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Griffith Park Observatory Shuttle Fiasco To End?

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In early September, 104 years ago, in a hotel in Santa Monica, the immigrant mining millionaire, Colonel Griffith Jenkins Griffith, aimed a pistol at his wife during a fit of rage and shot her in the head. Because she survived, and thanks to his political connections, Griffith only did three years in San Quentin.

After he emerged from prison he still had a wild streak, but he also had an extremely generous side to him, and donated over 3,000 acres of land to the City of LA, and properties including the Griffith Observatory.

Terms of the gift specifically noted that Griffith Park Observatory would always be free to the public. But now that the city has renovated the observatory and removed public parking near the observatory, requiring a long steep walk or a shuttle ride costing $8.

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The LA Weekly last week hinted that that situation may end soon.

The official Web site,, makes things worse with its disingenuous insistence that “Griffith Observatory continues to be free.” Insiders say the shuttle system is no longer needed for its purported purpose — crowd control — and will be dropped, letting Angelenos once again drive up to hang out at the observatory. It’s “all going to change,” promises Mukri, who says the contracts for shuttle service last only one year. That means the Department of Recreation and Parks and Los Angeles City Council soon must re-evaluate the troubled setup. But for now, not even taxis are allowed to ferry visitors 1,000 feet above Hollywood to drop them off.

Let's hope those insiders are of the hopefully doomed shuttle by Stephanie Asher via LAist Featured Photos