Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Arguments for a Skatepark in Downtown Silver Spring

The many reasons why we need a large skatepark in downtown Silver Spring:
  • Skateparks save lives — While skateboarding is statistically safer than playing basketball, there were 42 skateboarding-related deaths in 2006. Of those 42, 40 happened outside of skateparks. The vast majority of skateboard-related deaths involve motor vehicles. From Skaters for Public Skateparks: "Skateboarding youth are being killed in the streets at an alarming rate, because they lack appropriate places to recreate. Skateboarders need skateparks." Also, 50% of skateboard-related trauma is caused by skating on irregular ground, such as broken sidewalks or stairs.
  • Silver Spring's kids have been asking for a skatepark for 10 years — Ever since the closing of the interim downtown skatepark East of Maui, which closed to make way for the redevelopment, kids in Silver Spring have been asking for a downtown skatepark. Kids have protested, made films, and spoken out about this for years. While community groups discuss the lack of "things to do" for young people downtown, a huge number of our kids already have something to do — they just don't have a place to do it.
  • It's in the Master Plan for downtown Silver Spring — This document, Addendum to April 2008 Master Plan Status Report, lists projects included in the Master Plan and their status. For the item Replace Interim Skateboard Facility, the status listed: No progress to date.
  • 2,838 potential skaters in the area — Using a forumla from Skaters for Public Skateparks, and using data from the American Community Survey, Dan Reed from Just Up The Pike crunched the numbers and discovered that there are 2,838 potential skaters in and around downtown Silver Spring. Of those, 33%, or 936, are likely to be daily skaters — those most likely to use a skatepark.
  • Skateboarding is the fastest growing sport in America — According to the National Sporting Goods Association, in a 10 year study (from 1998 to 2008) tracking sports that grew in participation by at least 15%, skateboarding beat them all, growing by 74.1%. And the 2007 title Social Issues in Sport, reports that based on studies by National Sporting Goods Association, and Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, there's been a "dramatic shift in participation among teens and preteens from mainstream sports such as basketball and football to extreme or action sports." And that since 1990, participation in mainstream sports is down 30%, while participation in action sports "is up in excess of 600%."
  • Obesity and inactivity among youthAccording to the CDC, over 17% of American children are obese (over 9 million American kids), and the obesity rate has tripled in the past three decades. Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This increases to 80% if one or more parent is overweight or obese. Also, 65% of children in America do not meet recommended guidelines for physical activity, and 35% watched television 3 or more hours per day on an average school day.

    Obesity and inactivity among kids have become such serious problems that the US Department of Health and Human Services recently enlisted the aid of the Ad Council and Warner Bros. Pictures to produce a Public Service Ad for television, encouraging kids to go outside and play 1 hour each day.

    In contrast to these disturbing trends, obesity among skateboarders is almost nonexistent. Skaters tend to exceed the recommended guidelines for physical activity, and it's very difficult to keep skateboarders from being active — it generally takes rain or snow, (which makes skateboarding dangerous and damages skateboards) to keep skaters indoors.
  • To protect property from skateboarding-related damage"If your city doesn't have a skatepark, your city BECOMES a skatepark."

No comments:

Post a Comment