The possibility of directing tourists to view the Hollywood Sign at Griffith Observatory and creating a long-term parking solution for park users at Runyon Canyon were among two ideas pitched to solve ongoing Hollywood issues at a City Council committee meeting Tuesday morning.
Councilman Tom LaBonge called on the advice of local police officers and the Department of Recreation and Parks to report on changing GPS systems to at the Arts and Parks, Health and Aging Committee meeting. No formal action was made at the meeting other than to continue discussing the issue and come up with a possible solution in the next month.
Residents who live in the neighborhood below the sign reported issues with tourists blocking roads and causing car accidents at a , citing GPS systems that lead tourists up narrow residential streets as the main culprit.
George Abrahams, a Hollywood resident who lives on Durand Drive, brought a photograph to Tuesday's meeting of a car accident he had with a tourist who was trying to find their way to the Hollywood Sign.
“It’s essential that the GPS and Internet maps be set to guide tourists on a safe and direct path,” he told the committee.
He said that tourists are the “lifeblood of the entertainment industry” and he does not want to stop them from coming into the neighborhood, but called on the city to find a safe solution that leads viewers to the sign.
Los Angeles Police Department Officer Maggie Dillard of the Hollywood Division said that she doesn’t receive a lot of calls related to tourists in the area. She went on to say that she receives very few reports of crime in the area near Lake Hollywood Park, other than reports of people smoking.
LaBonge also explored the option of directing more tourists to the Griffith Observatory, where the Hollywood Sign can be seen in the background.
“If we can direct them to the observatory, they get a two for one,” he said.
As Runyon Canyon grows in popularity among dog walkers and hikers alike so do issues of unleashed dogs, which were discussed at Tuesday’s committee meeting.
City officials say the area has become infiltrated with dogs, and many owners disobey the law and let them run free around the neighborhoods at the entrance of the park.
“The dogs do go everywhere, and the soil is being destroyed,” LaBonge said. “Someone suggested the park should be closed for a year just to let it recoup because it’s been beat down.”
A representative from the Department of Recreation and Parks said that closing the park would not be a good idea due to safety issues without citing specifics.
The popularity of the park has caused erosion because some hikers do not follow designated trails, said Recreation and Parks Assistant General Manager Kevin Regan.
He also said that it has brought increased traffic to the streets and neighborhoods surrounding the area, creating similar problems to the ones hikers have brought for residents who live near .
Yet, unlike Fryman Canyon, Runyon Canyon does not have its own designated parking lot for visitors.
Regan called Runyon Canyon a “victim of its own success" and suggested that the city look into long-term parking solutions.
“It’s such a great place, it’s such a nice park, so many people enjoy coming there, that it’s just getting overwhelmed,” he said.
LaBonge suggested that the city conduct a user survey to find out how many residents use the park on a daily basis. He also made tentative plans to come back to the issue in a month, with the possibility of scheduling a public hearing on the matter.