Oscar will be stopping traffic — literally.
In what amounts to an unprecedented level of security for the Academy Awards, to be held March 24, many streets and sidewalks near the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland will be closed for 10 days (March 17-26), with a few avenues shutting down as early as this weekend.
While Sept. 11 was a minor factor in this heightened security, the biggest consideration for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences was location, location, location. Unlike the areas surrounding the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Shrine downtown, Hollywood Boulevard is a crowded area filled with retail stores and restaurants.
The Acad and the city of Los Angeles have finalized plans with the guidance of the L.A. Dept. of Transportation, Caltrans and the LAPD and LAFD.
Due to headache-inducing rescheduling for Hollywood biz owners and residents, the Acad is urging the public to break out their Rolodexes and road maps immediately.
Details of the closures and maps of affected areas are available at AMPAS’ Wilshire Boulevard headquarters, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Sixth and 13th City Council District field offices. In addition, details may be obtained from www.oscars.org.
Street closings will officially take effect March 17 and carry on until the March 26 (due to equipment loading); smaller-scale curb closings will commence as early as this Sunday.
Plans for the days leading up to the kudocast include the closing of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive for five days, starting March 19 at 11 p.m., for construction of the press risers, fan bleachers and pre-show stages.
Come the big day, additional streets will be closed, including Highland from Sunset Boulevard to Franklin Avenue and Hollywood from Cahuenga Boulevard to La Brea Avenue. Also closing on March 24 will be the southbound Highland Avenue off-ramp at the 101 Freeway.
North/south streets between Cahuenga and La Brea that cross or dead-end on Hollywood will be restricted to residents and local business traffic for the block north and south of Hollywood. And MTA subway trains will bypass the Hollywood & Highland station on March 24 from the last skedded train on March 23 to the first train on March 25.
(Timothy M. Gray contributed to this report.)