Skate-proofing Summit Slope Park: Why the Hill’s newest green space has a chain-link fence

Seattle Parks recently announced its committee had settled on a name for the Hill’s latest new green space and p-patch but the department didn’t mention why Summit Slope Park suddenly had a chain-link fence — and a typo-ridden warning sign — on its western edge. The department also didn’t bring up a laundry list of skate-proofing elements planned to be installed in the new park by the end of February. Here’s what’s behind the fence and the $8,000 in new features being added to make the park safer for skaters and a better experience for those who live and work nearby.

Here’s the Summit Slope “skate-proofing work list:

·         Place protective cap on steel edges of the P- Patch areas to reduce the risk of injury if someone were to fall on the edge.

·         Install skate stops placed on the stairway railings to prohibit skateboard use.


·         Fix speed bumps (traffic dots) or some other type of safety device onto the sidewalk approximately 18 inches before the stairs begin to prohibit access to skateboarding on the railings.

·         Put bollards or some other type of safety device at the southwest entry from John Street to the lower tier of the park, which will reduce: 1) the potential of skateboarders building up more speed before using the skate dot, and 2) the risk of injury to pedestrians on the sidewalk.

·         Install a fence along the west side of the skate dot to act as a safety barrier between the skate dot and pedestrians walking along Summit Avenue.

The changes come about following a Seattle Parks safety assessment of Summit Slope and its skate-friendly skatedot feature, a $13,000 curb designed specifically for skateboarders. We don’t have the results of the assessment but from the work list above, it looks like the analysis found some problems.

The request for the safety assessment came from “community members who are opposed to the skate feature,” according to City spokesperson Karen O’Connor. Last fall, CHS reported on the problems arising from skateboard use of the park which had been designed with a special skating feature that could be part of a model for future Seattle parks.

O’Connor tells us funding for the new work at Summit Slope will come from the project budget and from Seattle’s skatepark implementation funds.

As for the typo-filled sign, Parks ordered a replacement as soon as CHS commenters started digging into its text:

A new sign has been ordered, and will be posted as soon as possible. This sign will be taken down today.

Seattle Parks’ own sign shop produces most signs for our parks. Staff in the shop inadvertently manufactured the sign from a draft copy of the text — not the properly edited version.

We are sarry forany confuison. ;-)

Joelle Hammerstad

Seattle Parks and Recreation Communications Office

More change is ahead for Summit Slope as a project to expand the p-patch portion of the park is moving forward. We’ll have more on that soon.

The Unpaving Paradise P-patch portion of the green space has settled in for the winter with some creative planting bed covers. Gardening should be underway when O’Connor says Parks is planning a grand opening celebration for Summit Slope later this spring.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to get involved in the next green space project on Capitol Hill, the group organizing the effort to create a park at Federal and Republican is in high gear and ready for your help. You can learn more on their Facebook page.

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15 thoughts on “Skate-proofing Summit Slope Park: Why the Hill’s newest green space has a chain-link fence

  1. Maybe I’m in the minority, however I couldn’t believe what an impact putting the fence up had on my view of the park. Totally ruined it for me.

  2. I agree. Totally unnecessary fence. Waste of money. Most skateboarders that I have seen will not do any tricks when pedestrians are walking by the park.

    Sometimes we get too worried about safety.

  3. Kill two birds with one stone.

    How about the fat cops who graze at Starbuck’s across the street hang out at the skate park instead of wasting money on a fence?

  4. Then you’d be complaining about cops sitting in the park drinking coffee.

    If all users of the park obeyed the rules, there wouldn’t be any need for this.

  5. What worries me is that the park’s communication department thinks it’s funny that they printed a sign that was full of typos. Hammerstad says, “We are sarry forany confuison. ;-)” So funny! Let’s just keep on laughing while the park system loses more money. The message seems unprofessional.

  6. There’s something wrong about taking a break at work?

    Those of us that work a 9-5, we all take breaks. Cops shouldn’t be any different.

  7. The fence seems pretty innocuous and non-intrusive to me. I don’t think all skateboarders care much about safety issues, and things like this fence (and other planned changes) will make it a safer place for all users of the park.

  8. I think the bigger problem at all parks is the lazy people who don’t pick up their doggies shit. I guess it’s just easier to hassle the kids with skateboards because they may be a bit energetic and to loud for the neighbors and the city uses the excuse of “safety” to get rid of them. I’m 57 years old and walk my dog there everyday and find the people on skateboards to be pretty nice and fun to watch. Our parks are for everybody, skateboarders included.

    BTW lay off the cops they had nothing to do with this argument!

  9. I live across the street and just wanted a [correctly spelled] sign with fair use rules [no fence!] and a trash can near the skate area. I still pick up trash every time I walk by because there is no trash can anywhere near the skate feature, and people hang out there more than any other part of the park.