The Hollywood sign is one of the most recognisable sites in the world. Some people come to LA just to see the sign. Pre-COVID, around 10 million visitors a year went to the site. That’s a ton of tourists.
Unfortunately, the residents that live near the sign hated the crowds that made the trek up to the hills for the sign. Some 23,000 people live in the Hollywood Hills. As tourism increased over the years, residents became frustrated that the people would crowd the already narrow neighbourhood streets by parking on them.
Somehow, Warner Bros. studios got wind of this and in 2018 it was announced that an agreement had been reached between the studio and the city of Los Angeles on a new aerial tramway. Warner Bros. would be footing the $US100 ($129) million bill. But the LA Times has reported the studio has decided it’s not going forward with the plans.
At a mile long, the tramway would have taken just six minutes to go from a parking structure on the studio’s Burbank lot to Mt. Lee, where the sign resides. Once there, a visitor’s centre with various trails would have greeted tourists.
Apparently, Warner Bros. underestimated what it would take to fund and construct what would essentially be a public transportation project. Citing concerns about safety and feasibility, the studio issued a statement:
“After exploring the challenging construction issues, required zoning changes and protocols necessary to protect guests during emergencies, we determined that our focus would be better placed on our core business interests. We know there are other solutions being explored to provide access to the iconic Hollywood sign and address neighbourhood congestion. We look forward to seeing those come to fruition for the citizens of Los Angeles and the millions of tourists eager to visit the sign each year.”
Except there are no other solutions being explored. At least not publicly. In typical LA fashion, if someone comes forward with a transportation project, it’s all in on that one project. When that project goes belly up and becomes unfeasible, everyone is looking at one another with no alternative solutions for years.
It seems, though, that Warner Bros. got in over its head with just how much would be needed for construction. Things like land ownership, the fact that the sign sits in a high-fire area and feasibility studies would have ballooned the $US100 ($129) million price tag. While there have been various tram ideas talked about for the sign over the years, none of them have come to fruition. Until then, residents of the Hollywood Hills will just have to get the city to enact tough parking laws to ward off the millions of tourists.