KTLA Shocked at Suggestion to Bike or Take Transit to Marathon Finish

About half way through the above video, KTLA’s Eric Spillman talks to the L.A. Marathon’s Peter Abraham about the transportation plan for people wishing to be at the end of the marathon.  Under KTLA’s banner of "Parking Problems," Abraham rationally explains that you should probably bike (free bike valet!) or take transit to the end of the race.  That’s when things go off the tracks if you will.

Spillman (panicked): But there will be enough parking, theoretically.

Abraham (bemused): Theoretically, there is…

A couple of moments later, Spillman and the anchors have the following discussion

Anchor Woman: …I am a little concerned about one suggestion.  If you’re going to run in the marathon, ride your bike there?  Isn’t it enough that you’re going to be running 26.2 miles?

Anchor Man (pumping his arms and looking ridiculous): YOU GOTTA GET WARMED UP!

Spillman: No, no, no, no, no.  Mostly it’s about the spectators.  You can park a few blocks away, from the finish here; which is Ocean Ave. and Santa Monica Boulevard here in Santa Monica.  Then, you can get on your bike and ride here and avoid a lot of parking problems.

So there you have it…don’t worry about biking too far if you want to enjoy the festivities at the end of the L.A. Marathon.  Just drive until you see car parking then get out and bike the rest of they way.  Thanks, KTLA, for reminding me of the state of transportation discussions on L.A.’s television news.

  • After seeing my husband off on the 5 am shuttle, I’m going to be running to San Vicente and Burlingame to man a support station. Then, when my husband arrives at the station, I”m going to be walking with him back to the finish.

    Last year, I rode part of the bike tour, then rode to the support station with 2 friends on our folding bikes. But, this year, I don’t want to push my bike while walking with my husband, so decided running was the better option.

    I think the bike valet parking is a great idea and know several people who live in the Santa Monica area who will most likely use it.

  • Ha! My friend Mike Davies, who ran (and ended up winning!) the Pasadena marathon as a training run for the LA marathon, took metro and rode his bike here from Santa Monica to do it.

  • Donna Starks

    Can’t belive there isn’t even paid transportation along the LA Marathon route. I live in OC. My niece has been training for her 1st marathon. I would like to support her but can not drive and bike to the finish line. Parking sounds like a nightmare. Maybe the route should be re-evaluated so supporters can be there.

  • Donna Starks

    FYI to my previous comment. I would be more than willing to pay for transportation throughout the race to the finish line.

  • Not to say the obvious, but if you charged the right price for parking, there would be exactly enough for the people willing to pay for it…

    We allocate our parking very inefficiently, so your parking space on the day of the marathon may be occupied by a broke-down car that’s been parked for weeks, etc.

    Also, I can practically guarantee that you will find parking within a mile of the finish line. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a space and walk a little bit. I’m glad this is the situation rather than having a Disneyland sized parking lot conveniently waiting in Santa Monica, cause, well, then Santa Monica wouldn’t quite have the same charm.

  • This LA marathon route is going to be a disaster in the making. The Santa Monica Freeway is going to be a parking lot in both directions. There will be no special lanes for transit, save for one on La Cienega that I feel will probably be of dubious merit. Transit to the end of the route is likely going to be late. While it might make sense to do use this route once the Subway to the Sea is built, it makes no sense now. Hopefully people will realize how stupid this is and never do it again.

  • Spokker

    “This LA marathon route is going to be a disaster in the making. ”

    So sleep in on Sunday? Who cares?

  • @Calwatch — You obviously never ran the old Universal City-to-downtown-by-way-of-Skid-Row route. Now that is a route that was “stupid” and they should “never do it again.”

    Most of the runners I know this year are excited about the route because:

    1) It goes towards the ocean, so instead of getting hotter, it will be getting cooler.
    2) Most train along the last 5 miles of this course, so are very familiar with it.

    I really don’t have a lot of sympathy with folks who get upset about it snarling up traffic. Not since I volunteered at the Malibu Triathlon holding back traffic that wanted to run down cyclists on the bicycle portion of the race. When I held one guy back from crossing the course and suggested that he didn’t want to kill any cyclists, he said, yes, he did. Quite seriously. No sympathy since then. No place, no being-late-for-work is worth killing someone.

  • Amen to Michele Chavez. I walk marathons, and my first was the LA Marathon two years ago. I walked a very slow 8:30 and the last half was horrible through the industrial, mostly closed parts of LA. Last year was better, but this year promises to be amazingly fun and exciting. We are going to have tons of spectators and volunteers excited to have their neighborhoods highlighted for the first time. It’s my fiancee’s 40th birthday, and we’ll have a great time and try to finish in 7:00 even.

