Q: I live on Adelaide Drive near the stairs that people commonly use for exercising. I like to walk in my neighborhood, but I frequently am forced to walk in the street due to people using the sidewalk to do push-ups or use their exercise equipment. I feel unsafe walking in the street. Is it legal for them to block the sidewalk?
A: We live and work in a beautiful city with great weather, natural resources, and breathtaking views. The area you refer to on Adelaide is a popular destination for residents and people that like to come to our city for exercise while enjoying the perks mentioned above. While the majority of the people that come to the area are respectful to the residents, some inadvertently become a nuisance.
It is my opinion that the people that utilize the area around the stairs do not purposely want to interfere with the quality of life of the residents. However, that does not dismiss the fact that blocking the sidewalk is a violation of Santa Monica Municipal Code — 3.12.372(a) SMMC. The law states that no person shall block or obstruct any public sidewalk so that less than a 4-foot contiguous sidewalk width is kept clear for pedestrian passage at all times. Conduct prohibited by this section of the law includes, but is not limited to, blocking or obstructions caused by placing any property, material, or other items on the sidewalk. This includes items such as weight benches, weight lifting equipment, or exercise balls.
It is unlawful to sit or lie down on the sidewalk, whether upon a blanket, chair, stool, bench or any other portable object. The Municipal Code specifically states that it is unlawful to perform sit-ups, push-ups, weight training or similar stationary exercise upon any public sidewalk.
Of course prohibitions contained in the section do not apply to any person committing the above due to a medical emergency, or while participating in or attending a parade, festival, demonstration, or activity conducted pursuant to a City Hall-issued permit or license. In this case it does not sound like the people are involved in any of the excused activities.
The Municipal Code states that any person violating this section shall be guilty of an infraction, which shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $250, or a misdemeanor, which shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding six months or by both such fine and imprisonment.
In addition to blocking the sidewalk, there is also a Municipal Code that prohibits the blocking of the driveway to one’s residence. Santa Monica Municipal Code 3.12.373 states that no person shall block or obstruct vehicular access to or from any driveway.
The same conduct that is illegal on the sidewalk is also illegal to do in a driveway. These include placing any property or material in the driveway, sitting or lying down, performing sit-ups, push-ups, weight training or similar stationary exercise activities.
Any person violating the section shall be guilty of an infraction, which shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $250, or a misdemeanor, which shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding six months or by both such fine and imprisonment.
If you see a violation and feel your quality of life is being affected, please feel free to call the Santa Monica Police Department’s non-emergency line at (310) 458-8491. Education is my ultimate goal so that the people visiting the area and the residents can cohabitate and enjoy the best that Santa Monica has to offer.
Do you like carnival rides, games, and food? Do you want to try riding a mechanical bull? Want to spend your Sunday at a fun filled, family event? Bring your family to Santa Monica’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta this Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at Virginia Avenue Park. This year’s fiesta will feature a rock climbing wall, mechanical bull, and a giant slide! Fun for all ages.
Dance to the compelling rhythms of Bomba Chante salsa band and sing with the Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco. Folklorico and Aztec Dance will add to the cultural celebration while Master of Ceremonies and performance artist Maria Elena Gaitan brings interesting and humorous commentary on the historical significance of the event. Of course, no Cinco de Mayo event would be complete without artisan vendors and traditional Mexican foods and treats.
For the latest entertainment and event updates, visit the park’s website at www.vapark.smgov.net or call (310) 458-8688. Parking is limited so please walk, bike or take the Big Blue Bus event shuttle from Santa Monica College just blocks away! Virginia Avenue Park is located at 2200 Virginia Ave. The park is wheelchair accessible and welcomes persons of all abilities.
This column was prepared by NRO Scott McGee (Beat 5: Montana Avenue to north city limits, Ocean Avenue to 26th Street). He can be reached at (424) 200-0685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.