LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A once car-free route inside Griffith Park is open again to vehicles – but not everyone is happy about it.
KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports Los Angeles officials want to test out the road to help visitors get closer to the Hollywood sign, a destination that has a history of causing traffic jams in nearby residential areas.
A plan to open a roughly 1.1-mile stretch of Mt. Hollywood Drive earlier this month was aimed at giving drivers access to a route used by hikers and cyclists to provide additional access to the city’s most famous signage.
But during the three-week trial, area residents grew increasingly concerned that their neighborhood would soon begin to resemble Beachwood Canyon, where a trail entrance was closed in March 2014 after residents complained of constant congestion from cars that were driving up residential roads to access the trail.
The trail reopened in January along with a new electric gate to limit car traffic.
City Councilman Tom LaBonge said despite complaints, residents need to accept that demand for access to the Hollywood sign isn’t going away anytime soon.
“Remember what Griffith Jacobs Griffith says when he gave the park to the city, ‘I want this park for the masses’,” said LaBonge. “Well, the masses have come, now we’ve gotta try to balance that out.”
LaBonge has voiced support for connecting the site to Metro and have shuttles transport visitors from the subway stations leading up to the area.
“The tourists will pay for it, but it’ll get ’em to the right spots,” he said.
But some hikers like Beatrice say it’s not just the traffic that concerns her.
“There’s a lot of trash around here now,” she said. “They’re not appreciating it.”
LaBonge plans to ask the Parks Department to bring their findings before the Arts and Parks Committee before further steps are taken.