Hollywood Bowl Transit, Part II: So What Did Those People Mover & Elevated Moving Sidewalk Proposals Say?

Last week, we took a look at one of Los Angeles’ proposed “future stations of the past”: the history behind the never-realized plans for a Metro Red Line station at the Hollywood Bowl.

As we noted, once the station idea was abandoned, the Southern California Rapid Transit District agreed to study a connector between the Hollywood / Highland Metro Rail station and the Bowl.

This week, we wanted to take a closer look at two documents which evaluated the various options for such a connector.

According to the Hollywood Bowl Connector Study Technical Memorandum (71p. PDF) produced by Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas in March 1988, the two technologies examined were moving walkways and people movers.

The moving walkways and the people movers considered were both underground and above ground, while the people movers evaluated were manufactured by Westinghouse Electric Corporation as contrasted with Universal Mobility, Incorporated.

A total of six systems were studied: elevated moving walkways, underground moving walkways, a Westinghouse elevated people mover, a Westinghouse underground people mover, a Universal elevated people mover and a Universal underground people mover.

Moving walkways were shown to have a maximum capacity of 16,600 passengers per hour, with the exit time for 4,000 Bowl attendees to take only 14 minutes.

Both moving walkways studied would be able to move 90% of the total Hollywood Bowl capacity within an hour.

Since a “significant percent” of Hollywood Bowl patrons utilize the park-and-ride system and private vehicles, systems were analyzed based on their ability to serve 4,000 Bowl patrons.

If the system were placed underground, total travel time between the Bowl and Hollywood & Highland would take 24 minutes, while an elevated moving walkway would take 27 minutes.

The alternatives with the next highest system capacities are the Westinghouse people mover systems with a volume of 9,700 and 9,100 passengers per hour for underground and elevated alternatives, respectively.

These people movers could exit 4,000 people from the Bowl in approximately 25 minutes, and could transport a person between Metro Rail and the Bowl in less than 11 minutes.

The Universal Mobility people movers considered would have transported people more slowly.

A Universal underground people mover would carry 6,000 passengers per hour, while the above-ground alternative could move 5,800 in the same time frame.

The report goes on to discuss the impact to traffic operations around Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, vibration and noise scenarios, visual impacts to both the Metro Rail station and the Highland Avenue alignment, and land acquisition and displacements.

Predictably, the most costly systems were both of the underground alternatives.

The Westinghouse underground people mover came in as most expensive, at $74 million.

The least expensive connector option considered was the Universal Mobility elevated people mover at  $26 million.

A chart showing the costs, event exit times, travel times and average speed for all six options considered can be found here.

The memorandum goes on to explain how moving walkways and people movers work, with several illustrations and maps.

The moving walkways would  be familiar to anyone who has visited a large airport, and the system studied would be a combination of belt-pulley assemblies and stationary walkways.

It also goes on to explain that the maximum demand on the systems would be occuring as people exit the Hollywood Bowl at the conclusion of an event.

Four years later, another technical memorandum looked at the connecting the Hollywood Bowl to the Hollywood Highland Station.

The Hollywood Bowl To Hollywood-Highland Station Connector Study Technical Memorandum Task 3 Deliverables (68p. PDF) was created in response to the City of Los Angeles’ commitment in 1989 to support development of an EIS/EIR for the project.

This memorandum looked at the following alternatives for the project: No action, Transportation system management (TSM, or “Metro shuttle”), TSM with grade separation, a subsurface walkway, and a subsurface automated guideway transit (AGT — similar to what you would see at The Getty Center).

After analyzing the then-current park-and-ride operations, each alternative was discussed in detail.

In the section detailing station master planning for the Hollywood Vine Station, several bus bays dedicated to Hollywood Bowl connections were planned for the the station when it was to serve as the west terminus of the Red Line.

Several pages are dedicated to how shuttle buses would pick up and drop off Bowl-goers along Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Argyle.

It was noted that the subsurface walkway alternatives were essentially unchanged from the 1988 study.

What was new was the discussion of faster moving sidewalks.

The memorandum notes that while a conventional beltway moved at 120 feet per minute, the promise of a 300 foot per minute speed would soon be commercially available, further reducing travel time.

This document concludes that when all factors are considered, the subsurface walkways were the most cost-effective alternative.

Nearly twenty years later, a direct connector between Metro Rail and the Hollywood Bowl remains a dream for many summer concertgoers.

Today, an evening at the Bowl remains one of Los Angeles’ favorite Summer pasttimes, but getting there hasn’t gotten much easier.

Attendees still walk up Highland Avenue from the station at Hollywood Boulevard, as well as taking other forms of transit including the Bowl Shuttles from Hollywood & Highland, Ventura Boulevard & Lankershim Boulevards in Universal City, and the Los Angeles Zoo.

While these Bowl patrons are making a familiar bus shuttle trek via Metropolitan Coach Lines to a Bowl performance in 1955,

(Click to enlarge)

Hollywood & Higland looks quite different than it did more than 60 years ago.

Note the boarding in the center of the street (northbound on Highland Avenue just south of Hollywood Boulevard) as these streetcars head over the Cahuenga Pass to the San Fernando Valley:

(Click to enlarge and for more information)