La Mesa’s ‘secret stairs’ reopen


LA MESA, Calif. – The City of La Mesa has reopened its system of public stairways after shutting them down at the start of the pandemic. 

Known as the “secret stairs,” the sets of public stairways in the Mt. Nebo and Windsor Hills areas ascend 830 feet in elevation, ending on Summit Drive. Originally built to facilitate foot traffic through adjacent neighborhoods, the stairs now are a popular exercise destination. 

Neighbors say, while many use the stairs respectfully when it comes to noise and social distancing, others do not. 

“I had probably 25 people come for an exercise class and it was 5:30 in the morning,” John Dole said. “They were doing jumping jacks right on my front door.”

At the start of the pandemic, Dole said he contacted the city when he saw people not social distancing on the stairs or wearing masks. 

The stairs were shut down in March, briefly reopened, then shut down again, Dole said. 

This week, they are back open. The city posted new signs reminding people to wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, and to not gather near entrances or near neighbors’ homes. 

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