By Tony Rizzo
As a resident of West Hollywood, above and below Sunset Blvd., for over 50 years, I have had to deal with The L.A. Marathon every year. Almost 25 years ago I moved to Sherbourne Drive above Sunset and have had to deal with Sunset Blvd. Street closures every year because of the marathon and on Halloween and Gay Pride days that close Santa Monica Blvd and send all the traffic to Sunset Blvd.
In past years I chose to stay home because Sherbourne and Horn are closed at Sunset Blvd. until 3 or 4 in the afternoon and we’re not allowed to drive our cars out of our building garages, making us all virtual prisoners. This weekend I perused the pamphlet the City Of West Hollywood sent me. It wasn’t easy to navigate because they were vague on exactly when street closures would be but I concluded the streets were being closed between 6 and 6:30 a.m.
I didn’t sleep well because I was worried something could still go wrong. I rose at 5 a.m., dressed, had my coffee and headed to the street, which was still dark and cold. When I got to Sunset on Sherbourne, at 5:50 I saw the barricades were already in place and a guard was posted. I said to the guard “It’s not even 6 a.m. and the street is already closed?” he shook his head.
“But, I continued “My pamphlet from West Hollywood said the streets wouldn’t be closed until 6:30, yet you’ve closed them already.” He said, “They decided to add a bike race and start earlier so we were told to close the streets.” “You Mean,” I continued, “If I tried to drive my car out of my building now you wouldn’t let me?” “That’s right,” he said, “The street is closed to cars.”
Lucky for me, to make sure, to avoid street closures, I parked my car the night before below Sunset and Holloway as I was headed for Palm Springs. As I walked 3 blocks to my car I thought to myself… “Well, West Hollywood residents have less rights than a person who pays an entrance fee for the marathon. Shame on you City Council members for not looking out for residents and the people who voted you into office.