Last night's Coffee & Rhetoric had a pretty good group attending to hear Peter Whitley of TacomaSkateParks.org discuss how he's working to setup safe places for kids to ride. Progress is slow but somewhat sure. He points to skateparks or even small skateboarding zones of a few small features as ways to bring life to an area. He estimates there are 3,000 active skateboarding youth in the area (two of which live across the alley from us) most without a place to do it legally or within walking distance of their homes.
His focus is setting up little zones inside a greater "system" with a few skateboarding features (not an entire park) here and there to allow for smaller crowds at each spot and for the migratory tendencies of boarders. I hope the city and Metro Parks can work with him to add such features to our area. Even last night before C&R Sarah and I enjoyed a couple bagels outside near the History Museum and saw a group of four boarders get shooed away by a security guard. Considering spots like that amphitheater, the steps in front of TAM, and the entire Plaza downtown (to mention a few) it's almost as though developers are taunting skateboarders.
A good idea came up to encourage Peter and other local advocates to also get with developers to see about including boarding-friendly features that help encourage less property damage due to skateboards and encourage the tacit security that comes with have a few kids out practicing tricks when no one else is around.