Diana DeRubertis, writing over at Planetizen, had an interesting post this weekend describing how the design of local parks can encourage, or discourage, active living and physical activity. In particular, she focuses on how the perception of the safety of a park may play a major role in how well utilized that park is. She notes that trails that are "ideal for bicyclists or for weekend hikes with friends" are, due to their relative isolation, not viable options for some park users due to the concerns (real or perceived) over safety.
Regarding parks for "solo walkers and joggers" she says (emphasis mine):
The wilderness-like parks seem to be increasingly emphasized at the expense of smaller community parks that provide the right facilities for outdoor exercise. One element overlooked by park planners is the community track or paved walking loop. In the eastern US, many high school tracks are open to the public; they tend to be safe and well-used. Out West, school tracks are unfortunately locked and reserved for student use only. Where school tracks are not an option, walking loops within parks are a good alternative. These can be placed around baseball diamonds, soccer fields, playgrounds and picnic areas.
This is a good observation. Not everyone who wants to go for an walk or a jog wants to do so out in the wilderness-- and not everyone would feel safe doing so. I for one would love to have the option to go for a run around a track instead of running down the sidewalk, in Griffith Park or Runyon, or up some narrow canyon road.
It seems clear to me that Hollywood needs more neighborhood and community parks that are easily accessible to most residents, are designed to accommodate a variety of recreational uses and outdoor activates, and are designed so local residents would feel safe visiting them at dawn or at dusk.
And I think most Hollywood residents would agree.
As I've pointed out before, Hollywood has plenty of parkland. However, 98% of that parkland consists of wilderness areas and open space. I'd argue that if the existing 4,400 acres of wilderness parkland in Hollywood were sufficient to meet the recreational needs of area residents then there would be no reason for Hollywood residents to push for more open space and parkland in East Hollywood, try and raise money to develop a park over the Hollywood Freeway, or seek grant funding from the State for new pocket parks. But of course, Hollywood residents ARE doing those things. All of those things. Hollywood residents obviously recognize that the community is lacking the type and variety of parkland and open space needed to fully meet all their recreational needs.