LOS ANGELES – City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell took the first group selfie today and uploaded the photo to his Instagram using a brand new, free WiFi service at six City park facilities, including Echo Park Lake in the 13th District.
The service is part of the pilot program sponsored by Toyota and American Park Network, and available in designated hotspot areas in six City parks: Cabrillo Beach, Echo Park Lake, Griffith Observatory, Pershing Square, Reseda Park, and Venice Beach.
O’Farrell, along with his Council colleagues Tom LaBonge and Bob Blumenfield, as well as the Department of Recreation and Parks, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in front of the iconic Griffith Observatory.
“This new amenity will enhance the visitor experience at some of the great public spaces across the City,” said O’Farrell, who serves as chair of the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging, and Los Angeles River Committee. “The pilot program will allow even more people to conveniently connect to the internet and share their stories about our world-class parks, like the newly renovated Echo Park Lake.”
“This pilot program provides our visitors a vital service for our rapidly advancing society — Wi-Fi that connects them to the world. Included in this program, The Griffith Observatory, in the heart of Council District Four, is one of the most popular tourist attractions,” said LaBonge, Chair of the City’s Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee. Free Wi-Fi in our parks means instant communication that allows visitors to share their experiences from the City and the parks we all love at the speed of light!”
"Our virtual infrastructure is every bit as important as our physical infrastructure," said Blumenfield, Chair of the City’s Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee. "This pilot will demonstrate the many benefits access to information provides to our communities: from right here at Griffith Park where we will see benefits to tourism and education, to Reseda Park in my West Valley district, where access to information will make an impact and help close the digital divide. This is but a first step towards realizing the fully connected Los Angeles we need to be."
The free service, called Oh, Ranger! Wi-FiTM, is part of a pilot program made possible through the generous support of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Wi-Fi installation and equipment was provided at no cost to taxpayers. In addition to providing free connectivity for the millions of visitors, Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi also provides the opportunity to better monitor park visitation patterns and generate awareness of upcoming programs and events.
“Latest research demonstrates that smart devices are being relied on more than ever, and providing free Wi-Fi and a mobile service applications enhances community offerings for the City of Los Angeles”, said Michael A. Shull, Interim General Manager, Recreation and Parks. “We’re very excited to be working with American Park Network with support from Toyota in bringing free Oh, Ranger! Wi-FiTM to park visitors,” and we look forward to expanding Wi-Fi services throughout our entire park system.”
During the announcement today, the Department of Recreation and Parks also launched a new Mobile Service Request Application. The app contains a feature that allows you to quickly and easily submit a service request involving the following Recreation and Park issues.
Visitors can simply navigate to m.laparks.org using their Internet browser to start using the LA Parks mobile service application. Graffiti removal in parks, park maintenance, landscape maintenance at City buildings, trees in the park, bees in the park, and a variety of other service requests can be made using the app.