The recently completed (and, controversially, recently often temporarily closed) Sixth Street Bridge has ignited all sorts of conversations in Los Angeles about who this city’s streets should belong to. But just up the 101, there’s another project readying to make some pedestrian-first enhancements on one of L.A.’s most, let’s say, unique streets.
Construction will begin in the summer of 2023 on so-called “quick-build” streetscape improvements along the most popular expanses of Hollywood Boulevard. In 2020, the city released its first concept images for plans to reduce lanes of car traffic and increase pedestrian space on that stretch of the Walk of Fame. Though that full master plan build-out is still a few years off, some of its meaningful alterations will arrive sooner.
The quick-build will convert most of the parking lanes on Hollywood Boulevard, between Orange Drive and Gower Street, into pedestrian zones with tables and chairs for dining, space for sidewalk vending and temporary art installations, and planters, landscaping and additional shade trees. (Some pickup, drop-off and loading zones for cars will remain.) The $7.2 million mini-makeover, funded by the Measure M-enabled Metro Active Transport program, will also provide bus shelters and boarding platforms (some stops will be consolidated as part of Metro’s “NextGen” program) plus bike racks, transit kiosks, benches and waste receptacles. The project also aims to improve pedestrian safety, which sort of paradoxically includes reducing pedestrian crossings along Hollywood Boulevard.
We were curious how these improvements will impact the Highland-to-Orange stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, the remarkably busy, tourist-filled area by the Chinese Theatre and Ovation—and one that also routinely sees lane and street closures for movie premieres. According to a spokesperson for council member Mitch O’Farrell’s office, which represents the district, how exactly to deal with that unique area is still being developed. It’s a similar story for what will happen with the many tour buses and vans in the area. There are existing tour bus zones just off Hollywood Boulevard (and outside of the scope of this quick-build), but venture along Hollywood Boulevard right night and you’re sure to see dozens of vans idling along the curb—in parking spaces that will start to disappear come next summer.
Construction on the quick-build should wrap up in 2024, the same year that the full build-out of the Hollywood Walk of Fame master plan could commence (in segments, starting between Gower Street and Wilcox Avenue). This phase of the full project, which also covers Vine Street) will add another few feet of pedestrian space plus protected bike lanes. It’ll also reduce two lanes of car traffic in each direction to just one each way (plus a center turning lane).