Thursday, October 07, 2010

The fine can be up to $600 for jogging

Kevin McBride knows there are 208 steps on the staircase adjacent to the sand dune at the city’s Sand Dune Park.

He also knows he can be fined up to $600 for jogging on them.

In August, the Manhattan Beach resident was cited a misdemeanor and fined $433 — his fine was reduced in court — for jogging on one of several trails connecting the park’s various stairways.

“I live nine houses away from the park and I had no idea a ticket for this is actually $600,” said McBride, who has worked out at the park for the last three years. “I just got married two months ago. The last thing I need is to be paying this much for jogging. This amount of money is ridiculous and excessive.”

In 2002, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting running or jogging on the stairs and connecting trails.

“The running and congestion on the stairs was a safety concern and also the stairs were becoming a destination point for workouts,” said Manhattan Beach Director of Parks and Recreation Richard Gill about why the ordinance was adopted.

Park enforcement was increased after the controversial sand dune was closed last year due to neighbor complaints of excessive use and the accompanying noise. A series of meetings followed to determine whether the dune would be reopened and, if so, how traffic could be minimized.

“It came to light last year when we went through many meetings about the park that the stairs are also used for exercise,” Gill said. “The residents were saying the stairs are as much of a destination spot as the dune.”

Prior to the dune closing, park rangers and community service officers frequented the park once or twice a day, Gill said. After its reopening, city officials with the authority to give citations were assigned there at all times.

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