Newsflash!  There are six skatepark projects currently in development in Seattle! Holy crap!

Roxhill skatespot (West Seattle – link): the fourth and final public meeting is this coming Monday the 14th, from 6-7pm at the Southwest Library (9010 35th Ave SW), which you should attend because the design process thus far has been problematic and has not provided anyone with a clear picture of what exactly will be built.

Jefferson Skatepark (Beacon Hill – link): the park should be open in the first part of December and confirmed that it will have LIGHTS!!!  It is unclear on how late the lights would be on but fingers crossed it is until at least 10:30 or 11pm.

Hubbard Homestead Skatepark (just north of Northgate Mall – link): design is complete and contractor selection should be occurring any day.

Judkins Skatepark (link): design is final and contractor selection should be occurring soon.

Crown Hill Mini Ramp (Crown Hill: link):  The miniramp and adjacent small bank/rail, ledge and perimeter rocks are fully installed and OPEN FOR SKATING.  Grindline did their usually incredible cement work and the miniramp tranny and coping is perfect.

Kirke Park Skatedot (7028 9th Avenue NW – link):  The design is complete and construction should be starting soon.

ALL OF THE ABOVE SKATEPARKS SHOULD BE SKATEABLE BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR!!!

 

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Skate Like a Girl does important work, and it’s cool that Nancy and SLAG are getting recognized by Parks for their ongoing effort to build community around skateparks and skateboarding in Seattle.  They especially deserve credit for trying to raise awareness that skateboarding isn’t just for dudes, mostly because it’s true, but also because it helps non-skaters understand that skateparks serve a much larger user group than they probably realize.

Parks gives away an annual Denny Award and this year they are recognizing Nancy, which is awesome.

Congrats to Nancy, Fleur, and all the folks who have helped to make Skate Like a Girl so successful.

Check out the link to the award page at Seattle Parks Website here.

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Hey everyone,

Due to the troubled state of the Roxhill design process, we have decided to move this Monday’s SPAC meeting to the Soutwest Library branch instead of having it at the usual location.  We feel that it’s important for everyone who can possibly make it to attend this third and possibly final design meeting.  So far things have not gone well, and we have yet to see a design that remotely reflects the needs of the site or the feedback presented in the previous three meetings.

The meeting will be from 6-7pm at the Southwest Branch Library:

9010 35th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126

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Scott has updated his handy overview of the Seattle Skatepark system over at his Parents For Skateparks website.  People have been asking for something like this on this site for ages, so in lieu of having one place to find everything, go there and check it out.

As of 10/16/2011, the total taxpayer cost (not including River City, Marginal or Inner Space) of the Seattle skatepark system AS-BUILT is $5,572,000.  The total square footage of the system (including all skateparks, public and private) is 82,700.  The total cost per square foot  is $67.38.  For more details, please visit our Skateparks page:
http://www.parents4sk8parks.org/SkateParks.html

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I’m afraid Roxhill skatepark design process, but more specifically California Skateparks/SITE Design’s approach to designing it, is quickly becoming the disaster we were worried about.

The meeting last night wasn’t super packed, but the skaters that were there were clearly underwhelmed by the California Skateparks offerings.  You can check out most of it by looking at West Seattle Blog’s comprehensive coverage of the meeting.

For one thing, SITE’s Colby Carter brought a single design to the meeting.  Typically the second meeting involves 3 alternatives which encourages dialogue, as opposed to one option which really feels more like “this is what you are getting.”  I also wonder if all the time spent with Joe Ciaglia up to this point (1 public meeting, 1 SPAC meeting) was really well spent as the design shown last night didn’t really feel like an evolutionary step in the process but yet another total reboot in a series of disjointed iterations.

The one positive thing I’ll say is that they did move the design toward a pure street plaza, which is something we did suggest at the last SPAC meeting.  I still think that we should simply focus this design and make a great park for street skating FIRST, and not try to water it down by adding some token transition elements, because that won’t serve either audience very well.  The site is too small for a hybrid design.  But it seems that Colby has taken that direction as permission to get out his skatepark construction kit software and phone in a boilerplate design that doesn’t go far enough in terms of making the best use of this challenging site.

