Usually, a cup of tea and a frank chat can help resolve differences between neighbors. But when your neighbor is the Hollywood Bowl, that makes things more complicated.
The latest squabble is over a project to realign Odin Street to make it easier for patrons to get in and out of the music venue and reach the Hollywood Freeway.
“Slowly but surely they have expanded like an unstoppable monolith, replacing trees with concrete,” said Joyce Dyrector, a 10-year resident of Alta Loma Terrace, next to the Hollywood Bowl. “The irony is that these so-called improvements have to do with cars, not music.”
The county-funded $2.2-million project, scheduled for completion by April, is also meant to increase parking space for buses on Highland Avenue.
“It is the best situation” to alleviate traffic, said Ed Tom, supervisor of operations for the Hollywood Bowl, a county facility. “It is a very good situation for all involved.”
But residents maintain that the changes will deprive them of easy access to their homes, especially those on Alta Loma, during the Hollywood Bowl’s summer season.
They also said they were not notified of construction plans. Rather, they woke up one morning in January to the sound of chain saws tearing down 70-year-old ficus trees along Highland Avenue.
“This was done in a hasty . . . and secretive way by the Bowl,” said Jeff Chusid of the Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Assn. “We didn’t want to be put in a position of battling the county and the Bowl, but it’s just a difficult situation all around.”
Tom maintained that neighborhood association representatives were informed of the plans at an Oct. 20 meeting of the Hollywood Bowl Community Advisory Committee. Neighborhood representatives, however, claimed the issue never came up.
“Joyce (Dyrector) and I would have attacked somebody’s throat if we knew they were going to realign Odin,” said Fiona Campbell, a resident of the Hollywood Dell neighborhood for 14 years and a member of the Hollywood Bowl advisory committee who was present at the meeting.
“Maybe we didn’t make it very clear to them,” Tom said. “In all projects of this size, you try to get out the information, and somewhere along the line, there is a breakdown of communication in the community. We want to do the best we can to mitigate on these issues.”
Representatives of the Hollywood Bowl, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works are currently discussing ways to make things easier for residents. Among the measures under consideration are planting extra trees along Odin Street and creating a special left-turn lane out of Alta Loma into the Hollywood Bowl driveway, officials said.