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Compromise sought for Columbia roller skaters

Saturday, August 15, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 7:49 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 15, 2009

COLUMBIA — Evan Jones, who was issued a citation in July for illegally roller skating downtown, is trying to find a compromise with the city to change the ordinance. 

The Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission is reviewing the ordinance and will discuss the issue at its Wednesday meeting. Commission member David Heise said members would then give recommendations to the City Council.

Section 14.5 of Columbia’s code of ordinances states that no one may roller skate, skateboard or ride toy vehicles or other similar devices on the roads, alleys or sidewalks within the Special Business District east of Fifth Street.

In the public comment portion of the Aug. 3 City Council meeting, Jones asked the council to reconsider the ordinance, suggesting changes that would allow skating within the downtown area.

Jones had discussed his statement with his council representative, Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, before the meeting.

“From my perspective, it makes practical sense to allow someone on roller skates to have some way to get across town through the business district,” Skala said.

Skala said the City Council requested a staff report on the ordinance to get information on other communities with similar demographics that have either had the same problem or have possible solutions.

In his public comment to the council, Jones suggested some possible solutions, including bicycle lane provisions for skaters, not allowing skating in high-traffic areas such as Broadway and exempting skaters from a clause that allows property seizure so that their skates could not be confiscated.

As far as his own citation goes, Jones said he has retrieved his confiscated skates and he pleaded guilty at his Friday court date. But during his public comment he instead chose to focus on the ordinance.

“I ask that the council please reconsider the current ordinance in favor of one that protects the use of healthy, environmentally friendly transportation within the city,” Jones said. “I ask that this ordinance be re-evaluated, especially in light of the city’s encouragement of transportation alternatives to the automobile. There is a compromise to be found.”

Revising the ordinance would include looking into the safety issues related to having skaters and skateboarders use the streets. PedNet Coalition Director Ian Thomas said he is interested in looking into the issue and the results of allowing skaters and skateboarders behaving like cyclists.

"It's certainly a problem," Thomas said. "We generally support the idea of people going out by active modes, and that would include skating and skateboarding, but obviously that's not possible at the time unless there were paved trails or something like that."

During Jones' public comment, he presented the council with a petition that held about 200 signatures. He had posted the petition at many downtown businesses, including Eastside Tavern, Main Squeeze and Shakespeare’s. He also walked through downtown to explain the issue to shoppers in hopes of gaining their signatures and support.


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr August 15, 2009 | 4:47 a.m.

Seems City Council is forgetting why the Ordinance was enacted in the first place.

The confiscation of the skates might be a little rough but the safety of all pedestrians young and especially the elderly needs to be the prime concern first above all else.

Would any of you want your aging parents or grandparents having to be subjected to some irresponsible skater/boarder flying around your town potentially knocking them to the ground,causing injury to them?

Don't say it cannot happen.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 15, 2009 | 7:21 p.m.

Chuck, Evan was skating on the street not the sidewalks. Thus, pedestrians were not in any danger unless they crossed against the light. Kudos to Evan for bringing his issue before the council and doing so in a well-done manner (one can watch the video of the council meeting on Columbia's website).

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 15, 2009 | 7:33 p.m.

John Schultz for potentially one responsible skater there are potentially 25 that are not responsible.

As I stated do not ever say it could not happen to you and in fact it could not happen again.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 15, 2009 | 7:53 p.m.

I'm pretty sure there are far more irresponsible drivers (and bikers) than there are skaters in Columbia. Shall we turn Broadway into a pedestrian mall to solve that problem?

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 16, 2009 | 12:49 a.m.

<<<Shall we turn Broadway into a pedestrian mall to solve that problem?>>>

They already tried that in the 70's. They created bypasses that went in one direction. A whole campaign about Beelining to the bypass was launched. In 1994, they converted the bypasses back to 2 way traffic.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 16, 2009 | 4:55 a.m.

No but banning skaters,skateboards and roller blades on Broadway from College to Providence and from Locust to Park will go a very long way for City Council to show they are not going to cave in to the deluge of the PedNutz,SkateNutz and any other wako coalition hell bent on trying to make downtown look like Miami Beach's version of a boardwalk.

That would give them Park Ave and Elm Street as their West to East thoroughfares. Those are also out of the way of main line traffic downtown and gets them where they need to go reasonably. It also would satisfy The District and it's membership.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 16, 2009 | 10:17 a.m.

Chuck, go watch Evan's comments at the council meeting because you and him agree on something (does that make you a SkateNut now?). One of his proposals said no skating on Broadway since it is a major thoroughfare, but would allow it on other downtown streets.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 16, 2009 | 12:51 p.m.

John I like my idea better still. Keep them out of the main downtown area completely.

(Report Comment)
Clara Allen August 17, 2009 | 10:16 a.m.