I think what we’re seeing here is the difference between a designer that’s “donating” their work, as opposed to what we normally see, which is a designer working hard to earn the precious and rare revenue (especially these days) that is coming from public funding.  We kept hearing from Seattle Parks that they couldn’t afford to turn down such a generous “donation” from the Dyrdek Foundation/CSP in these financial times, even if the firm donating these services wasn’t being vetted through the typical public process.  I think now we’re seeing the real cost of subverting the public process that requires competition and public input for designer selection.

(BTW:  I keep putting donation in quotes because really, the value of the design services in question have been grossly misrepresented by both Seattle Parks and California Skateparks/Dyrdek Foundation.  One letter from Parks and the Mayor claimed a valued of “over $100K,” but Seattle Parks has since adjusted that number to +/- $30K, a small price to pay to win the contract for a skatepark project in a city that has a city-wide skatepark plan with 27 more parks in it.)

I see several issues moving forward that need to be addressed immediately:

–  So far the process and California Skateparks hasn’t shown that they’re respecting the input from the skateboarders.  They say they are, but situations like last night where we’re showed only one option leave us with the (possibly incorrect) impression.   We haven’t seen a whole lot evidence of input feeding back into the design process.  Which, real or not, makes these meetings feel like window dressing.  The difference between last night and recent meetings for Delridge, Jefferson, Northgate, and Judkins couldn’t be more pronounced.  This doesn’t feel collaborative at all, which sucks. Honestly, at this point, I don’t know what to do about this other than getting the design presented last night posted on the web as soon as possible and get more feedback via the internet channels.  (See below)

–  The current design doesn’t flow and there are obvious areas where lines conflict.  For one thing there is no way to get back up, so effectively what we have here is a ski hill situation with everyone riding downhill and then walking back up to take another one.  We know the site’s elevation changes are presenting a challenge for this designer, and we’re not expecting them to reverse gravity, but last night we got an excuse and some finger pointing at the city and Seattle Parks.  This seems unacceptable as a skatepark designer’s job is to solve these problems through great design.

–  There was very little variance in the features in last night’s design.  Lots of duplication.  I thought the idea that the youngest skater in the house last night, to vary the heights of the features, was a good one.

What do you think?

Post your comments here about the design and we’ll make sure they get recorded and considered in the process.  Also, if you care about this park enough to post a comment, you should also consider showing up to the next meeting on Monday, November 14th at the Southwest Branch library (35th/Henderson), 6PM.

To be fair I think Joe/Colby are in a tight spot with a very challenging site, but the fact that they are “donating” their services is contributing to a situation where we need to push them a little harder to get a quality product.  Even they would say that they need more input, so let’s give it to them.  Post up.

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Minutes

Skateboard Park Advisory Committee

September 12, 2011

 

Committee Members Present: Ryan Barth, Matthew Lee Johnston, Nancy Chang, Scott Shinn

Guests:  Keith Strobel, Micah Shapiro (Grindline Skateparks), Joe Ciaglia (California Skateparks), Matt Sivalelli

Staff: Susan Golub, Kelly Davidson

The meeting began at 6:00

Roxhill Skatespot

Joe reviewed the details of the conceptual drawings derived from the first public meeting.  Discussion ensued regarding various details of the skatespot, including the pre-made elements from the Rob Dyrdek Street League contest, plaza area, landscape details, benches, proposed snake run, open space and drip lines of adjacent trees and possible dead end with quarterpipe, bank, or storage area.

Benefit Park

Micah reviewed the details of the Benefit Park skatedot project, including the current site conditions, existing playground features that will be converted into skateable features, current user groups in this space, possible addition of an $18K concrete pad adjacent to the existing skate features with donated features, addition of a corner bank, quarterpipe and hip.  About thirty kids attended the first two public meetings and this is turning out to be a very enthusiastic community group, with a strong possibility of additional fundraising.  This will be a retrofit of an existing park using the skate dot pot.

