Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Skatepark development resource

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22

    Skatepark development resource

    I hate to pitch on my very first post but when I came across Cyburbia in my internet travels I knew I was at the right place.

    We operate a non-profit organization called Skaters for Public Skateparks. www.skatersforpublicskateparks.org

    At SPS you can find lots of great information about skatepark planning, design, and management. There are tips on siting, metrics for calculating how many skaters your new skatepark will need to provide service for (and thereby how large the facility should be), progressive concepts on mapping out whole community-wide skatepark systems, plus lots more.

    Like Cyburbia, the forums are where most of the action is taking place. There you can get articulate feedback from experienced skateboarders. There are discussions about what types of designs service what types of user groups...and with that you can tailor your new skatepark to attract the right balance of users...not just a bunch of rowdy kids (without a skateboard in sight).

    How can skateparks prevent graffiti? Is concrete better than prefabricated structures? Will your insurance go up? What adjacent uses go well with skateboarding? What kind of land do I need and how big should it be? We've spent years hashing this stuff out!

    The fine folks at SPS are regionally diverse. There's probably a contributor somewhere near you if you prefer face time. If you just want a few good webpages, check out the Skatepark Process and the Forums. If you prefer print, that's cool...we've got a book called the Public Skatepark Development Guide. You can find out more about that at www.skateparkguide.org.

    It's all legitimate...the people behind SPS are 100% volunteers, professionals by day, skaters by late afternoon. And, the best part, it's all free...the information, the book (you pay shipping), our time. We are in it to see more communities make good decisions when it comes to skateboarding terrain.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    America's Dairyland
    Posts
    73
    your website is visually appealing, well organized and appears to provide a lot of useful information.
    thanks for calling our attention to this resource.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22
    The pleasure is ours. We're a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing skatepark information and raising skateboarding awareness. This seems like the kind of community that could provide a lot of wisdom about what your needs are as community planners and developers. We're eager to hear your observations (and concerns) about skateboarding and skate-spaces.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,662
    I know of this resource. They only fell short of calling our moms bad names. And, mods, I'm being fully serious. They came to our Counil meeting and did this in a public forum. Maybe it was a local group, but control your people.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22
    I have absolutely no idea what you're referring to, Habanero. Is this worth dignifying with a response or are you being facetious?
    Last edited by Peter Whitley; 13 Jul 2007 at 10:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Moderator note:

    Peter Whitley, thank you for self-editing your reply. I appreciate a "cooler head" prevailing.

    habanero perhaps you could be a little more specific as to the dust up you mentioned in your post so that we can get a discussion going about access, accommodation and regulation for 'boarders in our cities. A civil discussion, of course.

    Carry on. ~Gedunker
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,662
    Sure Gedunker, in the Austin area the local reps for the non-profit mentioned are quite vocal. Which is great, but there are other ways of working with planners and parks departments besides petitioning for a planner to be let go or to mock plans for skate parks that fit into budgets and are a compromise. I fully understand skaters knowing what they want but I think the tactics the local group assoicated with this resource used to try to state their point were a little extreme. In one case the budget wouldn't allow for that much and one idea was for a modular setup and the associated local group came out in droves against the plan (and I'm all for participation) but the discussion got ugly and heated in front of Council and resulted in name calling. IMO, planning doesn't need to be so angry.

    and my was left out of my previous post.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22
    I'm not familiar with your skatepark project or the way that you managed the process. When you say that there are "other ways" of working with planners, what do you mean specifically? From your description it sounds like the advocates did exactly what the process was designed for: they communicated their needs. Perhaps they felt that their needs were not being heard or weighed appropriately. Do you suppose that was a factor or was it something else?

    Perhaps there are other things the Austin parks department could have done so that the local advocates would not have needed to approach City Council.

    If the budget didn't allow to meet your local skateboarder's needs, what other options were being discussed besides wood or steel ramps?

    Had their been regular meetings prior to the City Council meeting (where things got ugly) regarding the option of modular? How did your skatepark committee react to that suggestion in committee?

