The 2015 Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby (née Kodak) Theatre this coming Sunday, February 22, which means LA will be even more inundated with the rich and famous than it normally is. The red carpet is being rolled out on Hollywood Boulevard right now, which apparently takes some time: the street is completely closed to all traffic between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive through Tuesday, February 24 at 6 am. Pedestrians have graciously been afforded an eight-foot access strip on the south sidewalk. Orchid Alley (north of Hollywood & Highland) and Hawthorne Alley (around the El Capitan) are also closed, and the Hollywood/Highland Red Line station will be closed from February 21 to February 23. Ten days of closed roads and sidewalks seems excessive, but what if ... it stayed that way forever?
What if Hollywood Boulevard were always closed to cars between Highland and Orange (or Sycamore)? Or at least on weekends? It could be Los Angeles's answer to Times Square: a pedestrian zone catering especially to tourists. As we've suggested before, parts of the street could be rented out to restaurants for outdoor dining space, or to even more kiosks selling souvenirs and food. Low-rent Batmen could take all the pictures they like, and Hare Krishnas wouldn't suck up precious sidewalk space. Driving into the area is a nightmare anyways, and the block already has its own Red Line stop. Los Angeles has been working hard to shed its reputation as an unwalkable Autopia in recent years, and turning our number one tourist attraction into a fortress for the famous does not help; an open-air pedestrian plaza could be a different story. Maybe the Academy will even have a little money left over after the gift bags to help out.
· Street & Sidewalk Closures [oscars.org]
· 11 Small Ideas for Mayor-Elect Garcetti to Make LA Better [Curbed LA]
· Inside the Oscars's Elaborate Infrastructure on Hollywood Blvd. [Curbed LA]