LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Replicating the Hollywood Sign on the other side of the mountain, creating an aerial tram and developing a shuttle service up Beachwood Canyon are among the recommendations made by a consulting firm Wednesday to ease traffic congestion for neighbors and improve tourist access following last year’s controversial closure of a popular trail that leads to the sign.
Dixon Resources Unlimited, a transportation consulting firm, conducted a comprehensive analysis on how to enhance the visitor experience at the Hollywood Sign, and to address problems created in the surrounding neighborhoods by the thousands of visitors who flock to the area each year.
The report was commissioned by Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, who represents the area. He also introduced a City Council motion that would instruct various departments to study each strategy presented by Dixon Resources.
The study’s 29 recommendations include smaller proposals, such as additional bathrooms and sidewalk improvements, alongside larger ones, including the replication of the sign on another side of the mountain, the creation of an aerial tram, and an alternative access plan at the Beachwood Drive gate that was closed last year as the result of a lawsuit.
In April of last year, the city permanently closed the Beachwood Drive gate to the Hollyridge Trail, one of the main access points to the Hollywood Sign.
The court-ordered closure stemmed from a legal battle over access to the Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables on Beachwood Drive, which provides horseback rides in Griffith Park. The ranch operator sued the city in 2015 over the number of hikers using a 20-foot strip of land it owns, which is the only access point to its business. The ranch had a longstanding legal agreement allowing hikers to use the land but complained the city was channeling too many hikers to the path.
Wednesday’s study suggested a way to utilize the closed Beachwood gate to the popular Hollyridge Trail. It explains that the city still maintains rights to the easement road north of the Beachwood gate, and that an electric shuttle could be used to transport visitors through the gate to the Hollyridge Trail without requiring any roadway or trail reconfigurations.
The study notes that many residential neighborhoods get clogged by visitors seeking an ideal vantage point to view the sign, and an aerial tram to a choice location could encourage visitors to avoid the residential neighborhoods. It suggests several possible locations as the starting point for the tram, including the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park.
The study also suggests ways to improve parking and traffic flow in the area, expand public transit opportunities, enhance pedestrian safety, and improve emergency vehicle access.
The sign was originally built in 1923 to read “Hollywoodland” to advertise a local real estate development, and the idea of replicating it on the north side of the mountain or the San Fernando Valley side — which the study suggests as a way to curb traffic and visitors in the area — would likely be met with some opposition, the authors note.
“One downside of this strategy is that it would take away from the history of the original Hollywood Sign and Hollywoodland,” the report says.
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