Written by Ben Kerrigan
As cities continue to crack down on skateboarding by capping ledges and issuing fines, we must remember that public spaces exist to serve the people. Clearly, preserving true historical monuments and sites are important to our culture, but urban areas also thrive by finding ways to adapt spaces to the changing passions of their citizens. Clearing areas for people to safely walk, run, bike, skate, etc. is vital to the well-being of any city.
Think about stickball before their were public baseball parks; skate spots simply represent a the modern version of this quintessentially American activity…a little bit risky and youthful, but also exhilarating! It just doesn’t make sense to hassle or ticket people exercising basic freedoms. Designated skate spots are safer than streets. The fact is that skateparks decrease the chance of skaters being killed by a vehicle. Teresa Waters published a study in 2013 that uncovered the fact that nearly all fatalities “…were bombing/skitching/transportation related.”
In Boston, there’s a long history of government setting aside land for recreation. In fact, Boston is home to the oldest park in America, the Boston Common, established in 1634. However, the city is surprisingly behind the rest of the United States in supporting public skateparks. We have just two city-approved skateparks to serve thousands of skateboarders (pictured below) in a city with a total population of 6.5 million people. We find two skateparks to be woefully insufficient. A group of committed and dedicated skateboarders with a love for the city are advocating an expansion of skateparks.
Our small team started a website called BostonSkateboarder.com about 6 years ago with the intent of highlighting skateboarders, spots, events and contests. Although our following has grown substantially, we are seeking fresh ways to help raise awareness. We are relative newbies to skatepark advocacy, but inspired by the work of Skaters for Public Skateparks and draw valuable insights from the Public Skatepark Development Guide.
Like all great revolutions in Boston (think Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty); our work begins by harnessing the voice and energy of the community. In that spirit, we are gathering together a broad range of perspectives and ideas from fellow skateboarders around the country. This information is being collected with an online survey. The ultimate goal is to build our case with city planners using the information gathered. Help us breakthrough political gridlock with a strong and unified voice!
Thank you for taking the time to share or complete our Boston Skatepark Survey here.
Accredited Skateboard Instructor