There are now even more interested parties in the mix trying to figure out how to deal with tourists in search of the Hollywood sign. The Hollywood United Neighborhood Council (HUNC) held a meeting on Monday to address the traffic concerns in upper Beachwood Canyon, and to discuss the controversial signs--installed in the neighborhood in February and taken down just a few weeks later--that directed tourists to take one particular route up to see the Hollywood Sign.
Well-represented at the HUNC's Public Safety, Public Works and Transportation Committee meeting were members of the Hollywoodland Homeowners Association (HHA). The HHA's board originally spearheaded the effort to put the signs up, but allegedly took them down after traffic spiked on some roads.
"The signs were not meant for the long-term," HHA board member Jeanne Clark said after Monday's meeting. "The city has to look long-term at tourism."
The dispute over the signs--a debate that's really about how to get people to the Hollywood Sign--has been raging since they went up on February 4, with plenty of anonymous anger, allegations of sign-stealing from both sides, and a claim of actual hacksawing (to get the signs down).
Last year, the HHA board made the original push to put up signs in upper Beachwood Canyon, working with the Department of Transportation to have the signs made and installed. But the incoming HHA board, which took office right around the time the signs went up, passed a motion on February 27th, demanding that the signs be removed.
And some of its members have been accused of doing the job themselves. At the meeting, HHA board member Bruce Mahler said the signs were on his deck, waiting to go to "storage locker 306." [UPDATE: Mahler emails us to say the signs were in fact removed by a Department of Transportation contractor; post updated; our apologies for inferring he himself took down the signs]
On Monday, HUNC passed a motion to recommend that the Department of Transportation or an independent traffic consultant review the issue before anything else is done. If signs are reinstalled, HUNC VP Erik Sanjurjo said the neighborhood council would help pay for them, but warned against the shenanigans that have allegedly gone on with the HHA's signs.
"If the neighborhood council uses public funds to put up the signs, and you take them down, they're not going to take it lightly,” said Sanjurjo, adding that removing DOT-approved signs was considered larceny. [UDPATE: The LADOT says the HHA had the right to remove the signs. "It is not a crime," Bruce Gillman tells us. More here.]
Also discussed at the meeting was the route that should be used to get to the scenic outlook. Currently, the Lake Hollywood Homeowners Association (yet another homeowner group!) have put up signs directing people to Lake Hollywood Park (the HHA's signs pointed there, too).
But most GPS software sends Hollywood sign seekers to Deronda Drive, a road that ends in a large turnaround and a gate for Mount Lee emergency access. Everyone at the meeting agreed that Deronda needs to be kept clear.
“All of your streets in my opinion are very tight," LAFD Battalion Chief Chris Kawai told the meeting on Monday night. But Kawai said he wasn't qualified to say which route up to the Hollywood Sign would be safest.
As for other ways to deal with the crowds, speakers during the meeting suggested landscaping certain areas to block views of the Hollywood Sign, making the neighborhood no access except for tour buses, banning tour buses, and gating the entire area to make it into a private community.
Several people liked the idea of sawhorses at strategic intersections, possibly coupled on weekends with traffic directors (similar to Hollywood Bowl-adjacent neighborhoods on concert nights).
Following Monday's meeting, HUNC's recommendation will be passed on to the Department of Transportation and Councilman Tom LaBonge’s office. UPDATE: Here's video illustrating the dangerous situation.