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From left:  Jacob Lipa, Board of Directors, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park; Richard Land, Caltrans District 7 Interim Director; and Phil Hart, Board of Directors, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park.

Hollywood Freeway Central Park
by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 02/2010

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce wants its namesake freeway, US-101, to be capped with a one-mile long, 44-acre park.

Hollywood is known worldwide for award recognition, and on January 7, the “Friends of the Hollywood Freeway Central Park” recognized Caltrans District 7, along with several other people and organizations, at its “For the Love of Hollywood Gala.” The event was held to celebrate the first anniversary of the “Friends” coalition and to thank the community and those who have supported plans to construct a cap over the Hollywood Freeway (US-101) for park space.

The Hollywood Freeway Central Park is a proposed project by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, with involvement from many partners, to build a neighborhood park capping US-101 with approximately 44 acres of wide-open green space. The proposed park would cover the freeway beginning near Santa Monica Boulevard to the intersection of North Hollywood and Bronson Avenue in the City of Hollywood. The design proposal for the park is estimated at one-mile in length and 300 to 400 feet wide.

Caltrans District 7 has been an early supporter of the Hollywood Freeway Central Park since participating in a stakeholder workshop in 2007. The City of Hollywood and project sponsors are scheduled to begin an environmental study process late 2010. While funding for the “Hollywood Freeway Central Park” is not programmed through state resources, the vision to construct a park over a freeway falls in line with what Caltrans District 7 is known for: innovation.

“Caltrans welcomes the opportunity to be part of a team that will bring the most creative and innovative ideas to the table,” said Rick Land, Caltrans District 7 interim director, who accepted the recognition for the department. “The plan for Hollywood Freeway Central Park is consistent with Caltrans long-range plan; both have similar missions envisioning a sustainable system that improves mobility while enhancing the quality of life.”

The next step in the process is for the project sponsors to present Caltrans Planning, Public Transportation and Local Assistance Division with environmental and design plans for review to ensure that the facility over the state highway system meets the departments criteria and standards for design and safety.

Along with Caltrans, other award recipients included Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge and City Council President Eric Garcetti, the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Other partners who support the park project include the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and various surrounding neighborhood councils.