Neighbors Complain and Cops Crack Down on Outdoor Exercise Hotspot

A grassy median in a tony Santa Monica neighborhood has been a hotspot for local fitness buffs looking for a nice place to workout for years. But residents tired of the constant outdoor gym that invades their street are complaining to the city.
November 4, 2008, 10am PST | Nate Berg
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"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."

"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.)"

"The city also sent 1,200 questionnaires to gauge the level of concern about what residents say has been an uptick in median exercisers and stair users. About 200 residents have responded. At a public meeting this evening at the main Santa Monica Public Library on Santa Monica Boulevard at 6th Street, city officials will hear from residents who favor the ban and those who contend that police must have better things to do."

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Published on Monday, November 3, 2008 in Los Angeles Times
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