LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Hollywood sign was once an epic billboard promising homebuyers a tranquil lifestyle high above the congestion of Los Angeles below.
Almost a century later, the sign is the city’s most famous landmark and traffic in the hillside community boasts New York City-worthy gridlock.
Residents say tourists weren’t a problem until two years ago, when GPS and Internet maps started giving directions to the sign.
Now, scores of tourists pour into the neighborhood daily in rental cars and tour vans, causing safety hazards and headaches ranging from sheared off fire hydrants to fender-benders to blocked driveways, not to mention noise, trash and car exhaust at four main picture-taking vistas.
The succinct message recently painted on a dirt patch –“tourists go away” — sums up the sentiments of many residents.
The Hollywood sign was created in 1923. The letters stand 45-feet tall and stretch 350-feet long.
(© Copyright 2011 — The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)