Runyon Canyon closure disappoints locals and tourists

In a city like Los Angeles, it can be hard to find peace and quiet. But at Runyon Canyon, there is a little sanctuary within the insanity of the city. The 130-acre haven lies just west of the 101 Hollywood Freeway, extending north to Mulholland drive. A short two block walk up north from the craziness on Hollywood Boulevard, it's where you will find people sweating while climbing up the hill determined to remain in shape, people who are walking their dogs letting them run and play, and tourists taking pictures so that they can remember the beautiful view from above the city. You will even see people hand-in-hand on dates. Runyon Canyon is a part of many residents’ everyday lifestyles.

However, as of Friday, April 1, Runyon Canyon park has been closed for renovation for at least four months. The commissioners of the Department of Recreation and Parks decided to close the park until July 31 in order to fix a nearly 100 year old pipe that is leaking. According to the press release, the DWP will fix the pipeline while also making other improvements to the roads and adding other upgrades.

“There's no doubt it needs to be repaired," said Estevan Montemayor, Director of Communications for the area.

City Councilman David Ryu, whose district the park is in, said, "The quickest way to do this is to close the park for four months and allow work crews to repair the leaks and get the park back open to the public by summer."

This temporary closure of Runyon Canyon is close to many LA residents’ hearts, as they have to say a temporarily goodbye until it opens up again this summer.

“I never thought I would be this upset about the closure. I go here a few times every week,” said Sharon Matthews, a Los Angeles based makeup artist.

Matthews talked about how the park is a very dog-friendly place and appreciated by dog owners. She said, “My dogs love it here and now I don’t know where I’m going to walk them. They are always excited to walk up here because they know they can play as much as they want to, which is not possible down on the streets.”

Matthews is not the only one that will now have to find other solutions for their dog walks. Anna Williams, a high school teacher who recently took in a rescue-dog said, “Runyon is the only place I’ve been to where my dog is not afraid and shy because of his rough past so I like to take him here at least five times a week.”

But Runyon Canyon's appeal isn't just for canines. Many of their two-legged owners also find it a refreshing place to exercise. “A morning run in Runyon is something I’ve done every morning for years," said local resident Christopher Hernandez. “I don’t like to go to gyms or run on treadmills which is why my Runyon runs are what’s keeping me in shape, but I guess I will have to change that now or get fat."

Frida Unnefors, an international college student in LA and frequenter of the park said, “There is barely any beautiful nature in central LA, which is one of the reasons why Runyon is so nice. Runyon is the place to go to if you want to see nature yet not have to drive too far."

Because of Runyon’s convenient location, it has become a go-to hiking location for many LA residents. Unnefors talked about how other hiking trails that are further away need extra planning which can make traveling to them more inconvenient.

“Sometimes I like to go hike at other hike areas, like the Malibu trails, but it has to be planned in advance," said Unnefors, "I can’t just go there spontaneously because it’s far from where I live. A hike in Runyon doesn’t need any planning for me because it is so close.”

With nearly 200,000 posts tagged as "Runyon Canyon" on Instagram, there is a definite social media appeal for the little bit of nature surrounded by city. Many on Instagram indicated that Runyon Canyon hikes are considered a fun workout. Quite a few people also mention that celebrity spotting is also a unique appeal to the park.

There is no doubt that the closure of Runyon Canyon has a noticeable effect on Los Angeles. For the moment, both Angelenos and tourists will have to find a new place to walk their dogs and spot celebrities as they sweat it out, and take their “Runyon Canyon” Instagram pictures.