By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
One of the many things communities are avoiding right now is big crowds, public transportation, subways and even car pooling since they could be of high risk when it comes to the propagation of the virus, the safe distance culture is something that people will need to learn and embrace at least for some time after the pandemic is over, bicycles and walking are some of the most opted methods for individual transportation but skateboards have been widely overlooked by people and local committees when it comes to considering skateboarding as an alternative for post-pandemic transportation.
Cory Poole, local Portland skateboarder is fighting to get better infrastructure for those like him that use a skateboard as a transportation method, as in many other places and cities, there are factors that could increase the risk of injuries for those who transport on boards to their schools, workplace or just to get around!
The Voice Of Skateboarders
Poole, has been trying for a while now to get the words and concerns of many of the local skaters to the PBOT (Portland Bureau of Transportation) regarding this issues, current committees just focus on bicycle users, walkers, wheelchair users and freight haulers, leaving a big population of skateboarders unattended in their concerns.
Skateboarders are also a vulnerable transportation community that needs to be looked out for, there are many cases in which skaters have to fight for space on the roadways to deal with the hostility of drivers causing accidents and even casualties. This is what Cory is trying to get across, along with Billy “Bones” Meiners he created the “NW Skate Coalition” back in 2013 in an attempt to bring awareness to the community on this particular situation and promote boards as a healthy and environmentally friendly transportation method.
“No one’s looking at this as a viable transportation solution for urban areas,” said Poole in an interview back in 2013 “They kind of put up with it. They deal with it. [But] I don’t think many cities other than Portland have said, ‘This is not just something we should deal with but something we can use.'”
Overlooking The Skateboarding Community
One of the biggest issues Poole sees in the infrastructure that the PBOT has implemented for “safe transportation” is the green thermoplastic installed in bikeways around the city which is great for bicycles, electric scooters and such but it makes skateboarding impossible, wheels simply don't roll over this kind of surface which makes skaters risk their integrity by skating down the roads along regular vehicles and buses.
Another of the many concerns is the project to replace the Burnside bridge, home of the iconic Burnside Skatepark, an ode to DIY skateboarding locations and one of the most popular skateboarding spots in the US! Expansion joints, surface grooves, and most importantly the possible destruction of this skate mecca weren’t even discussed by those in charge of the project.
The main goal Poole is trying to accomplish is to get these local communities to acknowledge the existence of thousands of locals that use skateboards and longboards as their main transportation method, that committees stop ignoring the requests of a community that is in real danger and in the need for better structures, he hopes that the pandemic will bring awareness to his cause, for which he has been fighting for over 5 years now.
There you have it my dudes and dudettes, This dude has some clear ideas and brings up issues that many of us have encountered before, let's show him our support as a community and hope that the entire world becomes aware of the many benefits skateboarding has as alternative transportation means and that “safe skateboarding” roads are created for those who need them!
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