Section of Griffith Park Drive Closed to Motorists As Part of Safety Pilot
In April, a 77-year-old cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park, in a spot where traffic from the adjacent I-5 often uses it as a cut through. This tragic death accelerated a process already underway to improve access and safety to the park for pedestrians and bicyclists. Monday, a section of Griffith Park Drive between Travel Town and Mount Hollywood was closed as part of a pilot while safety studies are conducted.
City officials hope the closure will reduce cut-through traffic from the nearby 134 Freeway and, unless there are some unforeseen side-effects of the closure, it will become permanent.
While the section of closed road isn’t particularly close to the site of April’s crash, a study completed by transportation consultants at Kimley-Horn and presented at the May meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board outlines what other steps the city can take to improve safety and comfort for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce cut-through traffic on both Griffith Park Drive and Crystal Springs Drive. In addition to today’s closure, the study also recommended that speed feedback signs, and striped bike lanes be added to Griffith Park Drive while reducing the mixed-use (car) travel lanes to ten feet in the next couple of months. Near the crash-site on Crystal Springs Drive, it recommends that on-street parking be eliminated to protect the bike facilities and sidewalks that are already present in the near-term.
In the medium-term, to be completed sometime between the fall and spring of 2023, the report has more aggressive proposals for the area near the crash-site including reducing the time when traffic from the I-5 can enter the park, re-striping and shrinking the car-travel lanes, installing raised crosswalks, and a road diet with buffered bike lanes. Future years could even see a total closure of car access to the park directly from the freeways, eliminating cut-through traffic entirely and a connected bikeway network throughout the park that connects directly to the L.A. River Bike Path.
But for today, the city is seeking feedback on the small closure in the northeast corner of the park. Early feedback on Reddit and the Eastsider seems positive and is encouraging the city to do even more to make the park safe for non-motorized car users. You can email the Griffith Park Advisory Board directly at email@example.com and be sure to tag Nithya Raman’s office (https://twitter.com/cd4losangeles on Twitter) and City of L.A. Department of Rec. and Parks (https://twitter.com/LACityParks on Twitter) with any images or other feedback.