By Lookout Staff
January 7 -- Frustrated residents and the exercise
buffs who have turned an exclusive North of Montana street
into an outdoor gym will get a chance to work out their
differences at a community meeting Thursday night.
The meeting at 7 p.m. at the Main Library will offer opposing
factions a chance to weigh the pros and cons of several
options that have been proposed for limiting the use of
the medians near Adelaide Drive and 4th Street.
“City staff will incorporate community feedback into
recommendations to the City Manager as to how these issues
may be addressed,” City officials said.
Residents of the area complained that as many as 1,500
people -- many of them drawn by a steep set of canyon stairs
just north of the city border -- exercise on the leafy street,
adding noise, traffic and litter to a neighborhood lined
with multi-million-dollar mansions.
A park ranger has been stationed in the area for some seven
months, handing out hundreds of warnings that exercising
on the median violates a 1970 ordinance prohibiting the
use of medians for anything other than walking or running.
But the crackdown has failed to stop the exercising.
At a City Council meeting early last month, the council
directed staff to work with Los Angeles City officials,
and perhaps the California Coastal Commission, to explore
ways to restrict access to the stairs that once gave Santa
Monica students access to a canyon school.
Solutions discussed by the council ranged from making the
area less welcoming for exercise buffs to working with LA
officials to shut down the stairs.
Outside of enforcing the existing ordinance, there are
likely few legal remedies to the problem, said City Attorney
A 1970 anti-loitering law, for example, has been deemed
unconstitutional, “so that’s not a good way
to deal with it,” Moutrie told the council.
Thursday’s meeting comes after staff worked with
neighboring residents to temporarily tackle the problem,
conducted a survey of residents within a 1,000-foot radius
to gauge community concerns and held an initial community
neighborhood meeting attended by more than 50 people.
The stretch of median “is regularly used for exercising,
stretching, group fitness classes and pick-up gyms,”
according to Lee Swain, the City’s director of Public
Works, who is in charge of city streets.
“Recently there has been a noticeable increase in
organized group exercise activities including ‘pickup
gyms,’” Swain told the council.
At Thursday’s meeting, City staff from the City Attorney’s
Office, Community Maintenance, City Manager’s Office,
Police, Community and Cultural Services and the Public Works
Department will be available to “discuss advantages
and disadvantages from various perspectives,” according
to City officials.
The Santa Monica Main Public Library is located at 601
Santa Monica Boulevard. The Main Library and the Multipurpose
room are wheelchair-accessible. To request other disability-related
accommodations, please call 310-458-8221 or TDD/TTY 310-917-6626.
The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus lines 1, 2, 3,
7, 8, 9 and 10. Questions about the meeting may be directed
to firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-458-8221.