Nature's pretty cool, hiking is fun or whatever, but what if you could pay $50 to be strapped into a harness and glide above nature really fast? This is the innovation proposed by a pair of sports marketing dudes for Runyon Canyon, the beloved hiking grounds above Hollywood. Jeff Pruitt and Ryan Woods are pitching a 2,900-foot-long, 500-foot-drop zipline from Runyon Canyon Road down to just north of the Fuller Avenue gate. Riders would take a shuttle from about a mile away at the Hollywood & Highland complex (where free parking would be provided) to the Mulholland Drive gate, and then hike 10 minutes to the zipline's starting point, according to LA Weekly. Shuttles would pick up riders from the Fuller entrance for the ride back. It would cost $50.
Pruitt and Woods are presenting the plan to the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council this week; the neighborhood council doesn't have an official say on the matter, but their support (or lack of it) could be crucial. To help woo the neighbors, the pair say that anyone will be allowed to take the Hollywood & Highland shuttle up to the canyon, regardless of whether they plan to zipline (that should reduce the parking nightmares in the area, although the neighborhood already has a permit parking district). They also say they'll donate $700k for improvements at Runyon, plus 20 percent of their revenue, which they claim will net the city $2 to $3 million a year. That would make their cut something like $8 to $12 million.
The Department of Recreation and Parks is interested in the proposal, but if they decide to go for it, they'll still need to conduct a competitive and public bidding process, according to the City News Service.
The idea of allowing private development (even something as small as zipline infrastructure) and a pricey private business in a public park is kind of distasteful; people like to hike Runyon because it's good exercise in a pretty environment, so why mar the experience with a parade of tourists screaming by overhead? There's another city-owned piece of land nearby that's just slightly farther from Hollywood & Highland and in way more desperate need of tourist access and, specifically, a shuttle service, since neighbors have pressured the city to make it nearly impossible to park in the area. Leave the zipline out of Runyon. Put it at the top of Beachwood Canyon and let riders zip past the Hollywood Sign.
· A ZIP LINE OVER RUNYON CANYON COULD HAPPEN [LAW]
· A zip line through Runyon Canyon? L.A. businessmen seek approval [CNS]
· So Are the Hollywood Sign Tourist Wars Over Now? [Curbed LA]
· How a Small Group of Neighborhood Activists Have Taken the Hollywood Sign Hostage [Curbed LA]