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Shedding Light on Griffith Park

CATEGORY: In the News |
On Jul 16, 2023


Inbound Mayor Bass made a bold statement on her earliest arrival. The final Executive Directive quietly carried out by former Mayor Eric Garcetti was to initiate an 18-month pilot program to allow the lighting of the Hollywood Sign for commercial purposes.

Bass rescinded the order without hesitation, beating the clock of the directive becoming legally effective. Homeowners in the area cheered because illuminating the Hollywood Sign would only attract more tourists onto narrow streets. FoGP also applauded Bass’s swift annulment of the directive for another reason: harmful spillage of light onto the Park habitat with insects, bats and wildlife is not the message a City should send. We are confident that Mayor Bass recognizes that the City’s most-esteemed urban wilderness asset is worth protecting.


What about all those nasty bright lights to the east of the Hollywood Sign? Where did those come from and why?

Most folks didn’t ask the question when they were first installed, and instead, assumed they were for security of the communication equipment that consumes much of the flattened peak. Okay, let’s start there and assume they’re for security purposes. But why are the lights pointing outward, not inward onto the assets that need the protection?

The lamps project outward around the entire perimeter, more than a dozen viable lamps can be seen from as far away as Eagle Rock, above Coldwater Canyon, and planes flying into LAX. Each LED lamp produces 4,600 lumens (and they are doubled-up on the poles) at 5,000 Kelvin temperature, which is blue/white light, the opposite end of wildlife-friendly light. This intensity and spectrum would miserably fail the lighting guidelines of the City’s proposed Wildlife Ordinance.

The lights were installed shortly after the completion of major upgrades to the communication facility around 2016. Because of the extent of the project, a Minimal Negative Declaration (MND) under CEQA law was mandated and prepared. In that public document, it clearly states, “All-night light that would be visible from outside of the site will not be used.”

FoGP has asked questions, including with Council District 4. Answers have not been forthright. LAPD Security Division says, “not them.” Information Technology Agency (ITA) states they didn’t install them, even though they control the switch for the lights. LAFD? “No.” Did FAA ask for them for the plethora of helicopters that fly around there? Again, “No.”

We aren’t giving up with this conundrum. Surely, the City can understand that there is a case to attenuate lights that shine out onto the remote wildlands of Griffith Park’s interior. Dark nights are the best Park policy. Shielding, redirecting, reducing intensity, and changing lamps for less harmful, warmer light, are possible steps in the right direction. Or, maybe the easiest of all solutions, just flip the switch off, forever.

~Gerry Hans, FoGP President



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