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Warner Bros. proposes tram to Hollywood Sign

LOS ANGELES — The city councilman who represents the Hollywood Hills area remains neutral on the idea of an aerial tram to the Hollywood Sign, a day after Warner Bros. came forward with a proposal to fund one at a cost of $100 million.

The idea of an aerial tram to the Hollywood Sign as a way to cut down on traffic and congestion is not new. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was open to the idea last year, and it was also included in a January report to the City Council that included more than two dozen ideas about improving access to the famed sign.

The City Council is still assessing the report, and Councilman David Ryu has not endorsed any of the proposals in the report from Dixon Resources Unlimited while the council is analyzing them.

Ryu spokesman Estevan Montemayor said the councilman would take the same approach to the proposal from Warner Bros.

“Council member Ryu is committed to a solution-driven process to the safety, mobility and access issues around the Hollywood Sign,” Montemayor said. “Upon return from the City Council recess, city officials will continue to discuss the feasibility of various proposed solutions, including transportation proposals such as a shuttle or aerial tram with the full participation of community stakeholders.”

The Dixon study was commissioned by the City Council at Ryu’s suggestion as a way to find solutions to the increased problem in recent years of people driving or hiking to the Hollywood Sign since the advent of traffic applications such as Waze have made it much easier to get close to the tourist attraction.

Warner Bros. proposed installing an aerial tram at a parking structure next to the company’s Burbank lot that would take visitors on a six-minute ride more than 1 mile up the back of Mt. Lee to a new visitors center near the sign, with pathways to a viewing area, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It’s the second major proposal for a privately funded aerial tram or gondola in the Los Angeles area. A company owned by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt recently proposed building one from Union Station to the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. That proposal was advanced to a second stage of consideration in June by the county transit agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

While Ryu remains neutral on the Dixon Resources Unlimited study, the city’s Department of Recreation of Parks and the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst examined the 29 recommendations in the report and found that 20 are feasible, seven others required further study, and two — including a second sign — were not feasible.

The Arts, Parks and River Committee reviewed the report.

The study details the feasibility of several proposals, including small ones such as additional bathrooms and sidewalk improvements, which were found feasible. Some of the larger ideas, such as the creation of an aerial tram and a visitor center, also were deemed feasible.

As to a second Hollywood Sign, the report concluded it would just create more problems.

“To develop and install a second Hollywood Sign on the opposite side of Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains will be extremely problematic,” the report said. “The opposite side of Mount Lee overlooks Forest Lawn Memorial Park Hollywood Hills and Mount Sinai Memorial Park and Mortuaries. Parking in this area, other than at both memorial parks, is scarce and there are no established hiking trails in the vicinity of this proposed location. The environmental impact of a second sign are unknown and would likely require extensive study.”

Earlier this year, Ryu reached into his office’s discretionary fund account to pay $51,000 for increase security patrols near the Hollywood Sign during spring break.

“With tourism increasing in Los Angeles, we must be proactive in ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods, hillsides and iconic Hollywood Sign,” Ryu said at the time.

 

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