Los Angeles to Test Road Closure Through Scenic Griffith Park

After a driver killed a cyclist on Griffith Park Drive in April, the city of Los Angeles is studying safety upgrades on streets in its famous park. The L.A. Times says the changes are part of a growing movement.

Read Time: 2 minutes

July 12, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

The Griffith Observatory is perched on a hill above Los Angeles, with the city's downtown shown int he distant background. Griffith Park's rolling hills and winding roads are shown in the foreground.

The road to the Griffith Observatory showcases the rugged terrain of the city of L.A.'s largest park. | Noah Sauve / Shutterstock

Los Angeles recently closed a road in Griffith Park to automobiles, according to an article by Jonah Valdez in the Los Angeles Times.

“The pilot program marks a major effort by Los Angeles — a place known as the capital of car culture — to reclaim some public roadways for bikes and pedestrians. The experiment comes amid a time of growing traffic deaths caused by cars on city streets,” writes Valdez.

Valdez also notes that the decision to close the section of Griffith Park Drive where it cuts through the heart of the park is the latest in a growing movement around the country: San Francisco and New York City recently closed roads through parks to automobile traffic. Looking a little further back, D.C. also made a similar change in Rock Creek Park in 2016.

There are few examples of streets being closed to automobile traffic in Los Angeles, as noted in the article, and drivers will notice the change. Commuters often use Griffith Park Drive through the park as a way to avoid traffic on State Highway 134 and Interstate 5.

The pilot closure is only one recommendation of several produced by a May 2022 safety study of Griffith Park roads.

“In addition to eliminating cut-through traffic, the study addresses recommendations to lower driving speeds and to improve bike and pedestrian infrastructure with upgrades such as protected bike lanes and raised crosswalks. Many of Griffith Park’s roads lack bike lanes, and some of those that do exist are obstructed by parked cars or have faded over time, consultants noted in a presentation of the study’s early findings,” writes Valdez.

While the article presents the change as part of potential “revolution” of street design, many cities have been rolling back traffic safety and outdoor recreation measures implemented during the pandemic.

Thursday, July 7, 2022 in Los Angeles Times

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