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4th Street Steps: Alternatives, Etiquette

July 29, 1993

The "Stepping Up in Style" article (July 1) accurately described the varied and colorful crowd of exercise junkies who climb the 189 steps from the bottom of Santa Monica Canyon up to Adelaide Drive.

At peak hours the stairs become overloaded with panting people, many of whom are putting themselves at risk, according to the doctors quoted in the article. Most of the people climbing the stars appear to be younger than 40. However, the senior citizens I've seen climbing the steps are probably putting themselves at risk if, as the doctors say, the stairs are dangerous for younger people.

Unknown to most of the ardent exercisers are 12 other public staircases and walkways in Santa Monica Canyon, plus another seven in Pacific Palisades. I've found them to be uncrowded, with more gradual slopes, such as the brick-lined public stairs and walkways that are about 100 feet to the right (west) of the 4th Street stairway.

For senior citizens and other walkers who want to get new ocean and mountain views from our wonderful public walkways and staircases, write to P.O. Box 617, Pacific Palisades, Calif. 90272 for a map of our local public walkway systems.

ALEXANDER M. MAN

Pacific Palisades

Man is on the board of directors of the Pacific Palisades Residents Assn. *

One of the loveliest scenic streets in the Los Angeles area has, since the beginning of this century, been Adelaide Drive overlooking Santa Monica Canyon. But now the street has been appropriated not as a scenic corridor but as a public gymnasium and park.

The people described in the recent Times article on the 4th Street steps are totally in the face of anyone who might dare to try to enjoy the scenery of Adelaide Drive, let alone live there.

The mindlessness of so many exercisers was demonstrated recently when a man fell, badly cutting his head, on the steps. The robots going up and down actually were trying to climb over the paramedics working on him so as not to interrupt their "reps." They stopped only when police declared the steps closed.

The Times article included "a few points of etiquette and ritual for the 4th Street Steps." I would add these:

* If you come to exercise on the step, warm up by walking from a parking place several blocks away.

* If you plan a picnic or party, find a beach or real park, not the street or sidewalk of Adelaide Drive.

* A street is designed to permit passage. It is not a place for long conversations in the middle or for lying down to exercise at the edge.

* If you are a personal trainer working with a client, you can be cited for conducting your business without a license (SMMC Section 6.04020).

* Be aware that the acoustics of the canyon make many private conversations (not to mention blaring radios) atop the steps audible inside nearby houses.

* Make a game of finding other good steps in the Los Angeles area, such as in Hollywood and the Palisades. Some are just as long and much less crowded.

JEAN McKAY

Santa Monica

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