Blindsided on the Road to Nowhere

April 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

Mulholland Highway Under Construction, 1925. (The blind curves lie ahead of the car in foreground)/Los Angeles Public Library, Security Pacific Collection

Mulholland Highway curves around the western edge of Beachwood Canyon like a massive snake.  A man-made thoroughfare butressed by granite retaining walls, the Highway (not to be confused with Mulholland Drive) was built, like all the roads in Hollywoodland, in the mid-1920s. It contains both a split-level section (under construction in the photo above) and a cliff-side stretch locals call the blind curves.

Along the Blind Curves/Hope Anderson Productions

As Gregory Williams points out in his book, The Story of Hollywood (BL Press, 2005), “old-timers called Mulholland Highway ‘the road to nowhere,'” an accurate title for a street that didn’t connect to anything until Canyon Lake Drive was built in the early 1960s.

What was intended as a glorified driveway to the Canyon’s uppermost houses is now a heavily-traveled route for tourists seeking a view of the Hollywood Sign, commuters to and from Burbank and people who use Lake Hollywood Park.  The blind curves are made more hazardous by people who park their cars to take pictures of the Hollywood Sign. As if that weren’t enough, the road has no median line, making it easier for nervous drivers to justifying driving in the middle. That’s what happened yesterday when a truck came barreling towards me around one of the curves as I headed home from the park. In swerving to avoid being hit, I sheared off my passenger’s side window against one of the many trash cans that are perpetually out by the curb.

The amazing thing is that it’s never happened to me before on that stretch of Mulholland Highway, during an estimated 1300 round trips over the past 5 years. In light of that record I should be glad, but the cost of the repair* on my mirror leaves me less than grateful.

*$320!

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