For the past few years, Griffith Park has grappled with the problem of how to get tens of thousands of people access to the park on its modest system of roadways. Cars jam the park's narrow streets in search of parking, shuttle buses only run on the weekends, and more and more tourists seeking a photo of the iconic Hollywood Sign have been pushed to Griffith Park for a view. It's a mess in desperate need of change. Parks officials are finally starting to nail down a solution, but that requires satisfying several different factions that do not see eye to eye.
The whole mess began when Beachwood Canyon residents pressured Griffith Park into increasing access to the Hollywood Sign at the park in order to keep tourists off their Beachwood streets. Griffith Park's solution was to open Mount Hollywood Drive to vehicle traffic for the first time in two decades as part of a pilot program providing visitors access to a Hollywood Sign viewing point. Beachwood was satisfied with the plan, but the road opening rankled pedestrians and bicyclists who had been using that empty street for more than 20 years. Traffic snarled the roadway as tourists trolled up the hill in search of free parking, and backlash from angry hikers and cyclists led park officials to rethink the issue.
Earlier this year, the Department of Recreation and Parks and City Councilmember David Ryu introduced a new access plan to reduce traffic in the park. Among their solutions was to ditch access to Mount Hollywood Drive for regular cars and replace it with a regular shuttle service that dropped tourists off near the Hollywood sign.
It was a step in the car-less direction, but pedestrians balked at the idea of a shuttle bus ambling down the street every 15 minutes. Nearly 200 people attended a community meeting with park officials to discuss the new access plan. For over an hour, pedestrians expressed their concerns with the new shuttle bus arrangement; they stuck to their ground on eliminating vehicles from Mount Hollywood Drive altogether, and it appears their persistence has paid off.
According to CiclaValley, park officials announced at a community meeting last night that shuttles on Mount Hollywood Drive will no longer be a part of the park's access plan. The street will return to strictly pedestrian use.
Shuttle fans need not worry. Griffith Park is still planning on using shuttle buses to ease traffic woes in the park. Starting March 19, a new shuttle will run from the Metro Red Line station (we're guessing Vermont/Sunset) north to Griffith Park. The other shuttle services in the access plan will remain, funded by an increase in revenue when the park switches Observatory Drive over to metered parking.
- Cyclist’s Victory! Mount Hollywood Drive Closed to Shuttles! [CiclaValley]
- New Griffith Park Traffic Plan Promising But Flawed [Streetsblog]
- Here's the Big Griffith Park Access Plan With Pay Parking and Lots of Shuttle Buses [Curbed LA]
- Hollywood Sign NIMBY Battle Has Spilled Over Into Griffith Park [Curbed LA]