Culver City council approves lane closures in Arts District to support outdoor dining

Following its successful implementation in Downtown Culver City, the Culver City council considered several lane closures of Westbound Washington in the Arts District to give restaurants space for outdoor dining, as seen here. (Courtesy of Culver City)

After the successful implementation of lane closures to support outdoor dining in Downtown Culver City, the Culver City council held discussions to expand the program

Before coming to this idea, staff considered several alternatives to the plan. This included closure of just the parking lanes while maintaining both westbound Washington Boulevard travel lanes, closure of the parking area and the number two lane going westbound on Washington, the closure of the parking area and part of the number two westbound lane to also keep a bike lane available, and the closure of Hargis Street between Washington Boulevard and the alleyway behind Brunello Trattoria. The Hargis Street closure was suggested by the community.

The proposed closure in front of the EK Valley restaurant would not impeded with any driveways, and would stop just short of the bus stop at the end of the restaurant’s block.

For the Industry Cafe and Jazz restaurant and for Brunello Trattoria, the initialy plan was to simply close the parking and number two lane on Washington Boulevard from Melvil Street to Hargis Street. However, after listening to a variety of community concerns, the plan shifted to the closing of Hargis Street to the alleyway to free space for people to go down the other lane in the alleyway for access to residential areas. The baracades would then be tapered down as you travel further east on Washington past Hargis.

Additionally, there would be a closure of a westbound through lane east of La Cienega Boulevard.

There were also two different requests from Downtown Culver City businesses that the council made decisions on. The first was a parklet request from Rush Street, which includes outdoor dining on the eastside of Irving Place, south of Culver Boulevard, as well as a parklet closure in their curbside parking area.  

The other request is from K-Zo’s Restaurant, which includes outdoor dining on the south side of Culver Boulevard just east of Ince Boulevard in front of the restaurant, as well as closure of some of the eastbound right-turn lane serving the Ince parking structure.

There were several concerns presented by councilmemembers. Councilmember Small brought up the presence of the Play Mountain Place school on Hargis Street, who were concernced about the Hargis Street closure, and was hoping that staff could remain in contact with the school to find a plan that works for both parties.

Councilmember Daniel Lee mentioned his concern over the traffic on the small section of Culver between Ince and Venice that could get cluttered because of the closure and general lack of room in that area.

However, there was a general consensus amongst councilmembers that leaving it up to staff to communicate with businesses and other entities in the area to find a compromise.

Seperately, a discussion was brought up about the Rush Street parklet, and whether or not the city should provide the supplies for the parklet. Lee emphasized his support for the parklets, but believed that the city should spend its money on expanding the program into neighborhoods like West Culver and Fox Hills, and that sentiment was echoed by the rest of city council.