Gondolas riding on cables along the edges of Griffith Park could lead to improved mobility and decreased traffic woes at the popular recreation area, according to an engineering firm recently hired by the city to examine such a project.
Stantec, an engineering consulting firm, was chosen by the city's Department of Recreation and Parks to prepare a feasibility study of an aerial transit system to help reduce traffic congestion and increase mobility in and around Griffith Park.
According to Stantec, the more than 4,200-acre park is constantly increasing in popularity, leading to traffic gridlock in the park's exterior and interior streets, a trend Stantec estimates will continue.
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Several alternatives for tramway lines will be analyzed, including various locations for starting and landing stations and viewing areas, which could include the Hollywood Sign. It will also study potential effects on the surrounding wildlife and community.
"Griffith Park is one of Los Angeles' true crown jewels," said Simon Bluestone, the vice president of Stantec. "We're thrilled to be working with the Department of Recreation and Parks and the surrounding community to help inform decision-making on what could be a game changer for park visitors and residents."
Arya Rohani, the Griffith Park project manager with Stanctec, said the idea of bringing something like an aerial tramway to the park has been discussed among stakeholders for years. Rohani said the increasing traffic has led to local streets becoming congested with people searching for available parking.
He said the company will keep in contact with two other proposed aerial tramway projects. Warner Brothers has shown interest in bringing aerial transportation to the Hollywood Sign from a parking lot just south of its studios. In the past year, Metro has moved forward on a proposal to bring the same kind of transportation to Dodger Stadium.
"From a stakeholder perspective, there are multiple people who worry about the aesthetics from their home, others are worried about the biological and ecological effects and the congestion on the roads,'' Rohani said, adding that engaging with those groups will be critical as the plans move forward.
Funding sources are being explored, but nothing has been set in stone.
The cost of the project alternatives from scoping documents are noted from low to high costs in non-specific dollar amounts.
The Los Angeles City Council authorized 29 Griffith Park traffic- mitigation measures to be analyzed last year, including the aerial tramway.
Rohani said the timing of the project is still in flux. Ridership studies and new technology could also affect the project, but by September, Rohani said Stantec plans to have a better idea of a timeline.