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Thread: Skatepark citing criteria

  1. #1
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    Skatepark citing criteria

    This list was compiled by the Portland Parks and Recreation in conjunction with others. I thought it may provide some insight.

    Neighborhood Skatespots
    Identify sites for all of Portland’s neighborhood skatespots that…

    1. Allow for the creation of a safe and secure environment; providing for separation from vehicular traffic, adequate visibility for detection of emergency situations, vehicular and pedestrian access, and ease of routine maintenance.
    2. Allow for clear, passive observation by parents, emergency services, police, and the public.
    3. Limit potential off-site impacts to residential communities to be consistent with city code, i.e. noise and lighting
    4. Offer positive mitigation potential for noise concerns and other adverse impacts.
    5. Are accessible by public transportation and emergency vehicles
    6. Site is available for immediate construction
    7. Allow for ease of development and construction
    8. Are compatible with adjacent uses. (ex: near an active area of park rather than a more quiet, contemplative space.)
    9. Allow for the potential to expand, given neighborhood support
    10. Limit impacts on environmentally sensitive areas

    District Skateparks
    Identify sites for all of Portland’s district/community skatesparks that…
    1. Allow for clear passive observation by parents, emergency services, police, and the general public
    2. Are accessible by public transportation and emergency vehicles
    3. Allow for the creation of a safe and secure environment; providing for separation from vehicular traffic, adequate visibility for detection of emergency situations, vehicular and pedestrian access, and ease of routine maintenance.
    4. Limit potential off-site impacts to residential communities to be consistent with city code, i.e. noise and lighting
    5. Offer positive mitigation potential for noise concerns and other adverse impacts.
    6. Have access to basic amenities; i.e. restrooms, telephone, drinking fountain, etc.
    7. Allow for ease of development and construction
    8. Have access to adequate parking
    9. Are compatible with adjacent uses. (ex: near an active area of park rather than a more quiet, contemplative space.)
    10. Site is available for immediate construction
    11. Allow for the potential to expand, given neighborhood support, and
    12. Limit impacts on environmentally sensitive areas

    Regional Skateparks
    Identify site for Portland’s regional skatespark that…
    1. Have access to basic amenities; i.e. restrooms, telephone, drinking fountain, etc.
    2. Allow for the creation of a safe and secure environment; providing for separation from vehicular traffic, adequate visibility for detection of emergency situations, vehicular and pedestrian access, and ease of routine maintenance.
    3. Allows for clear passive observation by parents, emergency services, police, and the general public
    4. Is accessible by public transportation and emergency vehicles
    5. Have access to adequate parking
    6. Promotes action oriented sports activities and events
    7. Limits potential off-site impacts to residential communities to be consistent with city code, i.e. noise and lighting
    8. Allows for ease of development and construction
    9. Offers positive mitigation potential for noise concerns and other adverse impacts.
    10. Allows for extended, all-hour access
    11. Is compatible with adjacent uses. (ex: near an active area of park rather than a more quiet, contemplative space.)
    12. Allow for the potential to expand, given community and neighborhood support,
    13. Limit impacts on environmentally sensitive areas
    14. Site is available for immediate construction


    Download here in PDF:
    http://www.spsdev.org/reports/Portla...g_Criteria.pdf

  2. #2
    Cyburbian prana's avatar
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    missing from all of those, which makes me think it may be intentional, is that kids need to be able to access the site via trail or walk connectivity. And parents need to feel that pedestrian access is truly safe. We have a skate park here that virtually no one walks to because it's too far. Skating becomes a burden when kids can't just do it on their own but need parents to drive them to the park.

    Do support your local skate park though!! Skating is not a crime!!
    "You can measure the health of a city by the vitality and energy of its streets and public open spaces.”-- William H. Whyte..

  3. #3
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    Great point! Precisely one of the reasons I posted this up for your review and feedback. In an Urban or even suburban environment, access to the park should be crucial. Thanks Prana for your insight!

    I would add though, that in almost every city and town in America, Skating is a crime unfortunately.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 21 Jul 2007 at 1:46 PM. Reason: sequential replies

  4. #4
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    For skatepark siting and design (not the skateboarding features but the surrounding environment) I really like Project for Public Spaces' metrics.

