For Immediate Release: August 18, 2022
LOS ANGELES -- Today, the Office of Councilmember Nithya Raman announced the permanent closure of a ⅔ mile stretch of Griffith Park Drive to personal vehicle use, following a unanimous vote by the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles. This closure will effectively extend a successful pilot program that has received a groundswell of community support from a wide array of user groups; people biking, on horseback, hiking, running, and others who have welcomed the increased access to active recreation and the reduction in cut-through traffic.
“I am so excited to bring the road revolution home to Council District 4,” said Councilmember Raman. “Our office, in partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks, worked with lightning speed to make this closure along Griffith Park Drive a reality, and we have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the community. This is the start of a series of transit improvements our office is facilitating throughout Griffith Park, to ensure the park is a safe and welcoming place for all who use it.”
The closure of Griffith Park Drive is the first in a series of recommendations resulting from the Griffith Park Safety & Mobility Feasibility Study, overseen by Council District 4 and the Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP), and being conducted by the consulting firm Kimley-Horn. The Study divides its recommendations into short, medium, and long term implementations and the latest public presentation can be viewed here. While both the Council Office and the Department of Recreation and Parks had been looking to make interventions in Griffith Park to promote the safety of active transportation users, the Study was put on a more aggressive timetable, after the death of Andrew Jelmert, a bicyclist who was struck and killed by a driver.
“Safety in our parks is at the forefront of our Department’s mission, and we will continue our commitment to improve mobility to and within Griffith Park”, said Jimmy Kim, General Manager, Department of Recreation and Parks. “Thank you to Councilmember Raman, our many park stakeholders, and Kimley-Horn for working in close coordination with us on the closure of Griffith Park Drive and on future active transportation improvements for the park.”
“The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition celebrates the permanent closure of this stretch of Griffith Park Drive to cut-through car traffic,” said Eli Akira Kaufman, Executive Director of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. “At a minimum, our parks must prioritize the well-being of people who visit for a peaceful walk or bicycle ride without fearing for their lives. The decision to reduce the number of vehicles speeding through the park is a good step toward preventing the next needless traffic violence tragedy. After all, Griffith Park is for the community, not the commute.”
“Closing this stretch of Griffith Park Drive to private vehicles will make the Park safer for everyone, including wildlife,” said Gerry Hans, President of Friends of Griffith Park. “This accomplishment follows in the footsteps of closing Mt. Hollywood Drive and Vista Del Valle in 1992. Soon after, these roads were transformed and became safe meccas where passive recreationists, including people hiking, people biking, and families could be seen enjoying the urban wilderness.”
“This is a huge step towards restoring Griffith Park to its original purpose as laid out by Mr Griffith when the park was entrusted to the City of Los Angeles 1896,” said Damian Kevitt, Executive Director of Streets Are For Everyone. “I see it as an important first step towards a new Golden Age for Griffith Park.”
The Office of Councilmember Raman, in partnership with the Office of Laura Friedman and the Department of Recreation and Parks, will be hosting a community celebration in Griffith Park on Friday, August 19th, where the announcement of the closure will be made public. The event is open to all—families with children, people biking, people hiking, anyone who enjoys Griffith Park and believes in the preservation of our natural habitats.