Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Traffic Alert: Street Closures Coming Saturday for Academy Museum Gala

Photo by Josh White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

Earlier this month, we wrote about a disagreement between the Miracle Mile Residential Association and the new Academy Museum over terms of the museum’s operating conditions, and whether or not it  should be allowed to close Fairfax Ave. and other nearby streets for a major fundraising gala taking place tomorrow, Saturday, September 25.

The terms of the city ordinance approving the museum project, which was negotiated with the neighborhood association and finalized by the city council back in 2015, notes in a section on Theater Special Events that the city will “Prohibit lane closures of Fairfax Avenue.”  But the museum applied for a permit to fully close Fairfax for tomorrow’s gala, saying that because the event is not being held in one of the museum’s theaters, that part of the agreement doesn’t apply.

And after a fairly lengthy approval process, in which several city departments including the Department of City Planning and the City Attorney’s office were consulted, the Bureau of Street Services reported to the MMRA that, “The planning ordinance does not prohibit closures per LAMC 41.20 for special events.  Based on the input from all City departments and the legal review there is no reason to deny the request.”  So the street closure permit was approved, and the closures will take place as requested.

According to a memo provided to the city by the Academy Museum, details include:

Scope of Closure

– Closure hours: 3:00pm – 11:59pm
– Full closure of Fairfax Avenue from Wilshire Boulevard to 6th Street, northbound and southbound.
– Soft closures (local traffic only; no through traffic) of southbound Fairfax between 3rd Street and 6th Street, and northbound Fairfax between San Vicente and Wilshire Blvd.

Local Vehicular Access

– For residents who live south of Wilshire Boulevard, access to 8th Street will not be restricted.
– Non-residents will be discouraged (via signage) from entering beyond the soft closure.
– For residents who live north of 6th Street or west of Fairfax Avenue, there will not be street access restrictions or signage in place.
– Residents who live on Orange Street between S. Crescent Heights Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue will need to access Orange Street from S. Crescent Heights Boulevard.

“No parking” signs will be placed on the:

– East and west sides of Fairfax Avenue between 6th Street and Wilshire
– South side of 6th Street from Curson to approximately 100 feet west of Curson
– North and south sides of Orange Street from Fairfax to the alley, approximately 50 feet from Fairfax Avenue

Signage will also indicate the soft closures at 3rd Street & Fairfax Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard & Fairfax Avenue. There will also be a sign posted on the east side of Fairfax Avenue & 8th Street.

Traffic officers will be placed at:

– 6th & Fairfax Avenue
– Fairfax Avenue & WIlshire Boulevard
– 6th Street & S Ogden Drive
– 6th & Spaulding
– Wilshire Boulevard & S Ogden Drive
– Fairfax & 3rd
– Fairfax & San Vicente

Emergency Vehicle Access

<p”>- Emergency vehicles will have uninterrupted access to the closed section of Fairfax Avenue.
– The barricades will be installed and staffed according to the guidelines of LAPD and LAFD to allow their vehicles to pass through.

Pedestrian and Cyclist Access

– The west sidewalk on Fairfax Avenue between Wilshire Boulevard and 6th Street will be open and accessible for pedestrian use.
– To ensure pedestrian access remains unobstructed, there will be designated areas in the closed off area in case there are onlookers who may stand and watch guest arrivals.
– Museum personnel will be posted along the sidewalk to help ensure access and safety.
– Cyclists may need to dismount and walk their bikes between Wilshire and 6th Street.

Transit Access

– Metro has confirmed that it will arrange appropriate rerouting of buses.

Impacts on Street Parking

– Street parking and metered parking will not be available on Fairfax Avenue between Wilshire and 6th Street during the closure period.
– On the south side of 6th Street between Curson and approximately 100 feet west of Curson, parking meters will not be available.

Included in the memo was the following statement from the museum regarding the closures:

“This event is an extraordinary circumstance. The Academy Museum takes this closure very seriously and believes it is the safest option considering all event safety requirements, including COVID-19 testing. LACMA is open to the public until 7pm on the event date, limiting arrival location options. It was determined that a Wilshire Boulevard closure would be more disruptive, especially with the current subway construction, and a lane closure rather than a full street closure on Fairfax Boulevard would require k-rail barricades which would in turn require a much longer closure for set-up and break-down.

Further, portions of the street closure are to provide adequate emergency access and an expanded pedestrian area on the west side of Fairfax Avenue. A partial closure of Fairfax Avenue would have reduced safety and security.

The Academy Museum obtained the support of all affected parties in the immediate closure area and the approval of the various City departments involved with closure issues.”

Greg Goldin, president of the MMRA, told the Buzz this morning that despite the city’s signoff on the closure, the association is still concerned about the possible traffic impacts for the neighborhood. “The MMRA fears that the Academy Museum’s closing Fairfax for its gala on Saturday will turn not just our neighborhood but all the surrounding neighborhoods into a doormat for traffic that’s being diverted off Fairfax,” Goldin said. “We hope we’re wrong and we hope the traffic mitigation measures the Academy is implementing will prove us wrong. For now, because the City has greenlighted this and has never met with the neighborhoods to discuss our concerns, we’ll be stuck watching — and documenting — from the sidelines.”

For residents who do experience problems due to the traffic closures, the MMRA suggests several ways to report the issues:

1. Document this event. Take photos and video of the traffic and forward your info to: [email protected] and follow us on Instagram and tag us in your post @MiracleMileMMRA.
2. If you need to contact the City due to traffic incursions on your block, call Mr. Lupe Sandoval, LADOT head of Special Traffic Operations.
3. Contact the Academy’s special Traffic Hotline at (323) 930-3011 to register your complaints and concerns.
4. Contact Andrea Conant, Deputy Chief of Staff and District Director for Councilmember Nithya Raman of CD4. She can be reached at: (213) 500-9681

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. Considering the positive impact the museum opening will have for the neighborhood, jobs and tourism, I’m a little surprised by the MMRA stance. I hope they are not too affected by this event but we also live with street closures for special events on Melrose and I live a block away from Melrose. The trade off is worth it when it’s for something as culturally significant as this is. But if you told me they were doing this for a shoe drop, my head would explode over the idiocy.


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