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Thursday, December 7, 2006

City Skate Park Proposal Released

posted by on December 7 at 9:00 AM

After almost a year of research, field trips and haggling with irate neighbors, the City’s Skate Park Advisory Committee just released its proposals for the Skatepark Plan last night. Read the full thing here (it’s 44 pages, but there’s lots of pictures). The report lays out locations of 26 skate parks the City should build and makes nine major suggestions for procedure the City should follow.

Topping the list are developing a city-wide criteria for siting skate parks and filling the gaps in the citywide skatepark system. They have some great ideas, I think, like making those kiddie wading pools around the city skateable during the winter and replacing benches in some areas with skate-resistant materials, turning places like Northgate transit center into a mini skatespot.

Just because the Skatepark Advisory Committee proposes these sites, though, doesn’t mean they’ll actually get built. The City currently has no funding allocated for construction or design, so the report identifies “community-funding resources.” And the Parks Department has their own, slightly different proposal it cans the major District skate park at the West Seattle Stadium.

In light of the years of process and lack of hard funding, some people are giving up on working through city channels at all (see Marginal Way or yesterday’s PI article about the River City Skate Park). The Skate Park Advisory Committee itself is working on printing a “cookbook” for getting a skate park built in your neighborhood d.i.y. style, without City process.

There’s a huge public hearing on the skate park proposal next Thursday night (December 14th) at 6:30PM at the Town Hall. NIMBYs, sk8rs, all invited.

Interested in reading more about the proposed locations and seeing the newest map? That, plus a vocab primer below the cut.

First, there are five types of skate sites proposed. One type is a "future park acquisition site”, which are sites that won't be available in the near future but should be kept on the back burner like the Northgate Park and Ride, which might be a possibility within 15 years. These are the other four types:

Skate dots 20 square ft. 1,500 and costing a maximum of $16,000 Skate spots up to 10,000 square feet (or $64,000) which is the size of a tennis court District skate parks up to 30,000 square feet (or $2 million) or roughly two tennis courts Regional skate parks over 30,000 square feet and $2 million

And here's a map of the Advisory Committee's suggested locations:

That's really small and blurry, so click here for an actually readable map.

One of the most important requirements for skatepark planning is that they're equally distributed around the city, so they're accessible to kids without cars who don't want to spend hours on buses. To me, the planning looks a little lopsided in favor of skateparks in South Seattle. Check out the neighborhood tally:

NW: 3 skatedots
NE: 1 Regional, 1 skatespot, 3 proposed
Central West: 2 skatedots
Central East: 4 skatspots, 2 skatedots
SW: 2 district, 3 skatespots, 1 skatedot and one proposed
SE: 2 district and 2 skatespots

Four district skateparks below I-90 and none above... sure, there's the gargantuan regional skate park, but that's rather isolated out in Magnuson Park, whereas the district skate parks are well placed around south neighborhoods (one at West Seattle stadium, High Point Playfield, Rainier Beach Playfield and Genesee Playfield). In exchange, a lot more skatedots in the North, but those could be as small as 20 square feet (one bench next to a trail).

One of the hurdles to building skateparks is acquiring land and that's cheaper and easier to come by in South Seattle than downtown, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, which may help explain the more miniscule skate sites up in those neighborhoods.

But does size even really matter? Not to many street skaters who wouldn't use skate parks anyway. I just talked to some street skaters at the skateshop 35th North on 11th and E Pine who couldn't care less whether Capitol Hill gets skateparks but love the idea of skatedots, where they can legally skate on objects they'd normally be banned from.

RSS icon Comments


Allow me to quote Fnarf from the Cycling post:

"Does the city have any other plans to accomodate other tiny, scofflaw minorities?"

Posted by Jeff | December 7, 2006 9:36 AM

Well, if I'm going to be quoted, at least let me add that I think skateparks are a great idea. This seems like an overly ambitious plan, but it's relatively cheap for what you get, and it's a huge boon to the city. Skaters are cool, and kids need stuff to do that's not prohibited and not excessively organized by their parents every step of the way.

And no, I'm not a skater, and never have been. I've skated one time, on the board of one of the famous Bopo Boys about a million years ago, about twenty feet in total, and fell on my face.

Posted by Fnarf | December 7, 2006 10:07 AM

What happened to DIY?

Posted by wf | December 7, 2006 10:10 AM

Jeff - More kids skateboard now than participate in organized Little League baseball yet how many baseball fields sit empty for 9 months of the year?

According to news reports, almost 50 skateboarders have been killed in the US by automobiles over the last 12 months.

Skateboarding can be practiced year round and skateparks provide a safe contained environment for the activity.

Also, the Marginal Way and River City links don't seem to be working.

Posted by timebomb | December 7, 2006 10:10 AM

OK, I was being a fuckstick and trying to play devil's advocate.

I love the idea of more kids getting into skaiting and the idea of little skate spots dotting our city is an awesome one.

However, painting all cyclists as unlawful scoflaws (as Fnarf did) is akin to saying all skaters are glue-huffing graffitti vandals. Neither is entirely true.

Posted by Jeff | December 7, 2006 10:22 AM

The percentage of cyclists who disobey traffic laws is a hell of a lot higher than the percentage of skaters who huff glue. If I had to guess, I'd say "85% versus 0.1%".

Posted by Fnarf | December 7, 2006 10:30 AM

Just wait, the neighborhood nimbys will start screaming about how skateboarders and graffitti go hand in hand (actually, they already have).

Your argument against cyclists has no basis in fact and is based on your own personal opinion. Just the same as the neighborhood nimby's who are trying to scuttle the Greenlake skatepark over noise concerns.

Get over it.

Posted by Jeff | December 7, 2006 10:54 AM

This is a good idea. Plus, if you have a bunch of parks, it'll spread out the skaters and reduce each park's impact (ie, noise, graffiti, empty Elmer's glue bottle litter, etc.)

Posted by him | December 7, 2006 11:09 AM

Damn whipper-snappers and their "skate parks." In my day we got chased out of the local mini-mart parking for skating, had to huff the propellant out of whip cream cans at work, and masturbated all alone while we wept. Now kids can do it all in one place (well maybe not the masturbating part).

Posted by The_Pope_Of_Chili_Town | December 7, 2006 11:46 AM

Pope: FYI: the fred meijer in ballard sells whippits if you want to climb back on the horse.

Posted by charles | December 7, 2006 3:20 PM

skatepark plan link (first in blog) doesn't work in Firefox.

Looking forward to the one at Gasworks.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 7, 2006 4:41 PM

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