Over the years Route 66 brought the cultures of a vast and diverse land together as people pursued their dreams in the land of opportunity. That journey continues today and East Hollywood is rich in diverse cultures that represent people from all over the world who continue to travel west because of the great weather, economic opportunity, the entertainment industry, the tourist attractions, the arts & culture community and the creative energy.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Route 66 Study Act which formally acknowledged that Route 66 "has become a symbol of the American people's heritage of travel and their legacy of seeking a better life."
Today, in East Hollywood, Route 66 is hidden behind a struggling economy and a neighborhood faced with the daily challenge of urban living. Loving parents walk their children to school past neglected trash bins, graffiti in every direction, and store fronts protected by iron bars. They find comfort that their children are locked inside the schoolyard behind chain link fences.
Large Metro buses rumble down the legendary stretch of roadway shuttling passengers between major transit hubs including the underground Red Line station. At the other end, the 101 Freeway dumps thousands of speeding vehicles onto Santa Monica Blvd. each day. Pedestrians, cyclists and commuters navigate this busy Los Angeles roadway while battling an aging infrastructure.
Business owners and residents are forced to fight for basic services such as garbage pickup, bus stop maintenance, and street repair. They see property values stagnating and a customer base unwilling to combat the surrounding urban elements.
The East Hollywood Route 66 Task Force sees the current conditions of the 22 blocks of Santa Monica Blvd. as an opportunity. It is a chance to leverage the rich history of Route 66 to promote a series of public improvement projects including cleanups, art installations, educational programs, transit improvements, and the development of more open space.
In doing so, private businesses and neighborhood stakeholders will partner with government agencies and other funding sources to revive our little stretch of history. The revitalization will have profound impact on businesses and the local economy. Surrounding neighbors, both young and old, will see a dramatic improvement to the quality of life and the value that a little pride can bring. It will be a journey along the road well known for inspiring American innovation.