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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Griffith Park Observatory no longer FREE

Update (10/3/2006): Glad to see that even the LA Times thinks the new shuttle fee is "astronomical."

L.A.'s Eye on Cosmos Returns: Griffith Observatory will reopen Nov. 3 after a $93-million renovation. The price of the shuttle ride is also astronomical.



From the LATimes...


Fearing traffic jams, the city has closed the 199-space lot at the observatory and will instead require that visitors make time-certain advance reservations and, in most cases, use shuttle buses based at the Hollywood-Highland mall and Los Angeles Zoo parking lots. The shuttles are expected to charge $8 per adult, $4 for children ages 5 to 12.

Observatory admission will remain free as donor Griffith J. Griffith stipulated in his will nine decades ago for those who walk or bicycle to the site, up to 1,320 per day.



They make no mention of whether this will be a temporary or permanent change in operations, but my guess it will be permanent. I can't imagine why it should cost $8 for someone to take a shuttle bus to a site and attraction that was built and restored with their tax dollars and rests on city property.

The Getty Center, a private foundation, can do as they please (although I find their $8 parking fee utterly ridiculous, too), but city sites should remain free of abusive and exclusionary fees.

It is the height of disingenuousness to say that that "admission will remain free." The observatory is not free if you can't get to the door for free. Ok, you can walk or bicycle to the site, but this isn't LACMA, located in the middle of the city on flat ground. This is an observatory on top of a mountain, a good mile walk from any other parking. Frankly, I also think it violates the stipulation in Griffith's will as much as charging for tickets at the door.

I call shenanigans on this entire operation and hope that others will, too. The time has come do REDUCE/REMOVE parking fees and admission fees, not use them TAX the city's residents for something for which they have already paid.

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