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Exercise Equipment Banned at Adelaide Drive, Further Measures Considered  

By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

March 1, 2010 -- In an effort to curb a residential street’s transformation into a de facto public park and commercial fitness center, the City Council on Tuesday banned the use of exercise equipment and professional fitness programs in median strips and parkways.

The law was passed to address the recent escalation of activities on Adelaide Drive, including the grass median at its intersection with Fourth Street.

The City also plans to step up enforcement against people who walk in the middle of Adelaide. And City officials will explore the possibility of closing the two stairwells connecting Adelaide to Santa Monica Canyon at night

Several public speakers told the council that the situation has gotten out of control on Adelaide. They described a street where available parking is scarce and people dangerously walk in front of cars. And friendliness, the residents said, is almost nonexistent.

“If I drive up behind someone and gently honk in order to ask them to get out of the way, the slew of verbal abuse I get is unbelievable,” resident John Ketcham said.

Council member Bobby Shriver lives on Adelaide. He said he can handle the verbal abuse, but he is concerned that a major accident could happen there unless the Santa Monica Police Department steps up its effort to get people out of the street.


“I don’t, myself, think the police enforcement is very good,” Shriver said. “I think the (police) folks, I hate to say this, tend to sit in the car in the Fourth Street median. They don’t when they see people walking in the middle of the street, say ‘excuse me go to the sidewalk.’”

The unanimous council vote for the ban on exercise equipment and professional workout programs in the area also included instructions for increased enforcement.
Some residents asked about closing the stairwells, which are famous attractions for fitness types looking for a good challenge. Closing those stairwells, even if it is just during nighttime, is a complicated matter.

The stairwells are mostly located in City of Los Angeles. Also, making any modifications on their use would require approval from the California Coastal Commission.

Public Works Director Lee Swain said preliminary discussions with Los Angeles officials have not gone smoothly. “The feedback I’m getting … is that they’re not interested in closing the stairs.”

The council instructed City staff to talk to Coastal Commission staff about the matter as well.


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