Alpharetta has been hit with complaints that children on skateboards have taken over downtown streets often jumping in front of cars and damaging infrastructure.
The city center district of shops and restaurants is usually filled with pedestrians. Skateboarders have fun darting and weaving up and down sidewalks and streets. Residents and business owners worry that in the city’s parking deck — where the ramps are irresistible to boarders —someone could eventually collide with a car.
In written comment read during the City Council meeting Monday, Melanie Levy said a skateboarder and vehicle collision is just a matter of time. Levy manages the Amorance apartment community.
Downtown resident Stephen Witt said his experience has been “a nightmare.”
“I have personally had two near misses in the parking deck since we’ve lived here,” Witt said. “Skateboarders skating down the ramps at speeds much faster than what automobiles would ever go.”
Alpharetta has no law regulating skateboard use and officials have a few factors to consider in deciding on an ordinance. Banning skateboard use on sidewalks could deter mixed-use developers, Councilman Ben Burnett said.
“I am in favor of keeping people safe in parking decks,” Burnett said. “I don’t want to tell mixed-use developers they can’t allow skateboarders. There may be a great mixed-use developer that wants to come to Alpharetta and wants to cater only to skateboarders. Precluding that is not the business that I want to be in.”
The city is considering a law directed at parents: A warning for the first violation, followed by increasing fines for subsequent violations.
With a new a law for skateboarders, the city also runs the risk of being perceived as, well, old, Councilman John Hipes said.
‘We limited the vaping,” he said. “We outlawed e-scooters. And now a bunch of us older folks up here, we don’t like skateboarding. There is a part of me that really resists being a nanny state city council.”
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