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Orange, VA
    Posts
    9
    It is a hard fight for most adult skateboarders, let alone young skateboarders to get across how to build a successful skatepark that will stand the test of time. Successful to me means, built to withstand the constant pounding given to skateparks, built as to not waste taxpayers money and the advocates, and administartors time. Modular skateparks are akin to building a boat from paper. It will only last as long as the materials used for construction. Understand that these advocates spend years advocating, donating, and doing there best to educate planners, and other city administartors on how to best make a skatepark happen. I sit on the Board of Directors at Skaters for Public Skateparks, and I as well as my peers pride ourselves on knowing how to make skateparks happen so not to waste money, and it gets very frustrating when inferior products are choosen because of a great sales pitch from some playground company. I am not sure who would be using the SPS name in Austin whilst they tear Council a new one, but know that we don't condone that kind of behavior, nor will we ever. Austin has really stepped up over the last couple of years and has produced quality progressive recreation opportunities for their citizens, and we applaud their efforts. Habanero, can you elaborate as to who this group was, so that we can handle any potential ill will. We are a proffesional organization, and we intend on furthering that by fostering quality dialogue, and a healthy working relationship with all of those in a position of planning, administration etc. I appreciate your candor Habanero, and I hope that in the future you can provide details rather than just slamming a quality organization with many successes to their credit, and endorsements from Local Governments from Coast to Coast. It is our responsibility to help folks like yourself make solid plans for a skatepark that will serve generations and become a community success story.

    Best Regards,
    John S Leizear
    Skaters for Public Skateparks
    (540) 219-4096
    john.leizear@skatersforpublicskateparks.org

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    1
    Hello Everybody,

    I would like to introduce myself. My name is Carter Dennis and I am out of San Antonio, TX. I am the Regional Director for Skaters for Public Skateparks and work with cities all over Texas in getting skate parks developed. I have worked with city planners and landscape architects in siting, designing and maintaining public skate parks for the past nine years.

    This website is a great resource and a very interesting read. Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with which member of our organization Habanero is referring to. I have worked with Round Rock and San Marcos in getting their skate parks developed, and do not recall a city meeting which resulted in name calling. Both Round Rock and San Marcos listened to the skaters and could not have been more cooperative. San Marcos opened their skate park on June 2nd, and Round Rock will open their skate park this Friday. This will be a huge accomplishment for the skateboarding community and the City of Round Rock.

    If Habanero could elaborate a little more on the situation I would greatly appreciate it. Also if you are a city planner or landscape architect working on a skate park project in the Texas area I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your time.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by Habanero View post
    I know of this resource. They only fell short of calling our moms bad names. And, mods, I'm being fully serious. They came to our Counil meeting and did this in a public forum. Maybe it was a local group, but control your people.
    Ouch, my ears were burning!


    Habanero,

    I live in Austin and am currently co-director of the Austin Public Skatepark Action Committee and until last year was an SPS Regional Director. I have spoken at many city council and public input meetings in support of getting skateparks built. I have never seen or exhibited the behavior you are describing in these posts.

    You're right. There are many ways of getting public skate terrain built within limited city budgets. My local advocacy organization is preparing to build a concrete mini-ramp in a public park using volunteer labor and approximately $3,000 in money we've raised through donations. The project is in the city permitting process as I'm typing this.

    there are other ways of working with planners and parks departments besides petitioning for a planner to be let go
    No member of APSAC or SPS has waged such a petition. Please provide details on what project you are referring to. APSAC enjoys a very positive relationship with Austin PARD as well as the Austin City Council. I think you would be challenged to find an individual involved in park planning who would describe APSAC in the way that you have.

    Appreciatively,

    Seth Johnson

  12. #12
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,216
    OK, I'm feeling compelled to defend Hab...

    I think what you have going on is some people in the area that are claiming affiliation with you in order to bolster their profiles while forwarding an agenda/approach very different from your usual way of doing things. Its not all that unusual for someone gunning for revenge against a city staff to use a reputable group's coattails to forward his/her vendetta. For anyone familiar with the political environment of Austin (particularly neighborhood planning), this should not come as much of a surprise. From the sound of what you said, a city council probably didn't buy into what the posers (oh yeah, this planner is dropping the skater lingo) were saying, but it left a very sour taste with the city staff. We tend not to like it when we are personally targetted by someone, whether they are a legit member of the organization or not.

    I have no doubt that what Hab said really occurred. I know her personally and she is not one to take pot shots at an advocacy group, particularly one that represents a segment of society often ostracized or described as a "problem gorup". I think it might be worthwhile to contact some of your recent skatepark committees and planning staffs to see if you can get any detail information and smooth over any rough edges that might be there.


