No More Gay Cruising Signs in Silver Lake

The signs have been up for nearly 20 years along Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue

The Silver Lake neighborhood council Thursday night unanimously voted to remove "No Cruising" signs that have been up for nearly 20 years in the heart of the gay community.

The signs were erected as a way to clamp down on "gay cruising" along Griffith Park Boulevard, Hyperion Avenue and several other streets in the neighborhood east of Hollywood.

"I whole-heartedly vote for the removal of the signs. They are just more useless and offensive visual blight on our streets," said Vaughan Davies, who wrote on the "Remove No Cruising Signs" Facebook page.

The effort was spearheaded by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, a Silver Lake resident and at-large member of the council.

"Recently, the Public Safety Committee of the Silver Lake neighborhood council discussed and voted on this issue, finding that the signs were no longer effective tools of public safety," wrote Herman-Wurmfeld. "These signs do not need to be a part of our living streets in 2012."

In 1997, it was a different story. Residents encouraged officials to post the signs after men were spotted having sex with other men in public.

A Los Angeles Times article from 1997 describes the scene: "A nearby sex club had drawn crowds, as did the boulevard's mention in gay guides."

"In no way am I a moralist, but it would be embarrassing," said one exasperated condo owner who regularly got an eyeful from his third floor balcony. "I'd have guests over and guys would be having sex" in the bushes below.

Today, residents say those type of clubs have closed and the neighborhood has changed.  They believe the signs "stigmatize" and embarrass the neighborhood.

After Thursday night's vote, the city's Department of Transportation must remove the signs.

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