Thursday, October 19, 2006

Observatory Celebration Derailed!

MOUNT HOLLYWOOD, CA - Last night, SurviveLA and SoapBoxLA joined CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge in celebrating the reopening of the newly remodeled Griffith Observatory at a special preview event for the Hollywood Hills community.

The reopening of the Observatory is especially significant to the local cycling and hiking community because of the long fight to maintain cycling and hiking access to the Observatory.

It was a beautiful evening and the Observatory staff had the telescope fired up so that guests were able to take at Vega, apparently a very hot star way of in the distance.

Unfortunately, witnessing the wonders of the Universe did little to take the sting off the local discovery of one of the blunders of the Universe.

Within the last few days, the Department of Recreation and Park(ing) has posted signs forbidding cyclists and pedestrians in the Vermont Canyon Road Tunnel, the tunnel that connects the east and west access to the Observatory roads.

These new signs replace signs that cautioned motorists to watch for the presence of cyclists and pedestrians in the tunnel.

Actually, they don’t replace the old caution signs, they ARE the old caution signs, repainted! You can still see the outline of the old lettering underneath the new paint.

While the Department of Recreation and Park(ing) deserves encouragement as they explore the world of recycling, they picked the wrong items to recycle.

Granted, the tunnel is small but other, evolved departments and communities have dealt with a situation like this by installing warning lights that are activated by the cyclists and peds upon entry to the tunnel or by simply restricting the motorist traffic. It is, after all, a park.

SoapBoxLA spoke to CD4 Deputy Patty Malone and was assured that the signs would come down and would be replaced or recycled so that the new signs again permitted cyclists and peds and cautioned the motorists.

So take a ride, go up Fern Dell or Vermont or Hillhurst. It’s 2.3 miles from Los Feliz on Fern Dell, it’s 1.6 from Loz Feliz on Vermont or Hillhurst. Take a look at the Vermont Canyon Road Tunnel. If the signs are still on either end of the tunnel, pick up the phone and call Jon Kirk Mukri, (213-928-9033) the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Park(ing).

And then continue up the hill to the Observatory, stand where 70 million others have stood, and take a look through the most popular telescope in the world.

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith was convinced that the power of the cosmic experience was sufficient to influence culture and change the world.

This world could use some changing, so go on, take a peek!

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