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Hollywood Bowl shutters two parking lots ahead of 2024 season

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Parking a car at the Hollywood Bowl is about to get more complicated.

The historic outdoor amphitheater is shuttering half of its four parking lots off North Highland Avenue and converting them into hubs to streamline ride-share, bus and shuttle traffic, The Times has learned. Starting this season, the adjustment will do away with approximately 350 of the 1,700-plus parking spots that made up the Bowl’s previous stacked-parking layout.

Daniel Song, the interim chief executive of the L.A. Phil, which manages the Bowl, said the change is aimed at improving pre- and post-event congestion surrounding the venue.

“People don’t like getting to the Bowl, but everyone loves the Bowl,” Song told The Times in a phone interview. “So if there’s a barrier [for] someone to be able to come to the Bowl, we’re going to try to fix that and we’re going to try to mitigate that as best as we can.”

The new plan, quietly announced on the Bowl’s website last week, will take effect when the season kicks off with the nearly sold-out “Keep the Party Going” Jimmy Buffett tribute concert on April 11. The impacted lots will be the Bowl’s Lot B and Lot C, on opposite sides of North Highland .

Song said dedicating the two lots to alternative forms of transportation is part of the 17,000-seat venue’s continued efforts to adapt to traffic patterns. With Highland as the Bowl’s main thoroughfare, Song said drivers of all sorts are “all kind of in conflict with one another” as they bear the traffic and inch closer to their destination — whether that is a parking lot, the Bus Island outside of the venue, or somewhere else that has nothing to do with the Bowl.

“How do we spread them out and put them in dedicated areas so that, in theory, everything flows more efficiently?,” Song asks.

Facing traffic headaches and steep parking prices at the lots and at off-site locations, Bowl patrons have long taken advantage of other, cheaper transportation methods. Among those parking alternatives are buses and the L.A. Phil’s Bowl Shuttle and Park & Ride programs, which offer attendees a way to get to the Hollywood Bowl at a small fraction of the cost of parking.

This season, Lot B will be dedicated to mass transit. After the concert, attendees will head to the lot to line up in lanes dedicated to their bus rides home. The Bowl’s shuttle programs will follow a similar layout, Song said.

Some parking will still be available in Lot B, but only for those who need accessible parking. They can buy their passes in advance on the Bowl’s website, which notes that Lot B includes spaces for rear-loading and side-loading vans and has “accessible paths of travel into seating areas.”

On the opposite side of Highland, Lot C will now be the designated area for ride-share pick-ups and drop-offs. “That will allow ride-share to come in and out smoothly, quickly,” Song added.

Song, who was appointed to the interim seat in May 2023, acknowledged that getting rid of more than 300 parking spots at the Bowl might feel like “going backwards” to some. The intention of the lot closures, he said, is to help alleviate the Highland headache and incentivize concertgoers to avoid driving themselves to the Bowl.

Even with the lot closures, it isn’t impossible for concertgoers dead-set on driving to snag a spot along Highland. They just need to shell out for it in advance.

Song confirmed that the Bowl’s Lot A and Lot D will continue to operate as outlined on the website. He also confirmed that parking rates (currently starting at $45) will continue to increase as part of other changes to the Bowl this season.

According to its website, the Bowl will still offer $90 valet parking for high-level L.A. Phil donors and $55 stacked parking (subject to availability) in Lot A, the lot closest to the venue. Motorists can also try their hand at reserving a spot in Lot D.

No matter how they get to the Hollywood Bowl, patrons can see a variety of acts as usual at the iconic L.A. venue this season — ranging from the Netflix Is a Joke comedians to Joni Mitchell to Patti LaBelle.

Song said he anticipates some initial negative reaction to the changes, and some growing pains — like those that came when the venue switched to an all-digital ticketing policy. Still, he said he has faith in the Bowl’s new plan.

“We wouldn’t be rolling this out unless we were confident that long-term, long-game, this is going to be an improvement of everyone that comes to the Hollywood Bowl,” he said.

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