View video of the skatedot in use
The skateboard feature at the center of months of debate and thousands of dollars in safety and signage upgrades at Summit Slope Park should stay, the Seattle Parks Board voted last week. The recommendation follows weeks of public feedback after some neighbors living in the area had continued to complain that safety features added to the park did nothing to quell unsuitable noise levels for a residential area. Here are details from last week’s vote posted by the Seattle Skateparks Web site:
In its May 26th meeting, following a very in-depth discussion, the Board of Park Commissioners voted 4-3 to support the staff recommendation to keep the Summit Slope skatedot!
Part 1 – http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=5591146 (discussion begins at 30:00)
This was a very, very close vote, with age discrimination playing a huge role in the decision making process. In almost all references to skaters, they are referred to as “kids.” At one point, there is even a suggestion to enclose the entire skatedot in a glass box and make it available only to children with parental supervision! Board member Jordan Keith really does a great job of speaking truth to power at 79:29 in Part 1:
“There’s no protections for age unless you’re 41 or older. When you’re younger, you get a lot less voice and a lot less say, and a lot less clout in what activities you might want to do, and what benefits there are from them. And it’s a sport that by and large, it’s much younger people that do that. And by and large, because I work with them people, I’m very aware of the fact that, generally speaking, people are annoyed by those people. And it’s a problem. And there’s no protection for that.”
Board member Jackie Ramels also noted that, in official correspondence to the Park Board, 41 people supported this skatedot, and 17 opposed it. These are compelling numbers.
The board’s vote is only a recommendation to acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams who must now decide on a final resolution to the issues around the skatedot. We have e-mail out to Parks and will update when we can tell you more about what happens next with the process. UPDATE: Williams is on vacation this week so might have much to report from Parks on this for a few days.
UPDATE x2: The Parks Board also passed a motion that recommends Parks creates a working group to examine the Summit Slope skatedot issues in more depth. Parks says this group’s recommendations will be the basis for the superintendent’s final decision on the feature.
For the past month, Seattle Parks has been asking for public feedback on the skatedot feature. In one mid-May meeting, the board heard from people on both sides of the debate. On one hand, some people who lived near the skateboarding feature were unhappy to have to put up with what they said was an unacceptably loud — and constant — source of noise. On the other, skaters argued that the process had been followed and that the feature was one of the few examples of in-city infrastructure designed specifically for legal skateboarding.