Author Archive

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 StatisticAtlas.com. 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%

Comments No Comments »

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

 

Comments No Comments »

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…

Comments No Comments »

Yesterday the skate community showed up to City Council chambers and testified to the value of SeaSk8 to our community. We called out that there is no clear budget identified for the replacement park, and that it’s problematically conflated with a maintenance building and an obliquely defined set of “public amenities” in the current MOU. We pointed out that in the past, finding a site has taken up to three years for previous incarnations of this very park, and that gap in service amounts to certain death for the community that relies on this skatepark for everything from skateboarding, to self-esteem, personal growth, mental health, and physical fitness. We also highlighted that this is the fourth SeaSk8 which, in itself, begs questions about why Seattle Center is so allergic to permanence when it comes to skateparks.

Despite all that, Seattle City Council Committee on Civic Arenas approved the MOU and moved it to be approved by the full council on December 4th. They did this without even acknowledging the comments that were made by skatepark advocates, or that they registered our complaints at all. Committee chair Juarez was even dismissive, by making a statement about how non-binding the MOU was, and that there will be changes made down the road. Councilmember Juarez clearly has no understanding of what this community has been through. King 5 seems to be on board with the effort to dismiss skaters by characterizing 10 skatepark advocates in a group of 40 speakers as “a handful“. Is this what Seattle Center Executive Director Robert Nellams meant back in 2010 when he told the City Council that he thought skaters in Seattle were getting a “raw deal”?

Unsurprisingly, The Stranger comes to the rescue with the first (and currently only) piece focused on the fate of SeaSk8 and fairly represents the issues being raised by the skate community.

Comments No Comments »

Tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Committee on Civic Arenas to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Seattle and the Oak View Group, who plans to redevelop Key Arena at the expense of Seattle skateboarders.

Please consider showing up to provide your personal commentary on this issue. Comments will be limited and it’s important to arrive early to sign up (1 hr is playing it safe).

It’s unclear how aware the committee is of the negative impacts the current plan will have on the skate community. Please help us make sure that they understand the issues and that more effort by the City Council is required to do the right thing for skaters.

Comments No Comments »

Here we go again…

Word recently came in via our friends at Skate Like a Girl that not-even-ten-years-old-yet Seaskate #4 will be demolished as part of the future Key Arena upgrades by the Oak View Group (OVG).  In addition, the Skate Like a Girl headquarters office in the Blue Spruce building adjacent to Seaskate will also be demolished.  Why you ask? Well…in order to build a parking lot of course!

The Seattle Center told SLAG in a surprise meeting that Seaskate will not be relocated at the Seattle Center. They have offered SLAG an office on the Seattle Center campus, but the exact location or details have not been confirmed. The City of Seattle and the OVG are currently negotiating the terms of the Key Arena upgrades in a document called a Memorandum of Understanding (Agreement) that must be finalized by December 5th and is well on it’s way to meet that deadline.

Seattle-area skatepark advocates have reviewed the draft agreement and identified only a single clause regarding the Seaskate replacement.  This clause identifies a $1.5M total replacement budget for Seaskate, a maintenance facility for Seattle Center maintenance staff, and “other public amenities” impacted by the renovations. As we know from previous experience, this amount is wholly inadequate (The current incarnation of SeaSk8 cost over $3m). We also know that without a designated site for the replacement park, skateboarders are at risk of being marginalized once again to the outskirts of town and losing the only skatepark in Seattle’s urban core, not to mention the potential years of downtime that can straight up destroy a skatepark’s community.

In case you need a refresher course on what’s gone on with the last few versions of the Seattle Center skatepark, you can find some history here, here, and on this very website here. But this is just the last 10 years of history. This skatepark has been rebuilt FOUR TIMES, and there is a whole other generation of skaters and advocates that carried the torch for the first 10 years of it’s 20 year legacy.

So what can you do?

