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Monday, December 8, 2008

Wall of Death Artist Says Sculpture Was Designed With Skaters In Mind

Posted by on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 3:35 PM

The artist behind the Wall of Death—a sculpture along the Burke Gilman Trail which had been used as an unofficial skatespot for about a decade before the Seattle Department of Transportation installed an rock barrier last October—says he actually designed the sculpture with skaters in mind.

“We were just looking at people using the trail including cyclists, inline skaters, skateboarders and people with mobility contraptions strapped to their bodies beyond description,” says artist Mowry Baden, 71. “We thought it would be cool to make a ramp come down and bend with the trail so [skaters] could trick on it as they used the trail. We were making a work of art and we thought that we would make it skateable."

Baden says he consulted with skaters when designing the sculpture in 1993 and although the city asked him to design skating “countermeasures,” they were never installed.

Although the sculpture was designed to be skateable, Baden says he’s more concerned about public safety than skater access. “There have been some collisions. That can’t happen again,” he says. “So while it is lamentable that our work has to be modified, it is inevitable that something must be done.
It’s too bad. I regret that.”

Baden says he'll meet with SDOT on December 14th to discuss updating his sculpture. Baden says he wants to install a new barrier, "but good looking."


Comments (16) RSS

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if this is true, then that's a crap design. skaters & cyclists/joggers/walkers should not cross paths.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 8, 2008 at 3:46 PM · Report this
If he's interested in help designing a barrier, I'm available. I'm thinking 3" galvanized steel pipe with a 6" rise, placed about 4 ft up the bank?
Posted by Dougsf on December 8, 2008 at 3:50 PM · Report this
in before 'bobcat sucks' comments...
Posted by bobcat on December 8, 2008 at 3:51 PM · Report this
You don't want people getting hurt at the Wall of Death... Hunh?
Posted by billcat on December 8, 2008 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Why does the city hate all that is fun?
Posted by matt on December 8, 2008 at 4:10 PM · Report this
I killed the wall of death after running over a little girl on my bicycle. But yeah, blame the skaters.
Posted by Mike Hone on December 8, 2008 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Poor skaters. Why is there so much injustice in the world? Why???
Posted by elenchos on December 8, 2008 at 4:27 PM · Report this
poor elenchos - posting about shit he knows nothing about... why????
Posted by Dennis the internet king on December 8, 2008 at 4:32 PM · Report this

See, there I was trying to empathize with the pain skaters feel and you get angry at me. Why should I even reach out like that if that's the thanks I get?
Posted by elenchos on December 8, 2008 at 4:39 PM · Report this
I can't find anywhere on the net what the rules for traveling on the Burke Gilman Trail. Are wheelchairs allowed?
Posted by elswinger on December 8, 2008 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Nothing a little cold rolled steel pry bar (the kind used in construction) and a basic application of lever principles and a mallet to drive it in couldn't solve in under 5 minutes.

If you had the guts.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 8, 2008 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Wait, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Wall of Death originally sit somewhere else then get moved? I distinctly remember some NIMBYism from the early 90's over this thing, wasn't it under I-5 up the hill before? Am I confused?
Posted by Dougsf on December 8, 2008 at 6:24 PM · Report this
no, doug the banks you're thinking of are under Ravenna and I-5 - that spot is still there if you can dodge all the hippie buses blocking the run-up. bring a broom and get your shots up-to-date beforehand.
Posted by bobcat on December 8, 2008 at 6:36 PM · Report this

I can't imagine why they wouldn't be if pedestrians are allowed.
Posted by keshmeshi on December 8, 2008 at 7:48 PM · Report this
FTFA: Baden says he wants to install a new barrier, "but good looking."


"Really really good looking?"

I think Derek Zoolander can help
Posted by bobcat died in a bizarre gasoline fight accident.... on December 8, 2008 at 7:50 PM · Report this
@5: Liability lawsuits.
Posted by Paul Lundgren on December 10, 2008 at 7:10 AM · Report this

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