Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Preps for Marathon Weekend
By Jason Islas
March 13, 2013 -- Officials are getting ready for the Los Angeles Marathon Sunday and the tens of thousands of visitors it will bring to Santa Monica.
In anticipation of the roughly 40,000 visitors expected in Downtown Santa Monica - - the finish line for Sunday's marathon - - officials are preparing to coordinate traffic and pedestrian flow by turning the whole area into an event zone.
“It'll probably be three to four times the worst weekend we get,” said City Traffic Engineer Sam Morrissey, referring to the number of people the City is expecting.
City officials will designate the Downtown area -- between Fifth Street and Ocean Avenue and Colorado Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard -- an event zone, which means drivers getting off the freeway will find themselves being told directed to parking or out of the downtown area.
“If you are driving downtown, you're going to be considered part of the event traffic,” Morrissey said. “Depending on the time of day and the intersection, you may not be able to go right or left.”
Signs will let drivers know about cheaper parking rates at the Civic Center parking lot, but even so, it's likely that the majority of drivers will still head downtown.
Parking structures will also offer a special 30 minute rate for those who are just coming in to pick up runners.
“The Civic Center and South Beach lots are the primary marathon runners parking,” Morrissey said. “We really try to fill that up.”
This is the fourth year that Santa Monica will be the finish line for the and officials say that they are ready.
Morrissey said that they learned a lot from last year's marathon.
“We realized we had to do a lot more work to prepare for the marathon,” he said. “Within the event zone, we are really going to be controlling the direction of traffic and limiting the options for individual drivers.
“You're basically going to be directed where to go at each intersection in Downtown,” he said.
Though the influx of spectators and runners requires a lot of coordination, it's welcome by business leaders.
“We are always excited to have the marathon,” Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson. “It's usually a great day filled with great energy and spirit.”
A number of local businesses are offering specials on marathon day, which visitors can see here.
“I'm sure there are a number of marathon cocktails for people who want to watch the runners come in,” Rawson said.
The City plans to broadcast live information about the traffic situation Downtown and those who plan on visiting are encouraged to visit http://www.smgov.net/marathon/marathon.aspx to keep abreast of conditions and for more detailed information about how to get around.
“The city has done a phenomenal job with traffic and circulation management,” said Rawson. “It's a huge event. It has the potential to cripple the city but it hasn't.”
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