Griffith Park gondola proposal sparks opposition from area residents and environmentalists

Griffith Park gondola proposal sparks opposition from area residents and environmentalists

10/23/2020 3:03:00 PM

Griffith Park gondola proposal sparks opposition from area residents and environmentalists

A proposal to build a 2.5-mile gondola transport to Griffith Park is generating heated opposition from area residents and environmentalists

The report outlined 29potential solutions, including an electric shuttle, the aerial tram, and even the construction of another Hollywood sign to spread out those seeking a photo op.The city is pursuing many of these ideas, but the flashiest — and most expensive — under consideration is the aerial tram. The Department of Recreation and Parks is conducting a feasibility study for the project, with help from the engineering consulting firm Stantec. A sum of $750,000 has been committed to the completion of the study, which is set to conclude in January.

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“I think it’s predictable that it keeps coming back, but it’s also predictable that the public keeps pushing back at it so forcefully,” said Gerry Hans, president of Friends of Griffith Park, one of the leading community organizations protesting the effort.

AdvertisementHans and others argue that construction of a tram would destroy both open space and wildlife habitat in one of the nation’s largest municipal parks. They say the proposal is a pretense to develop the city’s unique urban wilderness. A lengthy construction process would result in closures to hikers, horse riders and other park users, they say.

Darryl Ford, superintendent for planning and construction in the city, emphasizes that it’s too early to know the details of environmental impact and traffic relief because the study has yet to be completed.However, many groups’ opposition is not contingent on the study’s outcome. They oppose the outlined system of routes itself — which were unveiled in August — because none connected to public transit lines. Some have called it a “tram to nowhere.”

“It’s not transportation. It’s a ride,” Hans said.AdvertisementFriends of Griffith Park has estimated it would cost $50 million to $70 million per mile to build a tram, but the parks department declined to give any specific cost estimates until the study was completed.

Ryu opposes spending additional funding on the project “in this time of financial crisis, as the city faces potential cuts to services and staff,” his office said. Without Ryu’s support, it’s unlikely the project will be able to move forward.Fran Reichenbach, president of Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Assn., agrees: “There are bigger and better and more really prescient issues to be addressed right now with our tax dollars than to hire study groups to go out and confuse people.”

Who does support the gondola? Mayor Eric Garcetti, who haspublic enthusiasm for the idea, remains open to the initiative and awaits the results of the study, according to his office.Advertisement Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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