When tourists visit Los Angeles with little information aside from a guidebook, their first stop is often the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An approximate 10 million out-of-towners flock to the 1.3-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard annually in the hopes of finding their favorite celebrities’ names among the more than 2,500 brass stars. The built environment around those stars, by contrast, has left visitors feeling underwhelmed about their Hollywood experience.
With bonds secured from the local Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), a new master plan for the area has recently been revealed as part of City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s Heart of Hollywood initiative that was first announced in October 2018. “Hollywood is an iconic destination known the world over,” said O’Farrell on his website, “but it is also a regional economic engine helping create good jobs and healthy neighborhoods. I’ve been working to ensure that Hollywood evolves into a future worthy of its rich history with a priority focus on its residents, businesses, and its signature entertainment industry, as well as its rightful place as a world tourist destination.”
Global design and architecture firm Gensler presented plans for a more pedestrian-friendly version of the 15-block tourist destination. Beyond necessary repairs to the sidewalks, which have been badly damaged by decades of neglect, the main planning proposal addresses the area’s lack of unified signage, greenery, and street furnishing. Under the proposed plan, street parking and driving lanes would be significantly reduced to make room for more pedestrian activities, including sidewalk dining and outdoor performances, and will even establish five “event plazas” adjacent to the area’s most popular tourist attractions, such as the Pantages Theatre and the Hollywood Highland Center Mall. Though there is currently no construction date set, Gensler is working with the city to further develop the master plan design, to be presented to the public throughout 2020 for feedback.
The renovation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is just one of many attempts to make Los Angeles a more pedestrian-friendly city in response to recently increased densification. Last November, local architecture firm RCH Studios presented their master plan for Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade that would similarly create room for unimpeded pedestrian traffic, street performances, and other related outdoor activities.