News | Griffith Road Closures are Latest Chapter in LA's Vision Zero Effort

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by Jacob Wong, USC Master of Public Policy, 2023

The City of Los Angeles closed a stretch of Griffith Park Drive between Travel Town and Mt. Hollywood Drive to vehicle traffic last week. The move came partially in response to a fatal hit-and-run accident along nearby Crystal Springs Drive in April which killed a cyclist.


The stretch of road was also cited as a recommended road closure by transportation consulting firm Kimley-Horn during a presentation to the Griffith Park Advisory Board in May. While the closure is currently a temporary measure, the City Recreation and Parks Department suggested that it could become permanent.


(Source: Eyewitness News)


Runners and cyclists who frequent the park have also called for the road to be permanently closed to traffic, citing frequent speeding vehicles along the route which put pedestrians at risk. According to the city, consultants will continue to monitor data resulting from the policy and revisit the issue in August, making sure to implement feedback from the local community.


The cycling fatality and resulting road closure in Griffith Park are the latest developments in the City’s ongoing Vision Zero Effort. Former Mayor Eric Garcetti enacted the program in 2015 with a goal of eliminating traffic deaths in Los Angeles by 2025. To accomplish this, the City has invested millions of dollars into the program, working with the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) to redesign streets to be safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Per reporting by, LADOT has completed 5,500 safety improvements along streets with high injury occurrence since the beginning of the Vision Zero Program. 


Despite these efforts, the City has not seen a reduction in traffic fatalities since 2015. Rather, the data suggests a trend in the other direction. There were 294 traffic deaths in Los Angeles in 2021, the highest total since Vision Zero’s Inception. This figure reflects a 22% increase from 2020 and a 58% increase from 2015.


“Every single one of those numbers is a tragedy. If we cannot get people from A to B and guarantee that they are safe…then we haven't fulfilled sort of a basic responsibility,” said former LADOT general manager Seleta Reynolds in a statement to KCRW. Earlier this year, LADOT announced that Reynolds would be leaving the agency to join LA Metro.


Entering its seventh year since enactment, Vision Zero Los Angeles has outlasted the city’s mayor and the head officer of its transportation agency. However, the program still has much to accomplish, and the closure of Griffith Park Drive exemplifies the numerous ways that pedestrians and cyclists are put at risk with the city’s current road conditions, even beyond improvements to busy city streets.


About the Author:

Jacob Wong is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at the Price School of Public Policy. He is curious about issues in urban policy and transportation planning. He is a recent LA transplant, and in his free time he enjoys exploring the area and the local food scene.