Bikers, Skateboarders Tug of War Over Skate Park

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Despite 78,000 square feet of ramps, rails, pipes and pyramids, Houston skateboarders believe the city's newest skatepark still isn't big enough to share with BMXers.

Spring Skate Park currently stands at Kuykendahl and Rankin as America's largest statepark. Opening day last week drew huge crowds of eager skateboarders, many of whom have traveled from out of state just to careen and crash over the park's beautiful concrete slopes.

Yet as skateboarders made use of the free facilities, bikers loudly protested their exclusion. Spring Skate Park won't allow cyclists to share the space, citing safety concerns over mixing four-wheelers and two-wheelers even though skateparks the world over have traditionally allowed both groups.

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7 comments
peterwhitley
peterwhitley

Every skatepark is the direct result of community engagement, activism, and advocacy. It's not uncommon to have BMX riders show up on ribbon-cutting and launch their appeal for access... and it's not uncommon to have this message sound like entitlement.

The fact is that a skateboard-only skatepark is not "unfair." There are more skateboarders than BMX riders. Skateboarders are cited more often for riding in places where they shouldn't. Skateboarders inadvertently damage ledges and railings downtown. Skaters are frequently hit by cars. Skaters often annoy people (and dogs) simply by rolling down the sidewalk. Skateboarders NEED skateparks.

If BMX riders—like the individuals interviewed above—feel like they NEED a place to ride, they should attend those public workshops, get involved with city planning, and do the same amount of work that skaters have. The need for this skatepark came from recognition that skateboarders don't have enough appropriate places to skate.

The BMX community can organize and amplify the same claim, if they want. There are ample resources available to help them do that.

They might start here: http://www.publicskatparkguide.org

sk8brd
sk8brd

Skate parks the world over have not traditionally welcomed both groups and most in Texas do not, including the Jamail Park in downtown.  There are many reasons for this, including rider safety and park damage, that have been discussed ad nauseam.  The two public skate parks in Houston are already at max capacity without the addition of bicycle riders...it would be an out of control crash up derby if bikes were included.   Then there's the fact that it's a SKATE park, the intended use being right there in the name. The Greenspoint Redevelpment Authority, the same group that helped skateboarders in making the Spring Skatepark happen, have offered to work the bicyclists in developing a park of their own that is bicycle specific.  Any bicyclists interested should contact Sally Bradford of the Greenspoint Development Authority. 

ccoyle3
ccoyle3

It is a Skate Park. It was built for skating. Just as a Tennis Court was made for tennis. A Swimming pool was made for swimming. There are many public venues that allow bicycles but do not allow skateboards. This park was designed specifically for skating. Learn to skate if you want to use it.

Venessa Singh
Venessa Singh

Not that big a deal.. Alternate days and quit bitchin'

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