Photo by Downtowngal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Downtowngal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A pair of Los Angeles-area businessmen are proposing to build a 2,900-foot-long zip line through Runyon Canyon, but their idea is getting some intense scrutiny from residents concerned about the possible impacts of such a project.

Jeff Pruitt and Ryan Woods will pitch their idea to the to the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council on Wednesday. Cyd Zeigler, vice president of the neighborhood council, told City News Service he hopes to hear a “full presentation” on the zip line plan, since he has only heard “whispers” about the proposal in recent months.

Pruitt and Wood said they approached the city Recreation and Parks Department last year about building a zip line in Griffith Park. After discussing the idea with Recreation and Parks officials and Councilman Tom LaBonge’s office, they opted instead to propose the line in Runyon Canyon, Woods told CNS.

The zip line would start at Runyon Canyon Road just east of the power line structure and drop gliders 500 feet into the canyon, Pruitt said, landing north of Fuller Gate — a popular site for outdoor yoga classes.

Members of a Runyon Canyon Park booster group that raises money for the park plan to speak out against the idea at the neighborhood council meeting, although they didn’t elaborate on their specific concerns. But Pruitt and Woods said they hope to win over residents concerned increased traffic by running a shuttle from the Hollywood & Highland Center parking area, reducing the number of tourists using residential streets and parking along the roads.

“We want this to become the new way to get to Runyon Canyon,” Pruitt told CNS.

The pair also said they would donate $700,000 to fix trails, add bathrooms and make other improvements at Runyon Canyon.

City Recreation and Parks officials are taking a serious look at the zip line idea because it could generate revenue to pay for the maintenance of Runyon Canyon or other city park needs, according to Pruitt.

Joe Salaices, superintendent of Recreation and Parks operations, said the city could strike a revenue-sharing agreement with the operator of the zip line. He said the proposal is in its “infancy stage” and city officials are still gathering information.

A formal application has not been submitted to the city, but if the city wanted to pursue the idea, there would have to be a competitive bidding process to choose an operator, and the proposal would undergo a public and “transparent” review process, Salaices said.

He said the city recently experimented with a smaller zip line at Venice Beach that was “somewhat semi-successful,” but it is “not at the same level” as the Runyon Canyon proposal.

Pruitt said the zip line would be one of very few in the country in an urban area, with most built in “remote mountain ranges or areas overlooking just water.”

The proposed Runyon Canyon zip line would offer “basically the best view in Los Angeles,” including downtown, the mid-Wilshire area, West Hollywood and “on a clear day you’ll be able to see the water,” Pruitt said.

City News Service

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