On March 25, the Hollyridge trailhead, which leads to some of the best views of the Hollywood Sign, was closed for five weeks so that the city could install a new gate. Nine months later, the gate is finished, but the trail is still closed and there is no reopening date set. As Los Angeles slowly but deliberately moves away from its image as a private city and toward an image as a place that values and encourages public space, the holdouts are, predictably, losing their minds. The neighbors around the Hollywood Sign have been fighting Hollywood Sign viewers for years; they say map apps and the internet have only lately made the problem unbearable, and have in fact lobbied software companies to give bad directions to the Hollywood Sign, to steer potential viewers out of their neighborhood. (They've also shot down compromises, like a city-run shuttle service to the sign.)
The crusade is vain in both senses: Hollywood Sign gawkers can see with their own eyes where the sign is, and will keep heading toward it—in the LA Times this weekend, Steve Lopez reported that a security guard posted at the gate said "he was turning away more than a hundred visitors on weekdays and as many as 500 on weekends"—and the homeowners don't have any more right to the public streets and parkland than visitors do. That's not stopping them from taking whatever they can though: as the trail remains closed, the neighbors have been working on getting a permit parking district, which will keep outsiders from parking on the streets during certain hours. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge's office promised the trail would only be closed for a short time and neighbors insist to Lopez that there was no intentional stalling, yet the reopening is now specifically tied to the parking district—the trailhead will be accessible again 30 days after the parking district signs are installed (they're 80 percent up now).
In the meantime, we suggest you go hike the Hollyridge trail, which you can access by following Beachwood Drive all the way to the top (try plugging 3400 N. Beachwood Dr. into that pesky map app of yours). Gizmodo writer and local hero Alissa Walker tells Lopez "she strolls right past the guard, who has a 'City of Los Angeles' patch on his sleeve, but has no authority in her opinion to block access to a public trail." (Incidentally, the city has spent $60,000 on private security here.) She doesn't seem to have had any trouble with that method, so try it out for yourself. The neighbors aren't interested in allowing you to use your public space, so why should you bother with what they want?
· Hollywood sign access remains a battle between competing interests [LAT]
· Why Has the Hollywood Sign Trail Been Closed For Five Months? [Curbed LA]