The sunset shining through the palm trees and over the sailing yacht. (Photo by Wallace Kirkland//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images). The location of this image is Jamaica. Copyright: Time & Life Pictures
Sunset Boulevard is a street in the western part of Los Angeles County, California , that stretches from Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Coast Highway at the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Palisades . The street is an icon of Hollywood celebrity culture and the phrase "Sunset Boulevard" is an enduring shorthand for the glamour associated with Hollywood .
Approximately 24 miles (39 km) in length, the famous boulevard roughly mimics the arc of the mountains that form the northern boundary of the Los Angeles Basin . From downtown Los Angeles, it heads northwest, to Hollywood, through which it travels due west for several miles before it bends southwest, on course to the Pacific. It passes through or near Echo Park , Silver Lake , Los Feliz , the aforementioned Hollywood , West Hollywood , Beverly Hills , Holmby Hills , Bel-Air , Brentwood , and Pacific Palisades . Other than West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, which are independent incorporated cities, the places named above are all districts and neighbourhoods in the City of Los Angeles . In the Bel-Air district of Los Angeles, Sunset Boulevard runs along the northern boundary of the UCLA Westwood campus, and it also serves as the postal divider between north and south west of Beverly Hills.
The boulevard is winding and treacherous in some areas. It is at least four lanes in width for all of its route. Car accidents are not uncommon due to its numerous hairpin curves and blind crests, and the lack of a centre divider on most sections. Sunset (along with Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards ) is frequently congested with traffic loads far beyond its design capacity. As a result, it is also notorious for cracks and potholes . Traffic on Sunset is often slow-moving, with bumper-to-bumper congestion not infrequent during rush hour in both directions. However, when traffic is mild or nonexistent, Sunset is an extremely fast thoroughfare as it encounters few (and short timed) traffic lights west of Doheny Drive . Even at rush hours, traffic generally flows well through the Holmby Hills and Bel Air, west of Whittier in Beverly Hills, as the lights are very well spaced and timed.
Sunset Boulevard historically extended farther east, starting at Alameda Street near Union Station and beside Olvera Street in the historic section of Downtown, but the portion of Sunset Boulevard east of Figueroa on the north end of Downtown Los Angeles was renamed Cesar Chavez Avenue , in 1994, along with Macy Street and Brooklyn Avenue, in honour of the late Mexican-American trade union leader and civil rights activist.
In the 1970s, the area between Gardner Street and Western Avenue , became a seedy red-light district afflicted with street prostitution . It was at the corner of Sunset and Courtney Avenue that actor Hugh Grant pulled over and picked up prostitute Divine Brown in the early morning of June 27, 1995. He then drove a few blocks east and parked at the corner of Curson and Hawthorn Avenues. Police arrested him and the prostitute for lewd conduct in a public place and he was later fined $1,200. Shortly after this police raids drove out the majority of prostitutes in this area and the majority of those turned to on-line escort services, thus diminishing the long held red-light district.
Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is also sometimes called "Guitar Row" due to the large number of guitar stores and music industry-related businesses, including the legendary recording studios Sunset Sound Studios and United Western Recorders . Also, many young, struggling actors, musicians, and other artists continue to live in the area.
The best-known section of Sunset Boulevard is probably the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, which is a centre for nightlife in the Los Angeles area.
The portion of Sunset Boulevard from the city limits of Beverly Hills to its western end was at one time named Beverly Boulevard.
The boulevard is commemorated in Billy Wilder 's Sunset Boulevard (1950 film), and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical , and a 1950s television series, 77 Sunset Strip . Jan and Dean 's 1960s hit song "Dead Man's Curve " immortalizes a section of the road near Bel Air estates just north of UCLA 's Drake Stadium. Disney's Hollywood Studios has a recreation of Sunset as a backdrop for its The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster rides.
Metro Local lines 2 and 302 operate on Sunset Boulevard. Line 302 is proposed to be replaced by Metro Rapid line 702. The Metro Red Line operates a subway station at Vermont Avenue. Due to being parallel to Hollywood Boulevard , the Western Avenue , Vine Street and Highland Avenue stations are about a 5 minute walk from Sunset.
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