Council Bans Bikes, Skateboards, Roller Skates from Park

Update August 14, 2009: The Council voted 4-1 (Baroldi opposed) to enact the Ban. The Crackdown on residents has broadened to children.

At the hearing, three residents voiced strong opposition to the ordinance, saying it was overkill, that the Park is the only place in the City for kids to safely ride bikes, roller skate, or skateboard, that enforcement would be arbitrary, and it was mean spirited.

Language was offered that the prohibition be limited to when pedestrians were using the walkways and parking lot, but was rejected in favor of a complete ban.

Under the Code, it would be illegal for children to ride their bike to the park to play, and for residents to ride a bike to City Hall to conduct business.

The urgency of the Crackdown included a couple of incidents at Music in the Park, such as kids riding bikes too fast, and an adult on a scooter who fell over.
A resident commented that if an event has problems, the organizer, in this case the Improvement Association, should provide security, rather than punishing the whole community.

Councilmember Baroldi said they were using a shotgun, when a rifle would be better, in that in trying to solve a minor issue the Council was taking out the innocent as well.

The Council discussed that the Sheriff's dept would know when to enforce it and when not to, but it is poor legislating to create laws that will be arbitrarily enforced, when clarifying language could be easily added. Arbitrary laws also can lead to enforcement against those who disagree with those in charge, as political retribution.

The Ban also prohibits motorcycles, ATVs, and other recreational vehicles from the new Park "Trail". This prohibition is also confusing as the new "trail" is also overflow parking for Park events. So, cars, SUVs, and trucks are allowed on the "trail", but those who come to music in the park on motorcycles, golf-carts, etc, will be in violation.

See the actual Ordinance here

A new City Urgency Ordinance, banning bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, and skateboards, among other things, from the Park goes before the City Council at the August 13th Council meeting.

According to the Staff Report, " For the last several weeks, patrons of Music in the Park have reported problems caused by riders of bicycles and skateboards on the public pathways...."

So, the proposed solution is to ban bikes and roller skating from the only spot in the city kids can safely do those things.

The interesting aspect is that in June, the City Council requested that Code Table 7-12 be brought to the Planning Commission for review.... didn't happen; the City Council passed an urgency ordinance early in the year banning telecom equipment installation pending the need for a telecommunication ordinance regulating facilities.... hasn't happened yet; the Council directed Staff to bring back code changes, examples, and diagrams, for the August 13th meeting.... arrived incomplete the day before the meeting.

So, the most important task in City government was to quickly find a way to ban any enjoyment of the Park by kids, so there might not be any disruption of Music in the Park, put on by the Improvement Association, for two hours a week, for 10 weeks out of the year. Who decided that to be so?

The Ordinance makes bike riding, roller skating, or skateboarding on Park walkways and parking lot an infraction. It also applies to other City facilities, that is, City Hall area.

Operator: "911, what's your emergency?"
Caller:"Someone's riding a bike at the Park."
Operator:"Stay calm, a SWAT team is on its way!"

For some families, the Park might be the only level place to teach a child how to ride a bike. Well, no more if the heavy-handed ordinance passes.