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Running Around the LA Marathon:

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This weekend, Santa Monica will host the finish of the LA Marathon. This will add 25,000 runners, their friends, families, and other attendees to the regular influx that Santa Monica sees of visitors and tourists on a regular weekend (not to mention the congestion of those who live here).

This is a good boon for our local economy, but the anticipate surge created challenges to manage the massive traffic challenges. Since the new “Stadium to the Sea” course was approved in November 2009, staff has been working with LA Marathon organizers to develop a comprehensive parking and transportation management plan for the event. Here are some important closures, detours and directions to visitors and residents alike:


The following policies are in effect for all city-owned lots and structures on Sunday, March 21:

Midnight – 6 a.m.

Reserved parking for race participants only in the Civic Center, Downtown Structures 3, 5 and 7 (West side of 4th Street between Colorado and Arizona Ave.); and South Beach Lots 4 and 5 (2030 Ocean Avenue; 2600 Barnard Way). All other city-owned lots and structures are closed. Parking at on-street meters will be subject to normal regulations.

6 a.m. – 12 p.m.

All lots and structures will be open, vehicles entering before noon will pay a $10 flat rate.

After 12 p.m.

All city-owned parking facilities return to normal Sunday rates.

No free Main Street Farmer’s Market parking in the beach lots on March 21.

In addition to city-owned facilities and meters in the streets, private parking operators have committed over 2,000 spaces and the L.A. Marathon continues to work with additional private parking facility owners. It is important to keep in mind that Santa Monica has numerous preferential parking zones, which set time limits or prohibit parking in residential neighborhoods.

Street Closures

Be aware that no traffic will be allowed to enter or cross the race course in Santa Monica from between 5 and 6 a.m. and will continue until police and public safety officials reopen the streets – which is expected to be completely reopened by 3 p.m., at the sole discretion of the Santa Monica Police Department. Ocean Avenue may be closed near the finish line until 5-6 p.m.

•The westbound lanes of San Vicente Boulevard will be OPEN.

•The eastbound lanes of San Vicente Boulevard will be CLOSED.

•Ocean Avenue will be CLOSED to all vehicle travel between San Vicente Boulevard and Colorado Avenue.

*Northbound traffic will be allowed on Ocean Avenue from Pico Boulevard to Colorado Avenue; advanced signage will be installed to notify motorists of the roadway closure at Colorado Avenue.

•Main Street will be closed between Pico and Colorado Avenue during the morning pre-event loading period and until Santa Monica Police authorize a re-opening. After that, the west side of Main Street between City Hall and the RAND building is a designated runner pick-up area – no parking or standing at any time will be allowed.

•The California Incline will be CLOSED.

The traffic control plan includes advanced signage along the race course to notify people of the planned roadway closure and provides for the deployment of detour signage to direct vehicles to available routes to bypass the race course. The City has called certain staff in to work for the day of the event to address any technical issues that may arise related to traffic signal operations

Public Transportation Changes

This year’s course will detour Big Blue Bus Lines 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 from start of service until around 3 p.m. The Tide Ride will be out of service for the day. MTA lines will also be affected. Both will maintain routes/schedules as close to normal as possible. All buses will only run as far west as 4th St., so plan to catch or disembark there. If traffic or safety officers need to block off downtown, buses will operate along 11th St. instead.

Since finish line festivities are being held at the beach, expect traffic delays and please allow extra time for completing your trips. Specific route detours and stop closures coming will be posted on the Big Blue Bus Web site.

BBB’s Customer Service line will be open on race day for people who have questions at (310) 451-5444. For more information, visit www.bigbluebus.com; for live service updates on race day, visit www.smgov.net/lamarathon.

Overall Traffic

A coordinated effort by the City of Santa Monica will continue to inform the community about street closures, updates on parking availability and public transportation changes during the race.

Tune to AM1680 (KRSM) in Santa Monica to hear the latest parking and traffic updates. KRSM is the non-commercial automated traffic information radio station for the City of Santa Monica. The station operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each broadcast is limited to eight minutes in length and repeats in a continuous loop.

This information will also be made available on the City of Santa Monica’s web site, www.smgov.net/lamarathon and on CityTV (cable channel 16) during the race.

Because of all these challenges to vehicular use, the City encourages residents and visitors to walk, bike or take public transportation to view the race. With family and friends of 25,000 runners and spectators joining regular Sunday crowds, parking in the Downtown area will be extremely challenging at different points during the day.

The Finish Line Beach Party is incentivizing attendees to bike with free Bike Valet parking provided at two locations: The 1550 Beach Lot and on Arizona Avenue just east of Ocean Avenue from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some businesses and residents along the course may be impacted during the race by the loss of on-street parking during the race and/or the closure of driveways during the event. The traffic control plans aimed to provide alternative access for businesses and residences along the course, when possible.

The City is working with the marathon organizers to ensure that appropriate signage is placed well in advance of the race route designating streets for “Local Access Only.” Additional signage will be placed throughout the City directing spectators and participants towards the Downtown area. Based on the experience of previous marathons, it is expected that the major focal point for spectators will occur near the finish line.


Although it is too late to run in the event if you are not already registered, the LA Marathon is a total community effort, and runners need support and encouragement at every mile. Residents are welcome to visit the race route and cheer on the runners. For those who’d like to a little more than cheer, there are many volunteer positions available to help with the pre-race dinner, water stations, finish line activities, clothing check and more. Visit the LA Marathon Web site for more information.

Santa Monica residents, running or not, are welcome at the Finish Line Beach Party in the parking lot north of the Santa Monica Pier. Join us to celebrate the runners and the considerable accomplishment that comes with completing the 26.2-mile race.

There will be a number of exhibitors, live music and other interactive exhibits for fans of all ages. Come early to watch the Marathon on our big screen video board and be there to meet friends and family by the finish line.


Santa Monica Mirrorchris@smmirror.com

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