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Parks committee doubles down on blocking cars on Griffith Park road

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It’s part of a plan to deal with traffic in the park

Los Angeles officials are standing by plans to block automobile access to Mount Hollywood Drive, a Griffith Park thoroughfare popular with bicyclists, hikers, and horseback riders.

The city’s Arts, Parks, and River Committee rejected an appeal Tuesday from multiple organizations and homeowners groups that had challenged the plan, which also calls for paid parking at the Griffith Observatory lot, as well as increased DASH bus service to the observatory.

The observatory is the city’s “official” viewing point for the Hollywood Sign, and the appeals were filed by residents who live in Beachwood Canyon. They argued that charging for parking at the observatory would encourage drivers to head into their neighborhoods to view the sign.

Mount Hollywood Drive was briefly opened in 2015 to reduce snarled traffic through the park. But fierce community opposition to that pilot program forced the city to consider other options, and early last year the Department of Recreation and Parks and Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu put together a proposal to alleviate traffic by charging for parking at some lots and offering a shuttle service along Mount Hollywood Drive.

The shuttles would have carried passengers up the road every 15 minutes for views of the Hollywood sign. But that plan was scrapped after almost 200 people attended a community meeting to voice safety concerns about pedestrians being forced to share the the windy road with large vehicles.

On Tuesday, the committee voted against the appeal, but Ryu noted that the plan was only a first step in improving the park for visitors. “This is a pice of a much larger strategy that seeks to improve the overall traffic flow, increase public transit options, decrease the number of cars in our park, and ultimately provide safeguards for negatively impacted communities,” he said.

Under the plan, bus service will be expanded from weekends-only to seven days a week. Buses will run from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, picking up passengers about every 20 minutes. Drivers accessing the observatory from other roads have to pay $4 to park.