Warner Bros. Plans to Build Tramway Linking Burbank Lot to Hollywood Sign

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The studio, now owned by innovation-focused AT&T, told Los Angeles officials Monday that it will pay the estimated $100 million for the so-called Hollywood Skyway.

Move over Elon Musk.

Warner Bros. has a bold vision for an aerial tramway to transport visitors to and from its Burbank lot to the Hollywood sign. Like a plan that Musk has for a high-tech hyperloop that would shuttle riders between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Warners’ tramway would alleviate traffic and parking problems that plague the famed landmark.

The studio, now owned by innovation-focused AT&T, told Los Angeles officials Monday that it will pay the estimated $100 million for the so-called Hollywood Skyway.

“The Hollywood sign is an important historic and globally recognized landmark for the city of Los Angeles. The sign’s fame, however, has created unintended negative effects such as heavy traffic in adjacent residential areas and related safety concerns,” a Warners spokesperson said in a statement. “The concept of an aerial tram as a solution is one that been suggested in the past and was most recently highlighted as a potential solution in the comprehensive strategies report by Dixon Resources Unlimited.

Warners decided to step up given its close proximity to the north side of the Hollywood sign and wanted to be part of a solution that has the least impact possible on the environment so that Griffith Park and the surrounding residential neighborhoods are left largely undisrupted. 

“We understand there are a number of possible solutions being considered, but we are confident the city’s feasibility study will show our proposal to be the best option — an option that can be built and operated at no cost to the taxpayer and that will provide public benefit to the city of Los Angeles and its residents,” the spokesperson added.

The length of the route would be more than 1 mile and last roughly 6 minutes — a far cry from current driving estimates even under the best conditions — traveling up the back of Mt. Lee to a planned visitors center near the sign.

It is unclear how Warners would carry out construction without impacting the ecologically fragile Griffith Park, home to mountain lions and the gray fox. The studio’s plan would have to pass muster with environmental impact studies and neighborhood organizations. A source says the tramway would take about three years to be built.

It's not the first time the private sector proposed a transportation project linking the Hollywood sign. In December, media mogul Barry Diller spearheaded a $25 million to $30million gondola project that would transport tourists from the Los Angeles Zoo to the sign, but it has been met with fierce resistance.

If the Warner Bros. plan is realized, it would be a boon to Warners’ own tourism business, with a certain increase to the studio’s daily visitors for its various movie- and TV-related attractions.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the tramway plan.

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