Write an email to these people telling them that they need to do the right thing and either leave the skatepark alone, or get crackin’ on a new site and budget that aren’t insulting and inadequate:

sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Robert.nellams@seattle.gov
john.merner@seattle.gov
tim.burgess@seattle.gov
jesus.aguirre@seattle.gov
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov

There will also be a meeting at 10:30am on November 16th at City Council chambers, where you can let your voice be heard and speak directly to the Committee on Civic Arenas who have the power to amend the MOU to include the right provisions. Demand that your city government protect skateboarders from being bulldozed by Tim Liewicki, Live Nation, and all the other big business interests that want to convert your public spaces into places they can charge you a premium to access!

UPDATE: This post originally stated that the group of musicians who sent a letter to the city were supporting the OVG plan, but they got back to me and they and clarified that in fact they were supporting Chris Hansen’s plan that does not impact the skatepark.

Comments 4 Comments »

innoskate_poster_BANNER_versionThere is a really great event happening at MOHAI this Saturday that will show how skateboarding and innovation have always been intertwined. There are some really cool topics for discussion and many reflections of the rich skateboarding culture that’s been thriving in the Northwest since skateboarding’s invention. Personally I am excited about the history of skateboarding trick demo with Peha, Kristin,  Ryan, and Metal Mark at 2:30pm! Check out the full schedule here. See you there.

 

Comments No Comments »

Photo courtesy of Seattle Parks

Photo courtesy of Seattle Parks

Well what do you know…

What will certainly be the last levy-funded skatepark for some time, now that Seattle has opted for a Parks District approach to funding, Hubbard Homestead is finally underway almost 9 years after we had the first meeting about it. I’m not going to go into the whole story right now, because it almost doesn’t matter. New Line/Vanderzalm is supervising and Sahli is building what may be the last full blown-skatespot to be built in Seattle for a while. Completion date is in October, so hang tight.

If you need a refresh on the design, you can pull it up here.

Comments No Comments »

ciagliadyrdek

This one was so good it brought me out of advocacy semi-retirement! In Seattle, we just gave them the job and allowed them to sidestep the process, but this just shows what kind of people you deal with when you get into bed with Rob Dyrdek and Joe Ciaglia/California Skateparks:

Joe Ciaglia, a big player in the small world of skate park construction, has agreed to pay $65,000 to resolve allegations that he attempted to rig the bidding on an L.A. skate park project in October 2010.

It all worked out OK, and the park is probably Seattle’s busiest. But that’s after countless hours of community involvement, tons of calling of the BS by SPAC and other advocates, and construction by a trusted local builder.

Comments 1 Comment »

Do you want lights at the Greenlake skatepark?

The best chance of making this a reality is to attend a meeting next Tuesday, September 4 at the Greenlake Branch Library at 6:30pm.

This Seattle Parks sponsored meeting is to discuss the adjacent funded ball field and tennis court lighting upgrades.  These upgrades do not include or provide funding for the skatepark.  However, due to the direct adjacency of these upgrades, existing infrastructure, and organized skatepark user group, this is a great meeting to attend and advocate (politely since this is not even a skatepark meeting) on behalf of lights for the skatepark.  In the past, there has been opposition to anything related to the skatepark by a small group of nearby residents so Seattle Parks staff need to hear overwhelming support for future lighting improvements if it will ever happen.  Please help us provide this overwhelming support by attending the meeting and making some simple statements on behalf of lighting upgrades.  A broader demographic of support will be more effective so parents and kids are urged to speak.  Space may be limited for public comment so arrive early (meeting starts at 6:30pm) and sign up for comments.

Below are some potentially useful points to make during your public comment that would result from lighting the skatepark:

·         Synergy with surrounding lighted sports facilities (softball and soccer fields have lights closer to homes so skatepark lighting would be masked by these lighting sources)

·         Facilitate year-round skatepark use

·         Power is already installed on site

·         Other skatepark projects and/or organized funding campaigns may fund it

·         An advocacy group already exists

·         Provide increased support for skate camps and programming

·         Graffiti deterrence

·         It’s the equitable thing to do

·         Estimated 20,000 skatepark users currently only have one skatepark available with lighting

·         Increased use will promote greater community building and self policing of the skatepark

·         Upgraded light poles for ball field could be designed to support additional lighting banks for skatepark

Hope to see you (and your kids!) at the meeting.

Ryan Barth

Chairperson, Seattle Parks and Recreation Skate Park Advisory Committee

Comments No Comments »