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New Santa Monica NIMBY battle: Stop exercising in my neighborhood!

October 30, 2008 | 12:04 am
Fitness buffs
Doing a few sit-ups and push-ups in Santa Monica cost James Birch $158.

Birch was cited as part of a recent crackdown on fitness enthusiasts who were exercising in the grassy medians along 4th Street near tony Adelaide Drive.
In response to homeowners' complaints, Santa Monica police two months ago started warning those who exercised on the medians that they were violating a 1970 city ordinance. Residents had griped that the affluent neighborhood had been overrun by groups of people who sometimes showed up with exercise benches, balls and boom boxes -- creating a sort of outdoor Gold's Gym.

"The median has turned into a de facto park," said Jim Sweeney, an area resident who along with neighbors complained to City Hall about 18 months ago.

For those who enjoy huffing and puffing in the great outdoors, few venues top Adelaide, at Santa Monica's northern border near the ocean.
Droves of power walkers and joggers take to the steep wooden or concrete stairs that descend to Santa Monica Canyon, reveling in the superb canyon and ocean views. Nearby, the grassy medians along 4th Street are viewed as ideal al fresco gyms for personal trainers and clients wanting to buff up as ocean breezes caress their sweaty biceps.

Even the stair climbers have been known to lay mats on the sidewalks in front of multimillion-dollar Adelaide houses and do sets of ab crunches. Residents report that joggers also discard water bottles, urinate on people's plants, occasionally scrawl graffiti and mill about in the narrow, curvy street, creating a hazard for drivers and themselves.

In response, the Santa Monica Police Department stationed park rangers in the area to issue warnings and, occasionally, citations. (Jogging and walking in medians are permitted under the ordinance.)
(Read the rest of the story here).
--Martha Groves
(Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)