My apologies for the long title, but I’ll touch on a few visceral thoughts as my mind is still percolating.
- First, if you want a great writeup of Thursday night’s precedings, check out Joe Linton’s Streetsblog piece. I was too fuming to write anything. Problem is, I’m still at that level. So enjoy!
- The event was well attended…by police! It was interesting to see such a large number. As for attendees, there were about 150 people(not counting the board & staff) packed inside the meeting with park supporters taking up every available inch of standing room space. There was also a sizable number outside relegated to looking through the blinds seeing my ugly backside. Sorry. I’m just here to help.
- This was only the Griffith Park Advisory Board’s third meeting, so it didn’t seem like a lot would happen, especially since they may still be learning names.
- Carolyn Ramsay and David Ryu, the runoff candidates for Tom LaBonge’s city council seat, both got their minute to speak. If you were hoping to hear standard intros and nebulous support for Griffith Park, you got it! Seeing the turnout Thursday night, do you think cyclists could have an impact on the May 19th election?
The crowd remained quiet as the first part of the meeting took place. A DWP representative made a presentation about a water recycling project with a number of rotating maps. He probably did not expect to speak in front of such a large crowd. The most memorable part of the presentation was the choice of his red, plaid shirt accompanying his three piece suit.
- When the Mount Hollywood Drive portion of the agenda started, the opening portion centered on why we were here. Chris Laib, also president of the Los Feliz Improvement Association, did a good job leading this minefield of questions, especially since the GFAB didn’t quite know what they could do themselves.
Twenty speakers were given time for one minute comments.
I spoke about how I take my daughter for hikes up there, but how the current opening of the road has made it unsafe to now walk in.
In order to feel safe up there, I now have to drive to the top, showing the redundancy of this solution.
Here are some other comments from my fragmented memory:
- Gerry Hans, President of Friends of Griffith Park, came out in solid opposition of the plan. This development has been on the group’s eyes for awhile and shows this is a park issue, not just a cyclists issue.
- Don Ward of Wolfpack Hustle fame brought up the need for better bus service. DASH already services Griffith Park, but honestly, did you know about that? Improved bus service is absolutely what the park needs. If you want to give an incentive, why not close one of the canyon roads up to the observatory to just buses?
- Kristin Sabo of Amir’s Garden brought up the gang activity she faces in one of the park’s most treasured enclaves. If the park doesn’t have the resources to control what’s happening now, how could it handle increased capacity.
- Bartalmighty(that’s his instagram handle, but I think it’s Bart who I met during CicLAvia) read part of the park’s charter, “it must be made a place of recreation and rest for the masses, a resort for the rank and file, for the plain people…” That’s us.
- John Morlock. That’s all that really needed to be said. He’s a retired marine who helps lead injured veterans from the organization Ride2Recovery on the only closed roads they can train on in LA County. Nothing moves you more than to see this horde of veterans power up the hills together, working together as team leaving no man behind.
End of story, the Board will take up the matter at the next meeting on Thursday, April 23rd, while I’ll be in Canada and not in a valley. The pilot program is slated to end on April 12th, but there wasn’t a lot of confidence in the crowd that would be the end of it.
In the interim, there is a lot of work to be done. Keep track of news on Don Ward’s Facebook Page and please continue to be active and spread the word.