Travel

Give me a sign. Here’s why L.A. might double down on iconic landmark

Two tourists walk up the dirt trail past a no hiking sign to get closer to the Hollywood Sign, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Los Angeles. A consulting firm has suggested radical ideas to ease traffic and offer safer viewing of the landmark – including building a duplicate of the landmark on the opposite side of Mount Lee.
Two tourists walk up the dirt trail past a no hiking sign to get closer to the Hollywood Sign, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Los Angeles. A consulting firm has suggested radical ideas to ease traffic and offer safer viewing of the landmark – including building a duplicate of the landmark on the opposite side of Mount Lee. AP

Some landmarks are so influential that they’ve prompted replicas. The Eiffel Tower got its half-scale version on the Las Vegas Strip in 1999. The Guy West Bridge near Sacramento State is at least partly modeled after the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.

But tribute landmarks are usually built in different cities from their inspirations. There’s no sense in floating a second Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, right?

Hold on: There’s a slim-but-nonzero chance that the city of Los Angeles will build a second Hollywood sign on the opposite side of The Hills, in an effort to ease traffic congestion in the area.

As farfetched as it sounds, that’s one suggestion that transportation consulting firm Dixon Resources Unlimited recently made to the City Council’s Arts, Entertainment, Parks and River Committee. The committee hasn’t quite said yes, but it hasn’t said no either.

City Council District 4 last month introduced a motion to devote resources toward studying ways to improve safety and mobility in the area near the Hollywood sign, including Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory. Those are among the most popular vantage points for the landmark, as well as tourist attractions of their own merit.

Among 29 strategies envisioned in Dixon’s safety report are traditional ideas like expanded shuttle routes, sidewalk improvements and an aerial tram.

Then there’s the aforementioned radical one: Just build an exact duplicate of the sign on the opposite side of Mount Lee. That should cut tourist traffic in half, right?

The motion – to improve access and limit traffic, not necessarily by building a whole new sign – was discussed and approved during a meeting this Wednesday. Council members did not comment on or critique the firm’s individual strategies, CBS Los Angeles reported.

A second Hollywood sign is an idea with its share of flaws, the report notes.

“One downside of this strategy is that it would take away from the history of the original Hollywood Sign and Hollywoodland,” the report says. “For educational and historical purposes, it may make the most sense to maintain only the original sign.”

The original Hollywood sign was built in 1923 and cost $21,000 (equal to about $300,000 today). It has undergone hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and restoration since then.

City Councilman David Ryu, who requested the Dixon report, argues that the Hollywood sign deserves better accessibility.

“This is a world-renowned icon, and possibly the only one without proper access to it,” Ryu said in January, according to ABC 7. “It’s like having the Statue of Liberty without a visitor’s center, viewing platform, or even a sign telling you how to get to it. It is unsustainable and unsafe.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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