It’s Sunset for Beachwood Trailhead
BEACHWOOD—The city of Los Angeles will shut down a popular entryway to Griffith Park today at sunset, despite efforts of protesters over the weekend to keep it open.
Organized by four local entities united for the cause— Oaks Homeowner’s Association, Lake Hollywood Homeowner’s Assoc., Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Assoc. and the Los Feliz Improvement Assoc.—the gathering was successful in attracting much local media attention as vans from such news outlets as KTLA and KCBS lined Beachwood Canyon Drive.
City officials decided to close access at the Beachwood Canyon Trailhead after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in February that the publics’ access through the trailhead’s gate—estimated at 15,000 a month—had interfered with the business of Sunset Ranch, which filed a lawsuit in the matter in 2015.
While some Beachwood Canyon residents are relieved by the city’s move to dissuade tourists and visitors from overwhelming the area’s residential areas, others said the city should find another solution honoring the judge’s request but still allow pedestrian access to hike to the iconic sign. The city has pointed to other access points that lead to the sign, including Canyon and Vermont Canyon roads.
Clare Darden, of the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust, said the city was not honoring Griffith’s mandate for his donation that Griffith Park should be open to all, always. Griffith donated much of what is now Griffith Park to the city in 1896.
“In no way can there be no access to a public trail,” Darden said, adding that if her trust’s namesake were alive today, “he would be appalled.”
Sunset Ranch owners did not respond to a request for comment.
Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, who oversees the area, has instituted a number of tactics, in lieu of closing the trailhead’s access, including parking constraints nearest the trailhead and in the area’s small business district.
While some homeowners have been pleased with Ryu’s actions, others say the restrictions have only pushed cars and tourists to other residential areas near the park. Additionally, business owners say the parking restrictions have choked sales.
Some area businesses say their bottom lines are such now that they may have to close, while their landlord said, if necessary, he would convert his commercial holdings to residential units.
Patti Peck, owner of the foot-traffic dependent Beachwood Café, reported a 20% decline in weekend business in March, a year after Ryu installed restricted parking near her restaurant, and had to lay off four employees while another businessperson, Jeffrey Meyer, who has run a nearby antique shop for 20 years, said he will probably have to shutter his storefront.
Gerry Hans, president of Friends of Griffith Park, a non profit group also in opposition to the closure, said he and the like-minded residents will continue to raise the issue before their local politicians.
Meanwhile, Councilman Ryu wants to continue into how best to balance the interests of all parties.
“My office will continue to move forward on long-term strategies to create better experiences for tourists and safeguard the negatively impacted communities around the Hollywood Sign,” Ryu said in a statement.
This story was updated at 8:48 to include the full name of Gerry Hans of Friends of Griffith Park.