Hollywood Hills residents fed up over tour buses

HOLLYWOOD HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For years, Hollywood Hills homeowners say their neighborhood streets have been overtaken by tourists and tour guides, who want a close up look at celebrity homes.

It's on narrow roads in the Hollywood Hills that angry neighbors say numerous safety violations and confrontations happen every day.

Residents say drivers stop in the middle of intersections, double park, allow tourists to smoke in non-smoking areas and use loud speakers late at night.

The complaints of thousands of residents came to a head this week at a neighborhood council meeting with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

"We've had animals hit. We've had kids almost hit. We had one kid who was crossing the street and his backpack literally got swiped," said one exasperated resident.

"They tell somebody that a famous person lives across the street from my bedroom window, and that person doesn't by the way, which creates a really great security problem for my poor neighbor," said D.V. DeVincentis.

Councilman David Ryu said he's been pushing for an ordinance to combat these issues since last year.

"While I am a little dismayed that it took this long, I'm hoping that it comes to us within the next month or two," he said.

If new rules are passed, it would give tools to the LAPD traffic officers and city attorneys to go after violators. But the tour bus drivers and owners themselves said their tours are a pivotal part of the Hollywood ecosystem.

"I equate these tours to a religious pilgrimage. Like Muslims go to Mecca. Christians sometimes go to Jerusalem," said Los Angeles USA Tours driver Howard Ferguson. "Coming to Hollywood is a secular pilgrimage to investigate an institution that has been part of their lives."

Some want to work with residents to create a better working relationship.

"If you take the vehicles off the road, there are more cars, more traffic, potentially endangering lives. I just want to make it clear that we try to do things safely, in a good way, and I think there's a chance more lives could be in danger if you take us off the road, and people go up on their own," said Star Track Tours owner Jeff Napshin.

LADOT is still working on finalizing the proposed ordinance, which must be voted on by the city council.
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