We get lots of letters. The majority of the letters we get concern the subject of public skateparks and how to get one, the bust situation on the streets, and how people’s local skate scenes suck. Portland’s Burnside Park and Philly’s FDR Skatepark are direct results of skaters taking control of their lack-of-skateable-terrain dilemma and building their own parks. The government in these cities gave in and sanctioned the parks; the skaters maintain them and keep the riff-raff out. The parks were built in industrial areas beneath highway bridges on run-down, vacant parcels of “No Man’s Land” real estate.
Southern California – and especially San Diego – is a skate mecca, but the municipalities have always been very unfriendly and uncooperative with their skateboarders. Due to the infinite legal roadblocks, skateparks often take years to get built, and when finally finished are often lackluster if not total jokes.
We at TransWorld do not encourage skaters to seize public or city land, but we are encouraging skaters to get involved in civic affairs and change their skate scene for the better. They did it successfully in Portland, Philly, and Sacramento. There are many avenues to pursue. Take, for example, the work of these San Diego skaters, and put your own spin on it. Build something in Dad’s vacant lot or warehouse, get a dialog going with your city council or parks and recreation department, start a letter-writing campaign, call the news media, get your parents to spend some real quality time with you and lobby for a skatepark. If your scene is lame, it could possibly be your own fault. So quit blaming the elected officials and get them to do what they were elected to do. You are the boss. Your future is in your hands – quit sitting on them and get down to business.
As of this writing, the Washington Street Bridge Park has been “officially” closed and is on the verge of being jack-hammered. City bulldozers are poised for its destruction. The skater-built park lasted for over a month, which seems like a miracle. Even though it’s about to be leveled, I highly doubt the builders regret having built it. They made skate history in San Diego and may just pave the way to a new and legal park.
Thanks to: Joe Pino, Glenn Wagner, Sage Boullard, Little John, Matt Dyke, Chris Jones, Dorian Tucker, Ken Lewis, Zach, Adam Sullivan, Jimmy Jordan, Micky, Hangar 18, Goodtimes, 151, Pacific Drive, Mass Media Welding, and random people who kicked down money.