For the past two years, Los Angeles Walks has published Footnotes, our annual report on the state of walking in LA. Over the next few months we will be posting pieces from our April 2015 edition here, particularly as the articles become most relevant. Today, one day after celebrating the new pedestrian crossing at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave., we present an essay about that place written by LA Walks steering committee member Alissa Walker.
Hollywood and Highland
For three years I watched pedestrians cross the intersection of Hollywood and Highland every morning while I brushed my teeth. I lived on a hill two blocks away, just far enough away to feel like I was gazing down upon a distant, miniature city, but close enough to see people waiting for the 780 bus as it sighed to a halt.
What I remember most about living so close to Hollywood and Highland were the horns. Honking at drivers trying their darndest to turn left on a very yellow arrow. Or hapless selfie-taking tourists jogging across five lanes of traffic. Or one of several costumed Spidermen taking too much time in the crosswalk. And then, every once in awhile, the horn would be punctuated by a smash.
Hollywood and Highland is one of the busiest intersections in the city for walkers, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Both Los Angeles Walks and a recent report by the Los Angeles Times have highlighted the high number of pedestrian collisions here. But what’s interesting to note is that this intersection is already pedestrian-only some of the time—it’s often closed to cars to accommodate premieres at one of the many theaters on this block. Hollywood needs to go ahead and close this intersection to cars permanently—close it all the way to La Brea. Before it’s too late.
There’s no better place to do it. Hollywood is home to one of LA’s most notable landmarks which just happens to be all about walking. The terrazzo stars draw millions of pedestrians to Hollywood every year to examine these blocks on foot; you can’t see the sidewalks from a car or a tour bus. Imagine if the Walk of Fame not only celebrated famous Angelenos but also honored LA’s pedestrians, too.