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Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood named a 'Great Street'

October 4, 2011 |  6:23 pm

The 2.8-mile section of Santa Monica Boulevard running through West Hollywood has been named a Great Street for 2011 by the American Planning Assn., the organization announced Tuesday.

Santa Monica Boulevard, which also runs through the cities of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, shows the "unique identity and character" of West Hollywood, said John Keho, West Hollywood’s planning manager for current and historic preservation.

"The Russian community is vibrant on the eastern portion of it," Keho said, "and the gay and lesbian community is vibrant on the western end."

West Hollywood’s portion of Santa Monica Boulevard was one of 10 streets chosen for the designation through the APA’s Great Places in America program and the only one in California. Some other streets included Main Street in Nantucket, Mass.; Washington Avenue in St. Louis, Mo.; and King Street in Alexandria, Va.

"This iconic boulevard, part of legendary Route 66, is a true reflection of its residents," said Paul Farmer, chief executive of the American Planning Assn. "Here, municipal flagpoles proudly fly rainbow flags alongside the American flag and ethnic grocery stores and Jewish delis cater to the city's Russian-speaking residents."

When West Hollywood was incorporated in 1984, Santa Monica Boulevard had abandoned railroad tracks in the middle of the street, unlandscaped medians and utility wires hanging over it, said Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Prang. The city has since torn up the tracks, buried the utility lines and planted 1,200 trees along the street and in the medians.

The city took control of the state-owned boulevard from the California Department of Transportation in 1999, Keho said. That year, the city began a two-year, $34-million project to remodel the street and its sidewalks.

"I think we’ve made Santa Monica more than a mode for transportation," said Mayor John Duran. "It’s a place for the community to come together."

Duran said he is proud that West Hollywood’s three major streets -– Santa Monica Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue -– are featured and immortalized in film, television and song.

"Our streets are used as a representation of the good life in Southern California," Duran said.


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