By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Back on May 18th in the Alpharetta City Council meeting, members of the board discussed at length to pass an ordinance about banning skateboarding in some parts of the center of the city (the spots visited the most by local street skaters) the council states that there have been many safety concerns and even complaints from the residents of this part of town about the noise that came from the activity.
This Monday, the first reading of the ordinance was passed officially to the city council with the objective of banning not only skate but also longboarding, roller skating or inline skating on public alleyways, sidewalks, public parking lots, public parking garages or elevated surfaces—such as rails, ramps, and steps—within the "downtown core district"
They included basically any discipline that involves wheels, but it is pretty clear that this is an almost direct attack to the street skateboarding community, since the specific spots mentioned on the ordinance are the ones concurred the most by local skaters.
A Huge Step Back
Several locals spoke during the passing of the ordinance about how the local government needs to take into consideration many aspects before thinking about approving such ban, one of those is that the area is “basically a skatepark” meaning that it was not built to be one but is almost perfect to do so, which attracts many local skaters to the area and it has for many years now!
Another important fact that locals pointed is that the city does not have a skatepark and there isn’t one at least 30 minutes away of the city. The ban will cause the local skaters to virtually have NO places to skate on, get them to get in trouble with the law by disregarding the ban, or making them leave the city and taking risks of looking for new places to skate.
Ethan Palmer, local skateboarder said in the meeting "My proposed solution to this problem is to build a skate park ... the population of skateboarders [in the area] will drastically decline, which means you guys won't have to deal with us anymore."
The teenager also mentioned that since sidewalks are part of the prohibition, skaters will be forced to skate in the roads where vehicles pass, making it an ACTUAL risk for the safety of skaters all ages that use the board as a transportation method.
Standing Up For Skateboarding
After the first reading was held, skaters all over the city gathered to lead an opposition to this particular ban, explaining the council again that if the issue is related to safety, it will be much more dangerous to have the kids skating in the roads.
Rachel MacDonald, 15-year-old skater dudette, also took into her hands to prove that the noise is not a concern as many neighbors of the area are trying to portray, armed with a microphone and mobile applications she measured the sound levels and decibels of skateboarding and rollerblading on downtown sidewalks and brought to the table hard proof that the sound was less loud than regular heavy traffic or a running air conditioner.
So what is the deal here? Safety? Noise? Sounds more like a direct attack on our community by those who are claiming that these are the reasons the ordinance is being passed, which if being approved and broken by locals, $100 to $500 fines along with 20 hours of community service is what skaters will be looking at, crazy SHIT® huh?
Quoting one of the attendants of the first passing: “Sounds like a bunch of old people complaining about the kids making noise,’” we couldn’t agree more my dude!
We hope that these dudes realize that they are NOT providing safety to the youth and they are basically preventing young kids to have a fulfilling physical activity like skateboarding that not only brings joy but also promotes a healthy lifestyle, basically, they will make a HUGE mistake if the ordinance gets passed.
What do you think about this situation? We would love to hear your opinion!
Read also: The Ban on Skateboarding in Norway