ADELAIDE DRIVE — Aiming to curb pedestrian traffic and overcrowding near two public staircases that have become ultra-popular workout spots, City Hall officials this week announced new weekend parking restrictions near Adelaide Drive and Fourth Street.

In the past, parking on Adelaide has been by permit only from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. but free from restriction during daytime hours. The new rules will change that, baring all vehicles from parking on Adelaide between Fourth and Seventh streets between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays — peak workout days at the staircases.

Even residents who live on Adelaide near the stairs will be barred from parking on their street during daytime weekend hours. Those with permits would be allowed to park on the block on weekends between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

According to City Hall, the restriction will “provide additional roadway width to better accommodate the legal use of the roadway by pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles.”

Those who live near the stairs have long been at odds with the health-conscious people who flock to the stairs daily for workouts, taking up parking spots while leaving water bottles and other trash behind. City Hall went so far as to place law enforcement officers on site to warn them about a law prohibiting workouts in grass medians near the stairs. Some were issued citations.

The weekend parking ban will be in place for a six-month trial period.

“What we want to do is test this out,” said Assistant City Manager Elaine Polacheck. “After that six-month period, we’re going to take a look at whether there needs to be an expansion of preferential parking restrictions in the area.”

For Tom Baker, who lives next to the easternmost staircase just north of Adelaide, the move is welcomed news.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction because the heaviest [pedestrian] traffic is on the weekends,” he said.

Still, Baker said residents believe Adelaide needs 24-hour permit parking, a change that would require approval from the California Coastal Commission.

With the City Council’s support, residents on Adelaide sought approval for round-the-clock preferential parking from the Coastal Commission in 1995 but were denied.

According to a City Hall report, there’s no indication the commission has changed its position that the two sets of stairs are vital to coastal access.

To Baker, that position makes no sense.

“The Coastal Commission is very reluctant. They seem to think that people use the stairways to access the beach, which is ridiculous. People use the stairways for exercise,” he said.

The City Council has directed staff to look into ways to address Adelaide residents’ concerns about pedestrian overcrowing on their street but was not required to sign-off on the weekend parking ban.

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