In an effort to reinvigorate businesses in West Hollywood, the city has launched a pilot program that expands outdoor dining and shopping on the weekends.
AMY POWELL: --latest effort to reinvigorate businesses in West Hollywood kicking off tonight, hoping to inject new life and money into struggling businesses.
VERONICA MIRACLE: But how do local residents feel about the expanded changes? Eyewitness News reporter Amy Powell is live in West Hollywood with the details. Amy.
AMY POWELL: Veronica and Jory, traffic is shut down along this stretch of Robertson Boulevard, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose. Now some residents worry about what this is going to do to traffic in this area. But city officials say this is going to give businesses here a much needed boost.
People strolling in the middle of the street. Dining tables spread out in traffic lanes. And customers enjoying the expanded outdoor eating area at The Abbey. West Hollywood turning a portion of Robertson Boulevard into a pedestrian thoroughfare on weekends.
MICHAEL SKOTZO: It's an amazing idea. You know it's almost like 3rd Street Promenade, only better, more lively. You have The Abbey, you have Sur, you have all these other restaurants here. Great idea to bring people in.
AMY POWELL: Traffic was shut down along the stretch of Robertson, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose, at 6:00 this evening to launch Out on Robertson. The move allows restaurants and retail shops to use sidewalks, streets, and parking lots to expand and do more business outdoors. Masks are still required. And visitors are being reminded to follow social distancing protocols.
AMANDA POTTER: I think it's 100% worth it. I think it's worth the traffic coming back. I think it's worth everything else. Like, look at these lines. People just want to be happy again.
AMY POWELL: Many WeHo businesses were hit hard during the pandemic. City officials hope to create a festive and safe atmosphere and bring more patrons back to WeHo.
JOHN D'AMICO: Some of our other restaurants are coming. There will be yoga in the streets on Sunday mornings. There will be ice cream for walking around. Pump will be joining us after that and other nonprofits from around the city will be doing pop ups here.
AMY POWELL: But residents worry about increased traffic in the area.
MANNY RODRIGUEZ: It's a through street that's been open for 100 years. And all of a sudden it's being closed for 32 hours every weekend without any consultation with the community. And that's disappointing.
AMY POWELL: Out on Robertson has been launched as a pilot program.
CINDRA SKOTZKO: I think they should have advertised it, because we have not heard anything about it until we were just driving by. If this happens every weekend, we're here.
AMY POWELL: So these shutdowns will only occur on weekends, from 6:00 PM on Saturday to 2:00 AM on Monday. And again, this is a pilot program right now. It officially kicks off on May 1st.