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Hollywood sign tourists, sightseers annoy local residents

Tom LaBonge

An influx of tourists clogging narrow, curving hillside streets for the perfect view of the Hollywood sign is irritating local residents who say the traffic is creating safety issues.

The once-sleepy Hollywood tour bus business has become increasingly competitive. Just a few years ago there were only a few operators offering Hollywood sign viewing tours. Now, there are more than 40 tour companies running buses and vans in and out of the canyon.

In response, fliers and signs have started to crop up in the neighborhoods most affected by the traffic. One sign states: "Warning — Tourist-Free Zone — All Tourists Leave the Area."

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Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents the area, believes the problems would be lessened if the tour companies would park at the Griffith Observatory to view the sign.

"I absolutely do support people visiting here from around the world," LaBonge said. "But the impact on the neighborhood has been great."

Beachwood Canyon and Hollywoodland residents have been at odds in the past over how best to deal with the increased traffic. They clashed two years ago when Hollywoodland installed signs directing visitors away from one neighborhood and into the other. But they are now working together, their leaders say.

Residents say they are bothered by the traffic but are most concerned about safety issues because the curving hillside roads were not designed for so many cars and pedestrians.

"We live in the middle of an area that is very attractive to people all over the globe," said Fran Reichenbach, president of the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Assn. "We knew that when we moved here, but in the last few years it's really gotten out of hand."

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bob.pool@latimes.com

Twitter: @BobsLATimes

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