    Back to the topic at hand a little more:
    For the record, modular really isn't a good idea for outdoor skateparks. It'll do OK indoors, but usually doesn't handle the elements too well outdoors and will have ongoing maintenance issues that are sure to dwarf whatever initial cost savings there were in avoiding concrete.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally posted by Habanero View post
    Sure Gedunker, in the Austin area the local reps for the non-profit mentioned are quite vocal. Which is great, but there are other ways of working with planners and parks departments besides petitioning for a planner to be let go or to mock plans for skate parks that fit into budgets and are a compromise. I fully understand skaters knowing what they want but I think the tactics the local group associated with this resource used to try to state their point were a little extreme. In one case the budget wouldn't allow for that much and one idea was for a modular setup and the associated local group came out in droves against the plan (and I'm all for participation) but the discussion got ugly and heated in front of Council and resulted in name calling. IMO, planning doesn't need to be so angry.
    As an SPS member living in Seattle, I'm not sure what's happening in Austin, but I can certainly empathize with the pitfalls of a situation where the public stakeholders and skateholders are unable to speak with a unified voice during the planning process for a skatepark. We've certainly become a bit militant at times in this neck of the woods, especially during the early phases of campaigns where uninformed people with certain prejudices about skateboarders don't want a skatepark at all. But as the process moves forward and proper community outreach is conducted, I have also found during the last three years of my own local advocacy that well-reasoned compromise generally occurs at the end of the day. This type of passion for well-designed and fully integrated public space is not unique to skateparks or skateboarders, but there seems to be something about this topic that makes a stronger impression on the nonskating public than, say, a P-patch or playground project.

    In terms of the prefab/modular debate noted above: When dealing with the often complex and technical subjects of skatepark siting, design, and construction, much frustration can result when classic mistakes are made over and over again by cities throughout the United States. With limited public dollars, equally limited volunteer time and energy to advocate for successful skateparks, and virtually unlimited marketing resources available to the companies that manufacture them, I believe much of the passion against prefab/modular skateparks is well-founded and based on a proven track record of poor performance. Pre-built, generic skate ramps built by playground equipment companies are simply not of the same lasting quality as a well-planned and well-built concrete skatepark, period. Pre-built skateparks are not a good long-term investment of public dollars, and do not create the same kind of public space for skateboarders as a concrete park.

    Some additional resources to consider are available here:
    http://www.spsdev.org/v1_content/pro...of_modular.pdf
    http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/Skatepark.htm
    http://www.parents4sk8parks.org/Checklist.html

    Feel free to contact me if there is any additional information I can provide, and good luck planning those skatepark projects! They are important public spaces for our kids and should be done right the first time.

    Scott Shinn
    Director, Parents for Skateparks
    Core Contributor, Skaters for Public Skateparks
    Secretary, Seattle Parks Skatepark Advisory Committee

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,515
    Blog entries
    3
    Moderator note:
    Fixed the links in the previous post. To prevent spam, messages including URLs posted by new users are sent to a moderation queue. Since the links are on-topic and aren't spammy, I approved the message.


    That being said, some unsolicited advice for the skater crowd: also have a look at what dog park advocates are doing to promote their play areas. Dog parks face many of the same issues as skate parks: NIMBYism; concern about liability; cost of fencing, groundcover, water and public furniture; the precedent it may set for more nontraditional active recreational uses encroaching onto previously passive parkland (dog parks are usually much larger than skateparks), and so on. Dog park advocates tend to be very well-organized, they often form partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations, and they're non-confrontational.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22
    Interesting comparison, Dan. While I fully agree that as adult skatepark advocates we have our hands full with an inexperienced and sometimes immature constituency, we also recognize that it's not uncommon for municipalities to require community voices for these capital improvements to become reality.

    This requirement can be a real problem for skateboarders. In many (if not most) communities, skateboarding in public spaces is not only frowned upon but illegal. Skateboarders are routinely pushed from spot to spot by security guards and police. This routine has literally been repeating itself for years and years. As a result there is a deep alienation to mainstream process in skateboarding culture.

    I'm not saying that it's right or wrong. It's just there and a result of factors that we, as a society, put into place. Who is to blame? Nobody. But we should recognize it.

    I'm not asking that cities demonstrate a greater patience for skateboarders than anyone else, nor am I apologizing for skaters' behavior (for better or worse), but it should be recognized that skaters have been marginalized and ostracized for years.

    Dog owners do not carry this stigma. Dog PARKS might have their burdens...but the difference between dog owners and skateboarders is that in many cases it is the skateboarders themselves that are unwanted. People who own dogs do not ellicit the same reactions we often see by people faced with skateboarders. Habenero's response illuminates this stereotype perfectly. Yes, skateboarders can be confrontational and impatient, but that does not excuse the professional responsibilities of the planners and public liaisons to addressing the community's needs. It's a shame that vital recreational spaces for a large segment of our youth can be so easily dismissed because of the "representational" behavior of a small number of frustrated kids. Doesn't some of the onus fall upon the planners and public liaisons to manage this process effectively?

  16. #16

    Skatepark Development Guide is Great!

    While I initially visited this forum to defend the reputation of SPS and APSAC, I recognize that skatepark advocates have a valuable opportunity here to communicate with planners. That's why I'd like to re-focus this discussion on how great the Skatepark Development Guide is for anyone getting involved in the skatepark process.