While skating lanes may be a bit too much there is absolutely no reason to prevent skating as an alternative mode of transportation in and through downtown Columbia. Evan Jones is to be commended for his willingness to work with the system and I, for one, hope he is able to persuade the powers that be to see reason.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 17, 2009 | 10:56 a.m.

I like my solution the best and it would be the best for all:

No but banning skaters,skateboards and roller blades on Broadway from College to Providence and from Locust to Park will go a very long way for City Council to show they are not going to cave in to the deluge of the PedNutz,SkateNutz and any other wako coalition hell bent on trying to make downtown look like Miami Beach's version of a boardwalk.

That would give them Park Ave and Elm Street as their West to East thoroughfares. Those are also out of the way of main line traffic downtown and gets them where they need to go reasonably. It also would satisfy The District and it's membership.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 17, 2009 | 12:57 p.m.

Chuck, are you being exclusive and not inclusive as you demand everyone else be? Shocker!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 17, 2009 | 1:47 p.m.

John Schultz not at all I just offer a sane and sound solution just as you claim to while you do the same thing you are accusing me of now.

Isn't that what debating is all about is sane and sound solutions that help everybody equally and not just one group?

/snark

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 17, 2009 | 5:13 p.m.

But it's funny how you continually claim your way is the best and put down all other solutions, don't you think?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 17, 2009 | 5:39 p.m.

John Schultz the present ordinance was put into place because somebody did get hurt so you are saying you want to put more citizens back into jeopardy once again?

So Libertarian of you John and so typical.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 17, 2009 | 6:35 p.m.

Chuck, it shows how you don't understand even a lick about libertarianism, of which one of the chief tenets is personal responsibility. If people are able to drive cars, ride bikes, or skate, they should be abllowed to do so as long as they do not bring harm upon others.

You've consistently dodged how allowing skaters on some downtown streets (I'm not proposing Broadway, and neither was Evan in his comment before the council that I'm sure you haven't watched) as opposed to the sidewalk would endanger pedestrians. Especially considering that the only time pedestrians would encounter a skater in motion would be if the pedestrian crossed against the light.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 17, 2009 | 7:21 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
John Schultz August 17, 2009 | 7:30 p.m.

Chuck, would you please show us a news account of someone being injured by a skater on the road prior to the ordinance being passed eons ago? Not on the sidewalk, as Evan is not wishing to repeal that part of the ordinance. Not an anecdotal report you heard from someone. Hard, verifiable facts. Or will this be another Classic Chuck Dodge when called on the facts?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 18, 2009 | 4:20 a.m.

John Schultz you show us all why this ordinance should be rescinded at all?

Typical John Schultz dodge the subject in the name of freedom.

Ordinance explained:
http://www.komu.com/satellite/SatelliteR...

>>> a_voter says... Skating has been a problem downtown in the past. I have worked downtown for 15 years and the ordinance was passed due to skaters doing tricks on the sidewalks and tearing concrete stairs up. Before the passage of the ordinance skaters were having collisions with pedestrians on the sidewalks downtown also. As for them using the roadway, it was a nuisance downtown. They were weaving in and out of traffic and not obeying traffic laws like bikes and cars do. I support the ordinance just as I did when it was first passed years ago. <<<
http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2009...

That right from an eye witness to all of the mayhem that was going on before the ordinance was passed.

Deal with it John Schultz.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 18, 2009 | 11:31 a.m.

Chuckles, please show me in detail what I dodged.

As for the anecdotal comment to the Tribune story that you posted, that person seems to mostly be talking about skaters on the sidewalk WHICH EVAN IS NOT TRYING TO REPEAL (hoping caps will get that point through your thick head). From a comment from Evan on the same Tribune story:

"ImWithSadie, I was not cited for skating on the sidewalk, nor do I support an amendment that would allow skating on the sidewalk. Please read more carefully."

Maybe we should ban your multiple motorized scooters from the sidewalks downtown because you might hurt someone? After all, you could hurt someone with them. Think of the children!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 18, 2009 | 11:32 a.m.

Oh, to answer your question about why it should be repealed. I'm not 100% convinced skaters should be allowed on downtown streets (and I would argue against Broadway, as Evan did before the council). I think it's worth the council looking into though to encourage skating as transportation in the downtown area.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 18, 2009 | 12:13 p.m.

John Schultz show us an incident downtown where a powered scooter or a wheelchair driven by a handicapped individual has hurt any citizen down town.

I am sure alot of old timers though can tell you about those skaters and skateboarders though hurting citizens downtown just as the one in my last post mentioned.

The average speed of a power scooter is only 5 MPH or less and what John is the Average speed of a skateboarder or skater? Alot faster I assure you 100%.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 18, 2009 | 5:17 p.m.

I believe it was me that asked you first to provide a case of skaters in the road (not on the sidewalk) causing injuries to pedestrians. Tick tock, I'm waiting.

(Report Comment)

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