With fewer traffic lanes and wider sidewalks – is it feasible?
Millions of tourists are drawn to Hollywood Boulevard each year to explore the infamous Walk of Fame. But, with massive flocks of tourists, performers, vendors, and locals fighting for limited square footage, Hollywood Boulevard leaves much to be desired.
Is there a solution?
At the end of January, L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell revealed an extensive 90-page concept plan for a revamp of the iconic Hollywood Boulevard, aiming to create a more accessible and welcoming atmosphere for tourists and locals alike.
The primary proposal is inspired by famous streets all over the globe, including Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Elysees. Goals for the overhaul include wider sidewalks to accommodate outside dining, trees to shade tourists, and less room for vehicles that congest the road.
Therein lies the controversy.
The bold proposal would reduce Hollywood Boulevard to a single-center turn lane and one traffic lane for each direction between La Brea Avenue and Vine Street. This dramatic reduction in space for L.A. drivers has sparked some outcry.
The proposed changes would allow the sidewalk on either side to be extended to 25 feet, including a designated lane for bikes and scooters.
A reduction in traffic lanes on busy Hollywood Boulevard would require a thoughtful and conscientious strategy to ensure business owners and residents aren’t negatively impacted.
The makeover would need to keep in mind issues like the ability of tour buses to frequently drop off and pick up tourists, as well as prevent too much congestion for public transit.
O’Farrell ensures the overhaul would make the boulevard “much safer.”
The plan hopes to make space for more formal amenities for tourists like outdoor restaurant seating, designated play areas for kids and dogs and vendor kiosks. The overall goal is to create a more cohesive environment on Hollywood Boulevard.
The street experiences frequent closures due to movie premieres and award events throughout the year, reducing its capacity to entertain tourists. In fact, people often are forced to walk in the street when an event is taking place.
A strategic transformation to Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame could change all that.
O’Farrell’s proposal has already secured just over $4 million in funding. Hopefully, with some revisions and fine-tuning, Hollywood Boulevard can become more attractive and useful to tourists and locals alike.
The proposition was released a mere two days after San Francisco banned cars from Market Street, one of the busiest roads in the city.
The almost 2-mile stretch of road that runs through the downtown area of San Francisco is now exclusive to transit and paratransit vehicles, and pedestrians on foot, bikes, and scooters. Reductions to Market Street traffic have gradually been enacted over the past ten years.
Los Angeles seems to be looking for a similar outcome for Hollywood Boulevard. With some strategic planning and compromise, it could be just around the corner.