Study for aerial tram to Griffith Park now underway

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As Los Angeles officials ponder ways to cut down on traffic in and around Griffith Park, an engineering firm hired by the city is analyzing the pros and cons of installing a gondola or similar aerial transit system that could ferry riders in and out of the park.

The firm, Stantec, announced this week that it’s in the early stages of compiling a study on potential routes for an aerial tram and the costs associated with building one.

City leaders ordered the study last year, after reviewing a list of 29 recommendations from an outside consultant brought in to analyze traffic issues in the communities surrounding the 4,511-acre park.

This isn’t the first time an aerial tramway to the park has been considered. It was part of a draft master plan for the park unveiled in 2005—and later scrapped. A revised plan adopted by the City Council in 2015 called instead for a subway stop near the Los Angeles Zoo—something that now seems unlikely, given Metro’s busy project schedule over the next three decades.

Private developers have lately renewed talks of an aerial transportation system.

Media mogul Barry Diller, along with his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and her son, Alexander von Furstenberg, revealed plans in 2017 for a tram that would travel between the Hollywood Sign and the zoo.

Warner Brothers upped the ante last year, offering to build a similar tram system that would depart from a parking garage just north of the park. The company also proposed an education center at the top of Mount Lee, where visitors can take in views from behind the Hollywood Sign.

Meanwhile, a company led by the son of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is working with Metro on an aerial tram that would connect Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

Stantec project manager Arya Rohani tells Curbed that the firm is aware of these proposals, but that the point of the study is to determine the viability of a tram as a traffic-management system for Griffith Park, rather than to evaluate specific private proposals.

Rohani says the completed study will include a list of recommendations for city officials, as well as potential routes for the tram, analysis of safety issues, and cost estimates for both construction and operation of the transportation system. The firm is now preparing for a public outreach process and plans to present its final report in the fall.

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