HOLLYWOOD - Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell announced that the Hollywood Walk of Fame Master Plan, the signature project of his “HEART of Hollywood” initiative, has officially begun schematic design, the next stage toward developing a full master plan. The project, which began early last year and released a concept plan this past January, has received broad support from an array of Hollywood stakeholders.
“This began as an effort to bring a cohesive, holistic design - centered around residents and pedestrians - to the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “In the wake of COVID-19, the goals of this project are even more important. Enhancing public spaces is not only good for our collective psyche, but also for a local economy that is being challenged by the pandemic.”
The concept plan envisions Hollywood Boulevard along the Walk of Fame as a place with wider sidewalks, more space for amenities like sidewalk dining, additional shade trees, enhanced lighting, a mobility lane, and additional pedestrian safety features. It is anticipated that the project could create hundreds of construction jobs, along with other economic, environmental, and public health benefits. Since the beginning of COVID-19, Hollywood Boulevard along the Walk of Fame has seen a 14% rise in vacancies. This project will be essential to revitalizing the Boulevard whe the community begins to emerge from the pandemic.
Robust community engagement has been a cornerstone of the effort. In-person and virtual outreach has included focus groups, neighborhood council meetings, a community open house, surveys, and an ongoing series of roundtable meetings, more than 40 of which have been held thus far.
“Like so many in Hollywood, I’m so excited about this project and have enjoyed being a part of the community engagement process,” said Sarah Zurell, a Hollywood resident and entrepreneur. “The ongoing outreach by Councilmember O’Farrell’s team has been inclusive, inspiring, and an example of how to build consensus around a vision. This process has reflected the love and care that so many people have for this treasured public space.”
The project is being overseen by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering. The concept plan proposes roadway changes to Hollywood Blvd, including removing the parking lane between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue and reducing the street by one travel lane in each direction between Argyle Avenue and La Brea Avenue. That space would then be dedicated to the new amenities, which would be designed and constructed in collaboration with the community.
Initial analysis showed that the proposed change to the roadway is not anticipated to result in heavy impacts to vehicular circulation. Schematic design will include a more detailed study of any corresponding impacts to traffic, and the community will be kept informed and updated regarding the analysis.
“We are thrilled to work with Councilmember O’Farrell and the community on this transformational project,” said Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer. “The Bureau of Engineering is committed to a collaborative, cohesive design for the Walk of Fame Master Plan - and ultimately bringing it to life, piece by piece, over time.”
The Walk of Fame Master Plan design team is led by Gensler. Gensler is an award winning global design firm committed to creating an equitable future through design in the communities where they live, work and play. Their projects in Hollywood include workplaces for Netflix and the renovation and expansion of the beloved landmark Musso and Frank Grill with an emphasis on improving the public experience.
In addition to the support from community members, the project also recently received an “Award of Excellence” from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Planning Association. The award will officially be presented at a virtual ceremony later this year. For more details on the HEART of Hollywood initiative and Walk of Fame Master Plan, including a survey and FAQs, visit http://heartofhollywood.la.