LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Parks and Recreation officials on Wednesday night introduced a plan to charge for parking, provide free shuttle service and improve cycling paths at Griffith Park in hopes of reducing congestion and improving traffic flow at the park.
Parking is free throughout the 4,310-acre city park, but Parks and Recreation officials are proposing that about 400 spaces near the Griffith Observatory be turned into metered parking, while another 581 spaces in the lower portion of the park would remain free.
Proceeds from the parking fees would be used to fund free shuttle service to take visitors to popular destinations around the park, including the Observatory and a viewing point for the Hollywood Sign, LA City Councilman David Ryu said.
“[There would] actually be more free parking, not just in the park but we’re going to have parking outside,” Ryu said.
The plan also includes projects to improve pedestrian and bicycling paths.
But cyclist Geoff McFetridge said he has concerns about shuttles changing the complexion of the park.
“This park is really about hearing bird and seeing bobcats,” he said. “It’s one step closer to having a tram, concession stands, more signs … It’s moving away from being a trail.”
Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Rose Watson said the goal is to encourage more visitors to park off-site and to use shuttles or public transportation to get around the park.
She said city officials “still want people to have access” and do not want to discourage people from going to the park.
The plan is aimed at helping “mitigate the traffic flow at Griffith Park and make the experience positive for visitors and easier for cyclists,” according to the city department.
Residents said they also have concerns about the ability of emergency vehicles to navigate the traffic-choked roads in the park.
The park receives about 10,000 visitors each day, according to Watson.
The plan has not yet been considered by the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners.
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