Griffith Observatory DASH Shuttle Service Expands Next Week

L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu speaks at this morning's DASH service announcement in front of Griffith Observatory. Photo by Kathleen Smith
L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu speaks at this morning's DASH service announcement in front of Griffith Observatory. Photo by Kathleen Smith

At press conference this morning, city leaders announced greatly enhanced DASH service connecting Griffith Observatory with the Metro Red Line Vermont/Sunset Station.

LADOT DASH Observatory Shuttle map - image via The Source
LADOT DASH Observatory Shuttle map – image via The Source

Starting next week, the LADOT DASH Observatory Shuttle service will run seven days per week, from noon to 10 p.m weekdays and from 10 a.m to 10 p.m. on weekends. During that time, buses arrive every 20 minutes. DASH fare is 50 cents in cash, or 35 cents if paid by TAP card. In the recent past, DASH service was limited to weekends.

The DASH improvements are part of the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP) Griffith Park circulation plan which aims to cut car congestion in L.A.’s largest and arguably most beloved park. The plan has undergone modifications since it was unveiled in an initial public meeting in early 2016.

DASH service is being funded by new parking revenue. DRP recently installed parking meters at Griffith Observatory and adjacent Observatory Road. These are the first parking meters in the park, though paid parking has long been the norm for park attractions including the Zoo and Greek Theater. Starting Tuesday March 21, drivers will pay $4 per hour for parking at the observatory. Past free parking in this area has contributed to excessive cruising for free spaces and often-onerous traffic congestion which sometimes caused staff to close park roads and turn drivers away.

The latest version of the circulation plan was championed by several community groups and individuals. Prominent amonth these is cycling activist Don Ward, who formed the group Keep Griffith Wild in opposition to an early Recreation and Parks Department proposal that included opening currently car-free park back-roads.

Paid parking, enhanced DASH, and preserved car-free roads all represent great steps forward for Griffith Park and for urban livability. Indeed, if managed well, paid parking should prove to be an effective surrogate for congestion pricing, a proven solution for managing traffic.

Unfortunately, the struggles for park access do not appear to be over. Hillside homeowners threatened to derail this Griffith Park shuttle plan. Earlier this week, DRP announced that it will be closing Beachwood Canyon access to the Griffith Park trail to the Hollywood Sign, due to a lawsuit brought by well-off Beachwood homeowners. It looks likely that L.A. leadership will need to continue to pursue more equitable park access while rich neighbors push against it.

  • LAguttersnipe

    Is there any priority for the bus? I’m hopeful that the paid parking will cut down on traffic up there but when I rode the shuttle a couple weeks back it took over 40 minutes to get from Vermont/Sunset up to the Observatory due to traffic in the park. Worst part is the driver won’t let the passengers out so they can walk, you get trapped in the bus.

  • Jake Bloo

    Ideally paid parking will cut down on the traffic *eventually*, but I bet until word gets out there will be a good number of cars going up there, freaking out about the pricing, and heading back down.

  • Jake Bloo

    This plan will only succeed with the proper amount of outreach and education. The publicity/marketing given to the fact that there is a Observatory Shuttle now is a pittance.

  • Danny Sierra

    The hike from The Greek Theatre to the Observatory and back down is a nice one indeed, but it is relief to me (I am without my own vehicle) to know that there is more easy access to some amazing views. Thank you to the: “Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP) Griffith Park circulation plan which aims to cut car congestion in L.A.’s largest and arguably most beloved park”. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c3142c3273d3cda03349e4e5914ed5b8f0a00f36b3a3001ab6528898f3e7db68.jpg

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