Griffith Traffic Plan Progresses Amid Objections

A sign posted in the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, where residents claim Hollywood sign tourism has created quality of life and safety concerns. Photo: ConstantinAB // flickr: Creative Commons

A sign posted in the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, where residents claim Hollywood sign tourism has created quality of life and safety concerns. Photo: ConstantinAB // flickr: Creative Commons

The Griffith Park Observatory Circulation and Parking Enhancement Plan—intended to ease traffic and parking issues on the east side of the park, near the observatory, will finally be implemented March 21st, according to park Superintendent Joe Salaices.

Some of the plan’s elements include paid parking and other changes near the observatory, such as converting some streets to one-way and increasing bus service to and from the park.

The plan was initially approved last September by an advisory board of the Recreation and Parks Dept., but was stalled after some Beachwood Canyon and Lake Hollywood homeowners filed an appeal to Los Angeles City Council, saying the plan’s impact on their neighborhoods was not taken into consideration.

According to some of those residents, changes made in one part of the park have a rippling effect—those who don’t want to pay to park near the observatory, for example, may choose to park for free elsewhere—increasing Hollywood sign tourism in their already overburdened neighborhood.

“When you decrease the parking on the east side of the park by 43% and install parking meters, do you think the public, with access to the internet and the way things are, are not going to go to an area where parking is free, where there are no meters, and where there is a better view of the [Hollywood] sign?” said appellant Crosby Doe, with the Committee to Save the Hollywoodland Specific Plan.

But Don Ward of the group Keep Griffith Wild said he believes that by improving public transit, the traffic plan will help both sides.

According to Ward, because tourists currently need to rent a car to get close to the Hollywood sign, they rely on GPS and wayfinding apps, which often direct them to Beachwood to view the sign, instead of the viewpoint near the observatory.

“If you give them a path by public transit,” said Ward, “They’re going to take the public transit instead.”

Ultimately, city council’s Arts, Parks and River Committee voted to reject the appeal.

But Councilmember David Ryu, whose district includes both Beachwood and Griffith Park, called the plan a “first step,” and said his office would continue to seek solutions to Beachwood’s tourism problem.

“This is about the quality of life for residents…and visitors to the park,” he said at a hearing on the issue in January. “This is a small piece of a much larger strategy.

Also in January, Ryu introduced a motion asking city officials to investigate ways to mitigate the impact of tourism on Los Angeles’s residents, including the creation of visitors centers throughout the city (for more on this, see our story here).

Beachwood’s Doe said that while he felt the committee ruled unfairly, without fully considering the impacts the plan would have on surrounding areas, the only way around the decision would be to sue the city.

But, said Doe, “We are not intending at this time to seek a legal solution. Hopefully…diplomatic opportunities—with the council and with the city of Los Angeles—will open themselves to resolve the situation that we have.”

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