    People that focus on snarled traffic forget that Angelenos deal with snarled traffic all the time as it is. It’s just that this time, there’s a positive reason for the snarled traffic.

    And I think that any time you can close down streets in LA, you plant seeds in people’s minds. Seeing big streets closed down to cars is powerful stuff. People living along these major routes will revel in the difference waking up to runners and walkers and spectators, not cars. This will make people more likely to embrace things like traffic calming and bike boulevards, etc….

  • I showed up at the finish line at about 12 noon to meet a friend who was running her first marathon. We drove and parked about a mile away from the finish line with absolutely no problems. We walked through a bunch of trafficky blocks, and over the 10, which was backed up.

    In the end, parking wasn’t very difficult.

    There was A LOT of traffic, with 25,000 runners trying to go home. I just want to add a footnote to Yoshiyahu’s comment that “this time, there’s a positive reason for the snarled traffic.” We should note that most traffic has a positive reason. Rush-hour traffic? It means that people are employed. Traffic generally means that people have places to go and things to do, which is good. Think about places that don’t have traffic, like Fargo, North Dakota, and Detroit, Michigan. We wouldn’t want LA to look like those places. The most congested cities are the most vibrant and economically thriving cities. New York is congested. Paris is congested. Los Angeles… is congested.

    I like that the marathon provides a nice example of the underlying causes of congestion.

  • @Herbie – while I think what you wrote is absolutely true, I don’t think it’s going to win any followers outside the choir.

  • @Joe – Hmm. I actually thought that writing that “congestion is an annoying consequence of dense, vibrant cities” would buck the conventional wisdom of the streetsblog crowd. (As opposed to alienating people outside our choir). It seems like a common argument here is that we have congestion because we haven’t developed sufficient alternatives to the car. Many people who read and post here argue that transit and bike lanes are a congestion solution. I obviously support transit and bike lanes, but I don’t think they are a congestion solution. (Ahh!)

    Choir member or not, I just want to shift the discussion about congestion a bit. Curing congestion is always the policy goal people seem to push for. But the only known solutions we have for congestion are the Fargo, North Dakota model. (and pricing.) The focus on congestion causes us to try to build our way out of it so that no amount of capacity is ever enough. I feel similarly about parking. As long as it’s free, no amount of parking will ever be ”enough.”

  • Joseph E

    Detroit actually has lots of traffic on the freeways, according the last ranking on Infrastructurist; Detroit drivers waste 50 hours per year in traffic, worse than 10 years ago.


    Detroit city has lost population, but the metro area suburbs were still growing until the current recession. Certainly, the city streets are not so crowded in most of Detroit, but it is wrong to think that a poor economy will get rid of traffic.

    Notice that New York has less time lost in traffic delays than every city except Seattle, Chicago and Boston. The freeway-oriented cities (Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit) have worse traffic congestion.

  • Lou James

    I think the subject matter is that there should be a shuttle or excursion available to those that would want to pay to stop multiple times through the marathon. Many of us would pay to stop @ 5 mile increments. Some of us would like the option and don’t want to chance parking….

  • at the 2010 LA marathon, i biked to the shuttle area (which was finish-line adjacent), hopped on the shuttle to dodger stadium, ran 26.2 miles to the finish line, then biked back home — saving me from having to deal with paying for parking and waiting in line to get in and out of parking structures (not to mention traffic getting to/from said structures). honestly, the hardest part of my commute was trying to figure out where to lock up my bike so that it would still be there when i finished. when i easily rode past all the cars stuck in traffic gridlock, i knew i had done the right thing.

    and yes, i plan to do the exact same thing for the 2011 LA marathon.

  • Bob Davis

    And those of us who live in the San Gabriel Valley can just do our respective “own things” without worrying about the Marathon. A radio station I used to listen to seemed to be “run by runners”, because they’d have items about the Marathon every ten minutes until race day, then they had one of their staff members running the course. Those of us who aren’t interested in running 26+ miles were quite happy when the race had come and gone. Don’t forget the Greek who ran the first Marathon–he keeled over dead at the finish.

  • I just noticed this thread, but on the day of the marathon I took the 4 bus on a detoured route (mostly along Olympic) from the Vermont Red Line station to Santa Monica Place, pretty much the ideal location for watching the end of the race. I don’t think this was well-publicized but it worked really well and was super fast.


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