LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A stretch of Griffith Park Drive is permanently closing to drivers as part of an effort to protect pedestrians and reduce traffic in the popular park.
Many commuters used the road to avoid congestion on the 5 and 134 freeways, but the Board of Recreation and Parks Commission voted Thursday to extend the temporary closure of the roadway indefinitely.
The permanent closure to motorists comes after a suspected DUI driver was charged in a hit-and-run crash that killed a 77-year-old bicyclist back in April. The road between Travel Town and the Griffith Park Composting Facility had been closed since June, following community outcry over that fatal crash.
The commission determined the road was unsafe for cyclists, equestrians, hikers and pedestrians, as well as wildlife in the park. The commission said the road's closure eliminated access to that route, keeping approximately 1,950 vehicles off Griffith Park Drive on weekdays and 2,000 vehicles on weekend days.
This closure is the first in a list of recommendations from the Griffith Park Safety and Mobility Feasibility Study.
"Safety in our parks is at the forefront of our department's mission, and we will continue our commitment to improve mobility to and within Griffith Park," said Jimmy Kim, general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Eli Akira Kaufman, executive director of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said the group celebrates the permanent closure.
"At a minimum, our parks must prioritize the well-being of people who visit for a peaceful walk or bicycle ride without fearing for their lives," Kaufman said. "The decision to reduce the number of vehicles speeding through the park is a good step toward preventing the next needless traffic violence tragedy. After all, Griffith Park is for the community, not the commute.''
City News Service contributed to this report.