Judkins Park

Micah reviewed the details of the 110’ x 110’ site that will support an 8-10K skatespot.  Kelly reviewed the extensive details of the WSDOT lease agreement.  The site is located on a fill area, which will preclude a deep bowl.  The features of the site are inspired by the mountains and the sound.  Discussion ensued regarding gathering space, connecting the skatespot to the adjacent park, possible proximity of other parks with snake runs, replacing transition-rich street features with banks, placement of the deathbox, pole jam and flat rail features.  Detailed discussion ensued regarding the mountain signature feature, integration with surrounding features, utility of the proposed opposing transition versus a bank feature, possible pyramid hip in one corner of the park.

 

Delridge Skatepark

Opens Saturday!

 

BMX Policy and Culture at Lower Woodland

Matt J. reviewed the status and history of the “no-bikes” policy in Seattle.  Matt S. showed up to represent the BMX community in this discussion, regularly maintains the bike jumps at Lower Woodland, and recently constructed new lines for beginning, intermediate and advanced bikers within that space.  Discussion ensued regarding respect, use of skateparks by bikers, the road bike culture of Seattle, lack of representation by the BMX community in local politics, use of pegs and brakes in skateparks, the new culture and core group of DIY BMX guys at Lower Woodland.  Ryan B. moved to appoint Matt S. to the SPAC as a BMX representative.  Matt S. accepted.  Discussion ensued regarding the “stuck” place that the skateboarding community has been in with regard to its relationship with the BMX community at Lower Woodland, graffiti and the local tagging culture that has developed at the Ballard Bowl, the historic relationship between Parks and the DIY group at Lower Woodland,

Adjornment

The meeting adjourned at 8:00.  The next SPAC meeting will occur on Monday, November 7, 2011, 6PM, 100 Dexter Ave.

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The 2nd Roxhill meeting is tonight. Show up to hear me grumble for more street!

6 pm tonight at Southwest Library, 35th/Henderson.

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This just in from Karen O’Conner and Seattle Parks:

Please join us for the upcoming meetings for the Roxhill Skatespot and Playground project funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

Parks is hosting a meeting for the skatespot schematic design on Wed. Oct 12,  and for the final design on Mon. Nov 14.

All meetings will start at 6 p.m. at Southwest Branch Library.

The SPAC saw an iteration of these designs and they were…err…a bit “early”.  The drip lines of the trees, which are all over the site, weren’t known to the designer until that day so the designs we saw were kind of useless.

Hopefully we see something less conceptual on the 12th.  SHOW UP!

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Early morning is the time to go to Delridge, if you can. There were only 3 other people there this weekday morning at 9am. Great for beginners and/or, ahem, folks like me who have been skating for almost 20 years but REALLY need to focus.

Grindline was there fixing  the sidewalk that was torn up from the construction. It’s gonna be nice. I appreciate a good sidewalk. Now that we have a great skate park, I think it’s important to 1. connect the parks  for pedestrians/skaters and 2. make it safer to get there.

Building a great public space (aka: skatepark) is not just about the skateable features within the concrete footage, but following it all the way through – improving the space around it to make it easily accessible for all and creating a strong infrastructure that will last for generations.

There is so much to learn and think about when it comes to living in the city. Being able to focus on skate parks has been a great lesson and now… maybe I can tackle the rest, as overwhelming as it can be.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be take action on all the challenges, but I do know that now I’ll be able to warm up on my way to the skate park on the next early morn.

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At the Delridge Skate Park opening, a couple of us skate park advocates were STRONGLY encouraged to show up to these meetings to speak up for our community (read; more/improved skateable terrain). Apparently, we have about 10 MILLION DOLLARS in the budget for Parks and Green Spaces and no one from the skateboarding world has spoken up. The cool thing is that we don’t even need to stay for the whole meeting- we could just show up/sign up to speak for the Public Comments part of the meeting- the first 10 or so minutes and then take off. I live in West Seattle and have 2 young kids, so it’ll be hard to pull off, is there anyone else that can make it? Or maybe we can figure out a way to call in? I’ve seen that done for WA Healthcare Authority meetings. If I can juggle it- get my kids fed and start their homework, I’ll be there to advocate for improvements at the Alki Community Center/ Lower Playground. There are a bunch of kids who have fallen in love with skateboarding and need a good open flat space to get their skills to really enjoy Delridge SP! And Alki has been on the Citywide Skate Park Plan for a skate dot! Right now, there are no dollars penciled in for that part of West Seattle either.

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