Double Feature

Could L.A. get a second Hollywood sign?

City Terrain Urbanism West
Could L.A. get a second Hollywood sign? A recently-completed study aimed at boosting accessibility to L.A.'s Hollywood sign suggests duplicating the sign in another location among potential fixes. (Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia)
Could L.A. get a second Hollywood sign? A recently-completed study aimed at boosting accessibility to L.A.'s Hollywood sign suggests duplicating the sign in another location among potential fixes. (Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia)

A newly-released report aimed at finding ways to increase public access to Los Angeles’s Hollywood sign without impacting surrounding residential neighborhoods has made a few surprising recommendations, including the potential of erecting a duplicate sign on the opposite slope of the Hollywood Hills favoring the San Fernando Valley.

The report, released earlier this week, was drafted by consultants Dixon Resources Unlimited at the behest of Los Angeles City Council District 4, amid complaints from local residents who would like to see public access to the site restricted. Homeowners in the areas surrounding the sign have complained of higher rates of traffic over recent years, as the sign’s popularity has boomed in the fitness-crazed Instagram age. The sign itself is not formally recognized as a public space, but many people access the grounds via a network of public hiking trails throughout Griffith Park. The sign—visible from across the region and perhaps best seen in sequence, coming in and out of view from twisty Mulholland Drive—is widely photographed from within surrounding neighborhoods, creating traffic and endangering pedestrians.

In 2017, the city closed the popular Beachwood Canyon trailhead that leads to the sign, due to neighborhood outcry. Although vehicular access has been maintained to the trailhead, hikers and sign watchers traveling on foot are now instructed to use alternative entrances to the park. Still, however, demand to reach the site is ever-increasing and the City is searching for potential solutions that benefit both sides.

The report recommends 29 potential fixes. Many of the proposed solutions involve instituting common sense improvements like additional wayfinding and pedestrian-friendly designs. Other potential solutions, like increasing parking fines and blocking views of the sign from residential streets using new plantings, are directly aimed at making it more difficult to see or access the sign at all. Several suggestions, however, stand out as more highly visible initiatives that would represent substantial investments in public infrastructure while also re-tooling the Hollywood sign’s significance in the city’s urban imaginary as a physical place rather than simply something to observe from afar.

Among the larger-scale potential solutions in the report, perhaps most radical is the notion of creating a second Hollywood sign along the northern slope of the Hollywood Hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley. The duplicate sign, the report contends, could “spread out the impact of photo-seekers to both sides of the park.”

The report also suggests the potential of adding more than one replica, as well as several ideas for creating a visitor center, viewing platform, transportation terminal, and even a network of gondolas to reach the sign.

For now, the recommendations will be taken under consideration; a timeline for the final selection of actionable concepts and their implementation has not been released.

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