City officials are advising residents to stay home, or at least avoid driving, the day of the Los Angeles Marathon, March 17, when major streets will close and the cost to park downtown will go up.
"As best you can, stay home," Deputy Police Chief Alfonso Venegas told the North of Montana Association on Thursday night.
Up to 24,000 runners are expected to cross the finish line north of the Santa Monica Pier and just as many spectators will crowd along the route, which begins in Santa Monica around mile 23. Runners will head west into Santa Monica from Brentwood on San Vicente Boulevard and continue to Ocean Avenue before finishing at Wilshire Boulevard.
The eastbound lanes of San Vicente and all of Ocean will close at 6 a.m. the day of the race. Some sections may be closed as early as midnight.
"It's going to be really impossible to cross San Vicente that entire day," said the city's assistant finance director Don Patterson.
Other closures include the California Incline; Main Street from Colorado Avenue to Pico Boulevard; Olympic Boulevard from Main to Fourth Street; and Wilshire Boulevard, Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, Broadway and Colorado each from Ocean to Second Street.
Traffic restrictions will also be in place on streets in the heart of downtown, between Seventh Street and Ocean and Wilshire and Colorado.
The closures are scheduled to end at 8 p.m., but will likely be lifted by 5 p.m.
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The cost to park in downtown garages 1-9 will increase to $2 for every 30 minutes, or a $20 flat rate. The Civic Center garage is reserved for runners, but any unreserved spots are a flat $25 before 6 a.m. and $10 after.
To get around, officials are encouraging residents to walk, bike or take the bus.
A free Big Blue Bus shuttle is available to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering rides around downtown and to the bus hub on Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street. All Big Blue Bus services will stop at the hub, except for routes 4 and 9, which will not be in service on race day.
From the bus hub, riders can take the Big Blue Bus Rapid 10 to Union Station, transfer to a Metro bus and catch Big Blue Bus Routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8. A free Metro shuttle will take riders to the Expo line station in Culver City.
Two free bike valets will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bike Center on Second and Colorado and at Washington Avenue and Ocean. The city says the best streets to ride to and from downtown are:
- From the north: Second, Fifth or Seventh streets
- From the south: Main Street
- From the east: Washington, California, Arizona or Ocean Park Boulevard