    It gives planners or PARD staffers all the basics they need to walk into a meeting and answer every question their bosses are going to throw at them about a proposed skatepark. It is divided into different sections tailored to each audience, so budding skatepark advocates can learn the ropes of public speaking, fundraising, and generating media coverage.

    At a minimum, this book will help planners better anticipate the challenges of providing a recreational facility that will burn more teenage calories every day than all the baseball, football, and soccer fields combined. Postage on the book is something less than ten bucks, which is nowhere near the typical cover price of a book with this production quality.

    Seth

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Dog parks face many of the same issues as skate parks: NIMBYism; concern about liability; cost of fencing, groundcover, water and public furniture; the precedent it may set for more nontraditional active recreational uses encroaching onto previously passive parkland (dog parks are usually much larger than skateparks), and so on.
    Right on, Dan! One of our biggest skatepark champions in Seattle, City Councilmember Jan Drago, has also drawn this parallel, and was the leading champion for dog parks several years ago when they were a hotbutton issue with the public. Since then, several dog parks have been built here, and the backlash against them has diminished significantly. In our neck of the woods, the advocacy group Citizens for Off Leash Areas (COLA) has emerged as the organizational force pushing for this type of park amenity.

    Per Seth's comments above, the Public Skatepark Development Guide is indeed a wonderful resource. Pete did a great job writing it, and included everything that the fledgling advocate needs to know when working in the public arena to plan, design and build great skateparks. The book is free for the cost of shipping. I'll go ahead and post the link below:

    http://www.publicskateparkguide.org

    In urban areas, citywide skatepark plans are another emerging topic for planners to consider. They take the guesswork out of the siting debate and confront issues such as NIMBYism and Environmental Impact Statements head-on. Currently, Portland and Seattle are the only two cities in the United States to have passed such plans, but I believe they will be a hot topic to follow as more cities get on board. More links here:

    http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?c=43861
    http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/Skatepark.htm

  18. #18
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    578
    How about skateable art pieces. Art pieces that are designed to be skated on and that do not look like skate parks.

    Personally I miss skating the freeway over passes

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Orange, VA
    Posts
    9
    Skateable sculpture. Forks Skatepark in Winnipeg.

    http://newlineskateparks.com/image.php?imid=440

    http://newlineskateparks.com/image.php?imid=428

    http://newlineskateparks.com/image.php?imid=436

    http://www.winnipegskateparks.com/in...d=16&Itemid=48

    www.skateparkguide.org it is free, you only pay shipping! This is a valuable resource for any and all planners, and local administrators.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2001
    Location
    skating on thin ice
    Posts
    6,958
    Seth, Peter,

    You may want to suggest to your member clubs to look at the resources at

    http://www.imba.com/resources/organizing/index.html

    There is a lot of good info for helping volunteers learn the ropes and how to act here.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22
    Funny you should mention it, Donk. One of our founders was (and continues to be, I believe) a vital contributor to the IMBA. Skaters for Public Skateparks has been heavily influenced by IMBA's editorial tone and presentation. In short, IMBA is an awesome model...and the recommendation that they be used as a model is sound advice.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally posted by craines View post
    How about skateable art pieces. Art pieces that are designed to be skated on and that do not look like skate parks.
    Given a large enough budget, this would be the ideal. But as Habanero described, most skatepark opportunities are assigned very limited funds. These progressive approaches are only available in budgets in excess of $400k, or if artists donate their works for the project. In Austin's current bond-money skatepark project (budget $1.2 million), the city bond program requires 2% of the budget to be targeted for the "Art in Public Spaces" program, which will likely mean skateable sculpture in the project.

    Seth

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally posted by craines View post
    How about skateable art pieces. Art pieces that are designed to be skated on and that do not look like skate parks.

    Personally I miss skating the freeway over passes
    A related resource is available here:
    http://www.parents4sk8parks.org/pdf/...ity_083105.pdf

    (...I was a big fan of loading docks.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    22
    At Skaters for Public Skateparks we feel so strongly about the quality of information found in the Public Skatepark Development Guide that we will send you a copy for free...no cover price, no postage, no strings. All we ask you to do is take a look and offer any constructive feedback or share your observations, as appropriate.

    Simply post up your address here and a book will be coming your way shortly.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Skatepark design
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 01 Apr 2008, 11:46 AM
  2. Skatepark citing criteria
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 24 Jul 2007, 9:52 PM
  3. Skatepark designs and function...
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 26
    Last post: 17 Jul 2007, 9:50 AM
  4. Looking for listings resource
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 06 Mar 2007, 1:08 AM