Traffic-Snarling Selfies Spur Plan for Tram to Hollywood Sign
(Bloomberg) -- Warner Bros. wants to save the famous Hollywood sign from a selfie generation that’s made traffic a nightmare for Tinseltown residents.
The studio has proposed building a $100 million aerial tram to carry tourists to and from the iconic landmark in the Hollywood Hills. Warner Bros unveiled its plans for the Hollywood Skyway this week to Los Angeles officials.
Warner Bros. would pay for the design, construction and operation of the tram. The idea is to divert traffic from the surrounding area, including Griffith Park and neighborhoods, while preserving access to the sign, where tourists posing for photos contribute to the congestion.
Traffic around the sign has only grown since online map services such as Waze have made finding the remote location easier. The city has tried to cope with the crowds by closing some streets to all but locals on weekends and running buses to nearby Griffith Observatory.
There’s limited parking in the area beneath the sign, which consists mostly of residential neighborhoods and narrow, winding roads.
“People drive up there and it’s a nightmare with people running up to take a picture,” Warner Bros. spokesman Paul McGuire said. “We think this is a bold, compelling solution.”
Warner Bros., now owned by AT&T Inc., offered to build the skyway partly because its studio property offers one of the most direct routes to the back of the sign. The studio also wants to help the community, McGuire said. The idea is still a proposal and could take at least five years to complete.
Local tourist officials expect annual visitors to Los Angeles to reach 50 million by 2020. The region will host the summer Olympics in 2028 -- a time when even more tourists will likely flock to the famous sign.
The sign was built as a promotion for a nearby residential development, called Hollywoodland. By the 1970s, the sign had fallen into such disrepair that a group of concerned citizens including Hugh Hefner and Gene Autry banded together to raise money to restore it.
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