Walk of Fame master plan enters design phase

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Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has announced that city engineers are beginning the schematic design phase of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Master Plan.

The plan envisions Hollywood Boulevard along the Walk of Fame with wider sidewalks, more space for amenities like sidewalk dining, additional shade trees, enhanced lighting, a mobility lane and additional pedestrian safety features.

This began as an effort to bring a cohesive, holistic design centered around residents and pedestrians to the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” O’Farrell said July 29. “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 project, which began early last year, is being led by global design firm Gensler and overseen by the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering.

“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.”

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.

O’Farrell said the community has been engaged in the planning process since it began. 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.”

It is anticipated that the project could create hundreds of construction jobs, along with other economic, environmental and public health benefits, the councilman said.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollywood Boulevard along the Walk of Fame has seen a 14% rise in commercial vacancies, and O’Farrell said the project will be essential to revitalizing the boulevard.

The concept plan proposes roadway changes to Hollywood Boulevard, including removing the parking lane between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue and reducing traffic to one travel lane in each direction between Argyle and La Brea avenues. That space would then be dedicated to the new amenities, which would be designed and constructed in collaboration with local stakeholders, O’Farrell said.

An initial analysis showed that the proposed change to the roadway is not anticipated to result in heavy traffic in the area, according to city officials.

The schematic design will include a more detailed study of any corresponding impacts to traffic, and updates will be provided on the analysis.

The project recently received an award of excellence from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Planning Association. The award will be presented officially at a virtual ceremony later this year.

More details on Walk of Fame Master Plan can be found at heartofhollywood.la.

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