Look at the Griffith Park Plan’s New Numbers

When was the last time you sat around friends working on Math? For me it was my first year of college finishing off my last class of calculus before Sim City and my interest in urban planning took hold.

Now that Griffith Park is considering adding shuttles onto Mt Hollywood Drive, it’s time to bust out the abacus and GriffithPlan03make the latest study numbers dance!

On last week’s Larry Mantle show, Park Superintendent Joe Salaices came on before my segment commenting on some research(there’s) about usage.

During the two week spring break period when the study was conducted, 390,000 people visited the park. That’s quite a number.

At the same time, to handle this load, the park plans to counter with shuttle buses servicing viewers two to three times an hour. Does that sound like enough?

You do some simple math and:

390,000 people ÷ 14 days = 30,000 people/day

Okay, I know the correct answer is 27,857, but you’re never getting that exact amount everyday. On the weekends, you may well go over 40k, but let’s just go for 30k since that’s a reasonable scenario that they’ll have to plan for.

Next, let’s look at shuttle size. If you look at the Charter Bus Los Angeles fleet of buses, getting anything larger than a 15 seater would be tough to turn around and when you look at the 27 seater, you say no way. But for arguments sake, let’s pretend there’s a 22, which is almost 50% more riders.

Take Salaices’ worst case scenario of three shuttles an hour and that means 66 people can ride up every sixty minutes. Doesn’t sound like a lot.

Since the trams are not going going to start until 11am and I imagine the last one won’t leave after 6pm, that’s seven hours of shuttle time. So to sum up:

66 people/hr × 7 hours = 462 people/day

The other point of mention from the study Salaices brought up(the one that wouldn’t interview cyclists) is that 25% of park visitors came for the observatory and the rest to “take in the Hollywood Sign and views of the city”.

Okay, I’ll be your huckleberry:

30,000 people × 75% GP users = 22,500 to see the Hollywood Sign

462 Shuttle spots ÷ 22,500 visitors = 2.05% served

That sounds like a small amount of people you’re servicing. Go with the accepted 15 seater shuttle and you get only 1.4%. Factor in that since this will now become the city’s advertised viewing point demand is going to go up, not down.

Now I know not all 22,500 are coming to see the Hollywood Sign, but by seeing the numbers on Mount Hollywood Drive on the test program last year, there were far more than 462.

In order to meet that demand, you’re going to have to add more shuttles. Lots of them. Enough to clog up the road.
But let’s say officials never change their mind. Three times an hour isn’t enough, right?

The shuttles will have to travel up 1.3 miles of Mt. Hollywood Drive to drop people off and hit the turn around point. Let’s say the shuttles move at a speed of 15mph, which may sound slow on the city streets, but fast if you’re in a pedestrian zone. So to complete a trip:

2.6 miles at 15MPH = 10.4 minutes per round trip.

So three trips an hour mean a shuttle will be moving on the road for thirty minutes, meaning you have a 50% chance of passing one.

And that’s a conservative number as you’re not counting the time stopping to drop off and pick up riders and the Austin Powers turn around.

It’s pretty clear. If this plan goes through, you’re turning Mount Hollywood Drive over to vehicles and they’re only going to ask for more because of this new demand.

Even if you’ve already emailed, please email all involved with this issue again as some might not accept comments before the proposal was released last week. This takes seconds:

As a cyclist and hiker who regularly hikes and rides Mt. Hollywood I urge you all to not open the Mt Hollywood gates to city shuttle traffic. It will create a hazard for equestrians, hikers and cyclists on the Mt. Hollywood Drive, will disturb the serenity of one of the most popular trails and areas of Griffith Park, harm the environment and needlessly congest a wild area.

Thank you,

(your name)

General Manager, Michael Shull: MICHAEL.A.SHULL@LACITY.ORG
Superintendent of Griffith Park, Joe Salaices: JOE.SALAICES@LACITY.ORG
Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners:RAP.COMMISSIONERS@LACITY.ORG
LA City Council Member David Ryu: CD4.ISSUES@LACITY.ORG
Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks: paul.j.davis@lacity.com