Committee looks at expanding skateboarding ban

by Daniel Schere

The city of Winston-Salem is considering a ban on skateboarding in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter after receiving notifications that skateboarders were causing structural damage to the area. City council members discussed the issue at Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting.

“I believe the real issue is how we provide service to those who skateboard,” councilman James Taylor Jr said at the meeting.

Councilwoman Denise Adams said she understood the concerns but does not think a law will stop skateboarders from flocking to an area which is conducive to their activities.

“Even if it’s not for them, they will come,” she said. “I would rather you protect the neighborhoods from break ins and burglary than skateboarders.”

Skateboarding is currently banned in the city’s Central Business District, but not the Central Industrial District which is where the Innovation Quarter is located. The current city code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to coast on a sled, coaster express wagon or toy wagon or move or skate on any roller skates, skateboard or other similar device upon any public street, right-of-way, sidewalk, park or other public property located in the central business district of the city as shown on the official zoning map of the city adopted as part of the city zoning ordinance by the city council.”

Innovation Quarter President Eric Tomlinson said one of the main concerns is that the damage left by the skateboarders may lead to a future degradation in outside investment.

Councilman Jeff Macintosh said he is in favor of amending the code to include the Innovation Quarter but does not think it will prevent skateboarding. He said a better approach which has succeeded in the past in maintaining a dialogue with the skateboarding community.

The committee did not take any action but will discuss the issue further at their October meeting.