In an effort to improve overall safety and accessibility around Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) has developed a plan to reduce traffic around the park and is seeking community input.
The Griffith Park Circulation and Parking Enhancement Plan would mitigate traffic with of a free shuttle system and a mix of metered and free parking around the park. According to councilman David Ryu, 4th District, the plan is imperative to improve the park.
“The number one factor is public safety for all, public safety for pedestrians, public safety for cyclists, and most importantly having proper access by emergency vehicles and emergency personnel,” said Ryu. “[During] peak times [throughout] the day it is fully congested, so nobody can get through.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 20, RAP officials and Ryu hosted a meeting to discuss the proposed plan and to hear questions and comments.
“We need community input,” Ryu said. “So, [it’s] an opportunity for Recreation and Parks to present the initial draft plan to get the community input so we can work out any flaws or details to make sure that the plan is going to address the traffic conditions.”
Part of the plan includes changing the parking system around Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory. Currently, parking is free throughout the park, but the new proposal would create more parking spaces in surrounding areas and install meters at the 400-space lot next to Griffith Observatory. The 581 spaces in the lower lot next to the park would remain free.
“It’s a jungle up there. It’s first come, first served,” Ryu said. “This is why we need this traffic management plan. A lot of the traffic is caused just by people driving around in circles trying to look for a spot [to park].”
People would still be able to park along the roads leading up to Griffith Observatory, but that too would be metered. Griffith Park Superintendent Joe Salaices explained that money collected from meters would go back to the park and help fund the shuttle system.
Resident Don Ward said he attended Wednesday’s meeting to provide feedback on the shuttle system. He said he has been following the proposed plan since it was first drafted and agrees with the majority of the plan.
“I agree with what the city is trying to do with Griffith Park, and I think metered parking is a great idea,” Ward said. “They’ve been very good with taking community feedback, but they seem to be stuck with the idea of a private shuttle system, which to me isn’t the best option.”
Ward said while he believes using shuttles to make the park more accessible would be good for the community, and [RAP] should use an existing shuttle system [such as DASH] instead of creating a new one. He also said opening up Mt. Hollywood Road to the shuttles, another component of the proposed plan, is a bad idea. The majority of community members, he said, are strongly opposed to it as well.
“We need to keep Mt. Hollywood closed to shuttles and other traffic,” Ward said. “The city is headed in the right direction for the most part, and this is a unique chance for them to do something good. But they have to show they’re listening to our concerns.”
Estevan Montemayor, director of communications for Ryu, said feedback from Wednesday’s meeting helped Recreation and Parks update their proposal.
“We had a lot of good comments about the shuttle system,” Montemayor said. “I think the biggest thing people are concerned about is the capacity of the shuttles and if they would really reduce traffic. After hearing that, we are looking into working with the DASH shuttle system to utilize their busses to increase our capacity to transport people to Griffith Park and [Griffith] Observatory.”
Other proposed plans include promoting a more pedestrian – and bicycle-friendly environment and creating a designated view point and photograph location for the Hollywood Sign. Both proposals would help reduce traffic and increase pedestrian safety.
“It’s not about taking away or adding in,” Ryu said. “I think the key focus is how do we decrease vehicular traffic overall to the observatory and Griffith Park area while still promoting access and accessibility to Griffith Park as a whole for everybody. This is the initial draft document … I’ve committed to having community participation and community input and feedback, so this is the first start … Again, the status quo is not acceptable.”
The Griffith Park Circulation and Parking Enhancement Plan has not yet been considered by the Board of Recreation and Parks, and after hearing feedback from the community, RAP officials said they will update it.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.