    Essentially PPS states that public spaces should exhibit high levels of four characteristics:
    1. Access & Linkage
    2. Sociability
    3. Comfort & Image
    4. Uses & Activities

    Access & Linkage would be expressed through "connectivity, proximity, walkable." It would be quantified through traffic data, mode splits, transit usage, pedestrian activity, and parking patterns.

    Sociability would be expressed through "diversity, stewardship, cooperative, friendly, interactive." It would be quantified through the number of women, children and elderly, volunteerism, evening use, and street life.

    Comfort & Image would be expressed through "safe, clean, 'green,' walkable, charming." It would be quantified through crime statistics, sanitation measurements, environmental data.

    Uses & Activities would be expressed through "fun, vital, useful, sustainable." It would be quantified through local business ownership, land values, rent levels, and retail sales data.

    As most communities with world-class skateparks know, these facilities are used constantly and when a site is chosen with the success of the whole community in mind (rather than what we too often see; a site chosen to mitigate the nuisance of skateboarding activity), the skateboarding activity can do a lot to attract additional activities to an area and make the environment much more active and vital to a community.

    Unfortunately what we often see is metropolitan areas relying upon their suburbs to manage the creation of these facilities. Someday we'll see more skateparks and skate spots at 1st and Main...and those communities will be the first to reap the benefits of regular, healthy, youth recreation in the urban core.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    After doing some research, designing and now getting ready to do the walk-thru of the Final Construction this week, I think there are a lot of good points on that list. Two I would consider to add that I didn't specifically note would be -

    1. The location of the park should be easily viewed from roads, heavily used pedestrian walkways, etc... These park need to be in open areas, not hidden in the corner, etc... This will help with vandalism, tagging, and other issues.

    2. Consider the materials you are going to use in respect to the location. Are you looking at a concrete park, a modular, or a hybrid? I personally would not rule out a modular park from a cost standpoint and from the user's end of things. Is the park for intermediate skaters or for more advanced. Some skaters will really push to go 100% concrete, but remember there are a lot of kids and people that are not experienced enough to drop into a 9' bowl. You'll get more use with more of an intermediate level park if it is one of the first parks in the area.

    Along with materials look at the durability of the products. If you go hybrid or modular I'm not sure I'd go with a Skatelite material in a public setting. I'd personally choose a coated steel (with a noise dampener) or possibly a concrete surface.

    Just my 2 1/2 cents...

  6. #6
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    Those are both really good and interesting points.

    As far as visibility goes I couldn't agree more. The siting suggestion you offer is not specific to skateparks of course but for ANY recreational facility that is designed to attract teenagers and young adults. What IS specific to skateboarders is that they love to be watched (even if they won't admit it). There's a reason skaters spend countless hours working on a trick...and that's that someone can be impressed by it.

    The second point about modular being a cost-effective solution, I'm not as sure about. In Tacoma we've delivered a compelling, visible, and incredibly attractive skate spot for under $3,000 (U.S.) using volunteer labor and some donated materials...but it WAS concrete.

    We've found that over the years concrete is simply the most economically viable solution. The return on investment for concrete structures is consistently better than wood/synthetics. Steel is equitable in the northern areas where it doesn't get too hot. Steel is also limited to pre-designed elements or expensive fabrication and shipping costs. Concrete allows for the greatest design liberties and allows one to tailor the structure for the specific environment which can save a community LOADS of money over a few years. No, I don't work for the skatepark industry nor do I sell concrete; I just know that concrete is better after decades of experience using and inspecting skateparks (of all materials).

    Equating the size of a structure to the difficulty is not advised. While there's no arguing that a 9-foot bowl may not entice the beginner skater, that doesn't mean that smaller is necessarily easier. In many cases smaller obstacles are much more difficult than larger ones. The "design" of a structure will influence its difficulty in a much greater way than its scale. There are "easy" big bowls and "gnarly gnarly" small bowls; the difference being clear to an experienced skateboarder and practically inperceptible to one who doesn't.

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