1988, was to incorporate extensive landscape along the sidewalks and street median, as well as lighting, attractively-designed street furniture and signage to create a pedestrian-friendly urban environment. The West Hollywood General Plan 2035, adopted in 2011, placed renewed emphasis on walkability as part of a comprehensive approach to land-use and mobility. These policies include:
- Prioritizing space for pedestrians and bicycles in the design and improvement of public rights of way.
- Encouraging the location of neighborhood-serving businesses and amenities within walking distance of all residential neighborhoods in order to encourage walking as a desirable mode of transportation.
- Encouraging the retention of existing and the incubation of new commercial establishments that serve the needs of residents.
- Continuing to improve the pedestrian environment through a coordinated approach to street tree planting, sidewalk maintenance and enhancement, pedestrian amenities, and a focus on human-scale frontage design for building renovations and new development projects.
- Providing wider sidewalks, street trees/landscaping, seating areas, and pedestrian-oriented lighting where feasible.
- Requiring commercial development projects to provide for enhanced pedestrian activity through techniques including: minimizing vehicle intrusions across sidewalks, allowing for outdoor plazas and dining areas, locating the majority of a building’s frontage in close proximity to the sidewalk edge.
- Seeking opportunities to create new public open spaces throughout the city.
“When we first became a city in 1984, the State of California controlled our main street,” stated West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “The State wouldn't even permit outdoor dining along the street. Since that time, we have been able to transform the look and feel of our streets. We have installed various pedestrian improvements, added outdoor dining, installed landscaped medians and provided rotating art installations. All of these efforts have created a much better environment for pedestrians.”
The City will be adopting its updated Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan in spring of 2014, which identifies additional priorities and improvements to ensure West Hollywood continues to provide a safe and comfortable pedestrian and biking environment. They recently installed rectangular rapid flash pedestrian beacons at three signalized crosswalk locations in the city, as a pilot to improve visibility of pedestrians. Since their installation, the volume of pedestrian crossings has increased at these locations at an average of 23%, motorists yielding to pedestrians has increased to 92% at all locations (considered an excellent rate among traffic engineers), and motorists have increased their breaking distance from the crosswalks by 50 feet. The City is pleased with the success of these pilot pedestrian devices, and is interested in installing them in additional locations.
“West Hollywood once again has ranked one of the most walkable cities in CA, and we couldn’t be prouder,” stated Councilmember Jeffrey Prang. “We scored better than San Francisco and Los Angeles, which means West Hollywood residents are happier, healthier and have a more sustainable lifestyle, just because we walk more,” added Prang.