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Tourism to the Hollywood sign sparks a lawsuit

Corey Seeman/flickr Creative Commons

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Los Angeles' most iconic landmark is also the center of a fight between tourists who snake through neighborhoods to see it and residents who live there.

A local group Homeowners on Beachwood Drive United, comprised of people living in the Hollywoodland neighborhood, is taking the city of L.A. to court over access to the Hollywood sign.

"What we want is that the illegal access at the end of our street be closed," says resident Sarajane Schwartz.

To get to the Hollywood sign, hikers can walk up N Beachwood Dr and cut through a fence located at Sunset Ranch Hollywood that leads to a trail (via Google Maps)

Right now, hikers can walk up North Beachwood Drive and cut through a gate near Sunset Ranch Hollywood to access a trail leading up to the famous marker.

Schwartz argues that the path is dangerous for residents and tourists because there is no designated parking for them – they must park on the street – nor are there sidewalks to protect people from traffic. 

"You have thousands of people literally in the street," she says.

She also says there's more congestion in her neighborhood now, and is worried emergency vehicles would have trouble maneuvering around cars.

It wasn't always like this. Schwartz moved to the neighborhood in the late 1970s, but she says this tourism boom is pretty recent.

She believes information about the route published online helped to drive up awareness, but also blames now-retired L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who she says promoted the sign as a tourist destination.

Schwartz and other residents want is for the city to invest in other routes into the park that could be developed with infrastructure like parking and public bathrooms.

"This can't continue this way. It's Russian roulette," she says. "It's very dangerous."