Archive for May, 2018

In an effort to inform the team working on the replacement for SeaSk8, the Seattle Center Skatepark Committee (the skaters at the table) decided to compile some data to determine the size of the user-base for the new skatepark. We also wanted to understand a little better whether or not the 10,000 square feet size target being used by the team to evaluate sites was going to be sufficient for the number of potential users, now and in the future. With skateboarding being included in the Olympics for the first time ever, and Seattle’s intense growth, we thought it would be good to simply look at the numbers before assuming that what the city needs to invest in is a 10,000 sq/ft skatepark.

We started by looking at the best population data we could find, which we sourced from We decided to include all of the bordering neighborhoods to the area where the new park will be located, but only if they did not currently have a skatepark. As it turns out, Seattle’s skatepark system has really missed the urban core of the city and there are no skateparks in any of these neighborhoods, so SeaSk8 will be the only skatepark for any skateboarder in lower Captiol Hill, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Uptown, Queen Anne, Downtown, Belltown, Westlake, and First Hill.

Population numbers for those areas are as follows:

Downtown 11,380
Lower Queen Anne 10,244
Queen Anne 24,079
Belltown 11,067
Lower Capitol Hill/Eastlake 22,493
South Lake Union 3,352
Westlake 3,334
First Hill 11,718







Once we felt comfortable with the size of the community this new park would serve, we used the Skaters For Public Skateparks/Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Adoption Model to crunch the numbers and come up with an estimate for how big the park would need to be to support this community. You can dig into the details behind the model at the link provided, but the model considers the number of core skateboarders vs. casual skateboarders, service area, population, peak load times, and level of service. It’s very comprehensive.

  • The combined population of all of the neighborhoods served by SeaSk8 in 2017 is 97,667
  • It’s believed that the national percentage of the overall population that are skateboarders is 2.91%. (Again, check the SPS website for how they got that number.)
  • Therefore the total number of skateboarders served by this one skatepark is believed to be: 2,845
  • The model suggests that for every 25,000 people in your service area, you need 10,000 square feet of skateable terrain. This means that in order for SeaSk8 to serve the population in these neighborhoods, it would need to be 35,843 square feet.

Obviously this number is much higher than the current target of 10,000, which is the number that’s being used because it’s the size of the current park. It is also not a foregone conclusion that all of these neighborhoods will continue to not have their own skateparks. But what this data shows is that even without considering the population growth that Seattle is facing, based on the current population, this skatepark may be very crowded if built as a 10,000 sq/ft park!

The larger team including the representatives from the city acknowledged this data, but are concerned that we may not be able to find a site this large or fund the development if we did. There were also some concerns about the timing of this data being presented because significant effort has already made to find a site that can support a 10K sq/ft site. As the primary stakeholders, the skateboarding community wanted to make sure that this data was available to the team and that we are moving forward with as much of an understanding about the size of the potential user-base as is available to us via very accessible public data. At the very least hopefully this information helps to scope the size of the constituency for this facility and validates the effort being made to replace the existing park with a first-class facility for skateboarders and the community.

In case all of this data has gotten you excited about numbers and facts, why not peruse this interesting demographic data?

Skateboarder Demographics:
Core 28%
Casual 72%
Female 23%
Male 77%
12 and under 40%
13-17 30%
18-24 13%
25+ 17%

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In a meeting yesterday, the city presented a rough schedule for the SeaSk8 replacement process. Dates can certainly change and our experience has been that things take longer not shorter, but since this will be the 5th SeaSk8 you would think that the parties involved should be getting better at this. Time will tell. Here is the rough schedule that was presented yesterday. Take note that currently the last weekend for a SeaSk8 session will be on October 6-7th. Details on a final blowout event will be posted here in the future.

Planning – (from now until the end of 2018)

  • Site determination and budget proposal: now until October 1
  • Closure of existing SeaSk8: October 8th, 2018
  • City Council budget approval process: 4th quarter of 2018

Design – (October 2018 – October 2019)

  • Design selection to contract signed: October 1st – December 31st
  • Public meetings and design process: 1st quarter of 2019
  • Design review and finalize: 2nd quarter 0f 2019
  • Permitting: 3rd quarter of 2019
  • Award bid: October 1st, 2019

Construction – (November 2019 – May 2020)

Park opens – Summer 2020


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Since my last post much has happened in regards to the effort to replace SeaSk8. Primarily, the team has been assembled and there is an effort underway to determine a site for the replacement park.

Let me try to catch you up quickly…

The Team:

The city has appointed Director of the Waterfront project, Marshall Foster, to sherpa the team through the process of replacing SeaSk8. The team consists of representatives of Seattle Center, Seattle Parks, Skateboarders, Skate Like A Girl, and the offices of city council members Bagshaw and Juarez. So far Mr. Foster has made a significant impact including setting up bi-weekly meetings and running interference between the various parties to keep the peace and momentum moving forward.

The sites:

One of the first things Marshall did was help to bring Grindline in to perform feasibility studies on the three sites that were brought to the table as options: the green space on Broad Street below the Space Needle, one of two spaces in Lake Union Park, and this weird plot of land behind the Ride The Ducks clubhouse. Those studies are moving forward and should be completed relatively soon. At that point the team will try to weigh the pluses and minuses of each site and try to put forward a preferred option to be approved by the city.

Based on the site chosen, a city department will then take the lead on the project. If it’s Broad Street then Seattle Center will need to own it. If it’s Lake Union Park, then it will be a Seattle Parks project. The third site will need to be transferred from Seattle Department of Transportation and it isn’t clear who will own the project if that site is chosen, but it will likely be Seattle Center.

The process continues and there is another meeting today. I will try to get better about keeping the site up-to-date and will back-fill with some future posts to provide more of the contextual information in the next few days to give you a better idea of what’s been transpiring. The process has been much more productive than past experiences, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

More on that soon…

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