A letter in the weekend Daily Press caught my eye: (“Shutup (in a Zen way!),” July 13-14, Pg. 4). Nancy Deville wrote about people exercising on Adelaide Drive and the stairs leading down to Santa Monica Canyon.
It‚Äôs a popular workout area ‚Äî especially since City Hall placed restrictions on exercising on the Fourth Street median between San Vicente Boulevard and Adelaide a few years ago.
I walk Adelaide at least once a week so I know what Deville is saying when she addresses loud banter, singing, car radios, people with dogs and gaggles of trainers and clients hogging the sidewalk with yoga mats, dumbbell sets and work-out equipment.
The 500 block of Adelaide is particularly problematic. The sidewalk is narrow ‚Äî about four feet wide ‚Äî and there‚Äôs so much exercise gear and so many people working out in this 70 yard stretch, pedestrians have to walk in the street just to pass.
The mansions adjacent to this stretch of sidewalk are being remodeled, so there are no residents to complain. Besides, the construction workers seem to appreciate the buffed female bodies in short shorts and stretchy exercise outfits.
Last Monday, at least three trainers were on this popular sidewalk with their clients. One trainer appeared to be working with five or six women. He had enough workout gear to equip a small gym on what is supposed to be a pedestrian right-of-way. Other trainers were hanging out and chatting it up with the ladies. Some were leaning against SUVs or trucks working their iPhones.
The sidewalk has taken on a meat market atmosphere with shapely women hovering around fit guys as they check out the well-toned ladies. Add tourists to the mix, like the chubby little honey in a red sedan that practically ran me over when she drove from Adelaide into opposing traffic on Fourth Street and then threw her car into reverse before nearly hitting me as I was crossing.
Don‚Äôt get me wrong, I‚Äôm all for working out. I‚Äôve been a member of numerous private gyms that cater to private trainers and their wealthy/celebrity clients. The advantage in using a public park or sidewalk is not having to pay gym fees or purchasing club memberships for themselves or their clients. This can easily save a fitness instructor thousands of dollars a year. But, engaging in activities on a city sidewalk that results in blocking public access needs to be controlled or curtailed.
City Hall is asking for suggestions on “how to improve the pedestrian experience?” Try being pro-active in checking the licenses and permits required of trainers using public space and issue citations when sidewalks are blocked ‚Äî which is most of the time on Adelaide.
Speaking of private trainers, the Parks and Recreation Commission came up with recommendations to regulate the instructors using public parks. One recommendation was to allow trainers to work with clients in the parks from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Most parks are near homes and apartments. Allowing private trainers and fitness instructors to conduct early morning and post-sunset activity which results in car alarms going off as people arrive and depart and instructing clients ‚Äî including counting down reps and shouting “one more, one more” ‚Äî is a big mistake.
The use of public parks as private gyms comes before City Council in early October. Council needs to limit supervised workout hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. so that neighbors and visitors may enjoy our parks ‚Äî especially Palisades Park ‚Äî for their beauty and serenity.
More stop signs, more congestion
It‚Äôs not often that I agree with local bicyclists but we concur that City Hall‚Äôs Traffic Engineering Department‚Äôs plans to install more stop signs in the residential area of Broadway, east of 26th Street is a really dumb idea.¬† Two of six intersections in that stretch of Broadway currently have four-way stops. The others have two-way stops on streets intersecting Broadway.
City traffic managers originally recommended that all six intersections be four-way stops. After bicyclists complained that they would be inconvenient for cyclists (meaning lots of stopping and starting up) and impede traffic on this major east/west thoroughfare, traffic managers are now considering four-way stops at just two more intersections and are asking for public input on the matter.
City Hall traffic engineers claim the new stops will decrease collisions in the neighborhood which they say happen at a “higher than average” rate. What? Because there‚Äôs not enough stop signs? Give me a break.
A few years ago, City Council approved placing planted medians on Broadway, east of 26th to the eastern city limits. Their presence has resulted in narrower traffic lanes that force moving cars dangerously close to bicyclists and severely restricts views of cross streets.
I drive Broadway frequently and I can easily say that the medians are a major contributor to the “higher than average collision rate.” Like other planted medians ill-advisedly installed around town over the last decade or so (on 23rd Street, Wilshire Boulevard, Montana Avenue and more), they congest traffic and impede views of vehicles and pedestrians coming from side streets.
Traffic is the number one resident complaint. However, traffic managers/engineers want to screw it up more by installing more stop signs which most motorists (and bicyclists) will run anyway.
Instead of stop signs, how about stepping up traffic enforcement? There‚Äôs nothing like a police officer with a ticket book to deter bad driving and reduce accidents.
Bill can be reached at email@example.com.