LOS ANGELES - It is to Hollywood what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the Empire State Building is to New York City.
The ultimate selfie spot. The Hollywood sign.
However, unlike those two popular landmarks, visitor access is an issue. The neighbors who live closest to the sign have complained loudly about tourists invading their spaces, and have worked with city officials to make parking nearest the Hollywood sign viewing areas off-limits to non-residents without permits on weekends and holidays. They've even put up signs encouraging tourists to turn away.
This week the movie studio Warner Bros. proposed a better way. The studio, home to the "Batman," and "Harry Potter" films, and TV shows like "The Big Bang Theory," proposed building an aerial tram that would bring tourists from the studio lot to a viewing area.
The "Hollywood Skyway" would "reduce street congestion, improve safety, and ease neighborhood frustrations," the studio said. "Given our close proximity to the north side of the Hollywood sign, we believe we offer a solution that has the least impact on the environment - protecting and preserving Griffith Park - and the surrounding residential neighborhoods."
The Los Angeles Times cites the cost of the project at $100 million. Warner Bros. had no comment beyond the statement.
The proposal would have to be considered by the city of Los Angeles and the parks departments.
The tramway from Warner Bros. would be a six-minute ride up to the back of Mount Lee, one of the main viewing areas for the sign, to a new visitor center.
Like neighbor Universal Studios, Warner Bros. now offers studio back lot tours as well for a fee.
The official viewing spot, per the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is the Hollywood and Highland Mall on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which offers a super wide-angle glimpse of the sign from the fourth floor deck.
Motivated tourists who want to get right up close to the sign can drive up Beachwood Canyon or to Lake Hollywood Park for a closer view. Or they can go to Griffith Park, where they can hike to the back of the Hollywood sign. However, the sign is covered up with a chain-link fence, so selfies have to be artfully composed, by holding the camera up high.
A statement from the offices of Los Angeles Councilman David Ryu, who represents the district, said it looks forward to discussing the matter when the council returns from recess.
However don't expect changes overnight. Chris Baumgart, the chair of the Hollywood Sign Trust, which oversees the care of the Hollywood Sign, noted in a statement that Warner Bros. will face a "long road of vetting," to get the project approved. "The Environmental Impact Report for construction in an open space is just one of the challenges that will have to be navigated if this intriguing idea is to come to fruition."