Seattle Parks officials say that because of complaints about noise, litter and tagging related to the skatedot feature in the new Summit/John park, they are taking immediate steps to restrict skateboarding in the open space and looking for “a long term solution.”
We first reported on problems with skateboarders at the park in late September before construction on the space was completed. At the October meeting of the Skate Park Advisory Committee, the members heard reports of excessive noise, littering and tagging occurring at the park. One man who said he lives near the park, told the committee he had posted videos of the skateboarders’ activities on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/summitandjohn. While many of the videos don’t show clear illegal activity there are a few like the one embedded below that are a pretty clear illustration of exactly what was not intended use for the park’s infrastructure. (Thanks to West Seattle Blog for providing information for this post.)
In an e-mail that is being sent to people who have sent the parks department complaints about the issues, officials list measures they are taking to curb the problems including adding blocks to the park’s rails (“which were not intended for skateboard use,” the e-mail notes) and installing a sign documenting rules and hours for the area. Here is a copy of the e-mail sent to CHS:
Seattle Parks has received many individual complaints in relation to the skateboard feature and other features used by skateboarders installed at John and Summit Park, recently opened on October 1st.
The skatedot feature was advocated for though the public involvement process during the design phase of the project. A skatedot is a singular skate feature within an overall park and these features are included in the Citywide Skatepark Plan. http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/Skatepark.htm
In response to the complaints Parks has received we are planning to make some modifications in order to improve pedestrian safety at the park.
* Skate stoppers will be installed on the stairway rails (which were not intended for skateboard use).
* Two bollards will be installed at the South West plaza entry from John St. to make the approach to the skatedot safer for all park users and pedestrians
* A sign with a skateboarding code of conduct and hours will be installed.
Parks anticipates that these additions will help slow down the skate traffic in the overall site, allowing pedestrians to safely use the park.
We are also in the process of reaching out to the Parks Rangers and SPD for their feedback and assistance with the issue.
A trash can was installed on October 7.
Parks will continue to review your concerns and monitor the use of the park and we are coordinating with the Skate Park Advisory Council (SPAC) and other City officials to develop a long term solution.
Rick Nishi, a Parks Levy Manager responsible for the Summit/John work, confirmed for CHS that the new features were not part of the original Summit/John plan and will cost the department extra beyond the park’s budget to install. Nishi said he expects the elements to cost a few thousand dollars but won’t have an exact number until later this month.
Summit/John’s skatedot feature is a small “skateable” element on the downslope, western side of the park. It’s basically a curb — a really good curb, designed for skateboard use. Local community groups organized to raise about $50,000 to build the feature. UPDATE: Parks contacted us to clarify that the skatedot feature was scaled back because of budget issues and that the actual price tag on the current feature was $12,900.
Hi, in your recent post you said that the skatedot feature cost $50,000. Actually it cost $12,900. $50,000 was the cost estimate from the design consultant, but that feature was dropped it from the bid since we couldn’t afford it. Then, because the construction bid was low, Parks submitted a modification proposal for a skatedot and paid the $12,000 out of project contingency funds (built into the budget for every capital project).
We’ve reached out to the man who attended the skate committee meeting and posted the videos to YouTube to ask him about the situation. We’re also checking in with Matthew Lee Johnston of Seattleskateparks.org to get more on his take on the situation and the steps being taken by Seattle Parks. He dissected some of the video footage uploaded to YouTube in this post. “It will be interesting to see how this plays out,” he wrote in early October. “We certainly want to build more integrated skatedots into city parks, and what happens here will definitely inform how Seattle Parks makes decisions in the future. Pretty soon it will be raining all the time, the noise will die down, and these neighbors will have to find something else to write the City Council about.”