Actor and athletic trainer Greg Christofaro runs along the Fourth Street median on Thursday afternoon. The City Council voted in favor of prohibiting the use of workout equipment in the median, which is a popular spot for trainers given its close proximity to stairs on Adelaide Drive that people climb for exercise. (photo by Brandon Wise)

ADELAIDE DRIVE — They urinate in front yards, yell profanity at homeowners and maraud through the streets with no concern for residents. Oh yeah, and they take up all the parking spaces.

These complaints aren’t against drunken bar patrons stumbling home at night, they’re against the fitness buffs who flock to ritzy Adelaide Drive to run up and down two steep public staircases and work out in the neighborhood’s grass areas.

Residents here say that despite an increased Park Ranger presence, their once tranquil block continues to be used as a public park, overrun with often rude joggers.

“I live on Adelaide Drive. I love it there and I cannot enjoy it,” John Ketcham told City Council members on Tuesday before they enacted an ordinance aimed at curbing fitness uses in the area.

The new law, approved unanimously by the council, bars people from using fitness equipment in the grass median at Fourth Street and Adelaide Drive and on other grass areas in the vicinity.

Adelaide residents supported the measure but asked the council to take additional steps, like closing the stairs at night, or even temporarily barring access to them to discourage exercisers.

“I feel that this ordinance doesn’t go nearly far enough,” Ketcham said.

Because the stair cases span Santa Monica’s northern border, closing the steps would require cooperation with the city of Los Angeles. Public Works Director Lee Swain said initial conversations with Los Angeles on the topic have not been encouraging.

“The [Los Angeles] City Attorney’s office at least initially [was] not supportive of the idea but we will pursue that further,” he said.

The council on Tuesday also directed Swain’s office to discuss closing the stairs with the California Coastal Commission, which would have to approve any measure taken to curb access to the westernmost staircase because it is in the coastal zone.

Swain said his first goal will be to win nighttime closure of the eastern-most stair case, located on Adelaide between Fourth and Seventh streets.

Speakers who addressed the council Tuesday night described conditions on their street as so bad they’re often reluctant to drive down the block.

“I’m a fit guy. I’m not likely to be intimidated, and yet I am. I won’t drive down my own street. Where in Santa Monica can people say that — that they won’t drive down their own street?” Ketcham said.

A couple of speakers, including Ocean Park resident Kathy Yore, said the council should be mindful that many people who use the stairs are respectful of residents.

“I have problems with people coming into my neighborhood but, I mean, it’s not like I can shut it down,” Yore said.

Early morning workout classes held in the neighborhood — once a major irritant to residents — appear to have ended because of stepped-up enforcement.

But Councilman Bobby Shriver, who lives on Adelaide Drive, said other infractions like groups of people walking in the middle of the street, continue unchecked, causing a safety hazard.

“I don’t, myself, think the police enforcement is very good,” Shriver said. “I would urge the senior police people to go out there and walk up and down there on a weekend and tell us whether they think that’s a safe situation. It’s not.”

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