There’s been a lot of buzz in the media about the City of El Paso wanting “to ban skateboarding in downtown.” There’s also been a few misunderstandings about the specifics of their proposal.
The reality is the no skateboarding “on the roadways” law has been on the City ordinance books for years and was later expanded to include both the Arts Festival Plaza area and the Civic Center Plaza area in downtown.
In short, what City folks are proposing is to expand the current no skateboarding law to include aggressive or destructive forms of skateboarding at San Jacinto Plaza, across the Downtown Management District area and specifically within 20 feet of sidewalk cafes.
Skateboarding for transportation purposes (on sidewalks, but not on roadways) would be okay. Skateboarding on handrails, ledges, stairs or in crowded pedestrian areas is not okay.
That’s the quick & easy explanation. Here’s the official legal-speak version of the proposed ordinance amending Title 12 Section 12.80.030.
The official EPSA position on the proposal is citizens and property should be protected. We also feel this could be an opportunity to work with the City to create “designated” skate spots in the Downtown Management District which currently has none.
Digging into the details of the proposed ordinance expansion, we do strongly object to language used in 2D that says riders are specifically prohibited from engaging in actions with their devices that “may cause alarm” or risk to pedestrians. The “cause alarm” is way too ambiguous because it bases law on human emotion. We all scare at different levels, eh?
The 2D graph is unnecessary in our opinion and should already covered by Texas state laws on disorderly conduct. Also, we’d like clarification on “what type” of misdemeanor (Class A, B or C) if you’re busted and what that means.
You are encouraged to “respectfully” attend public input meetings scheduled for:
August 9: 5:30 p.m. at the Armijo Branch Library, 620 E. 7th Street
August 10: 11:30 a.m. at the Main Regional Branch Library auditorium, 501 N. Oregon
August 11: noon at the Armijo Branch Library, 620 E. 7th Street
Keep in mind, EPSA doesn’t believe the City is asking permission to pass the ordinance expansion – we believe they will pass it and the public meetings are simply part of the “required” process.
We should focus on presenting effective, sustainable solutions. This means creating designated skate spots that add to the revitalization of beautiful downtown El Paso and respecting laws that protect citizens and property.
If you skate downtown regularly and have any good, realistic recommendations for where potential “designated” skate spots & dots could be developed and built, please let us know.