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City to Consider Skateboarding Ban on Downtown Sidewalks

Councilman Runyan Proposes Tuesday Discussion
By Eva Moore
Saturday, April 26, 2014 |

Update: The meeting has been moved to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Columbia City Council will discuss whether to crack down on skateboarding on downtown sidewalks.

Councilman Cameron Runyan says he put the issue on Council’s agenda at the request of City Center Partnership, the downtown business coalition.

“It’s getting more and more frequent. … I sit here and watch them out my window all day long,” says Runyan, who has an office on the 1300 block of Main Street. “It’s a public safety issue.”

He says it could be dangerous for, say, an older woman to have a teenager “whipping around her” on a skateboard at high speeds.

But David Toole, who owns Bluetile Skate Shop in Five Points, says there aren’t really that many skateboarders in Columbia — especially not downtown.

“Is he worried about police Segways whizzing by old ladies?” Toole asks, saying the police and City Center Partnership’s various three-wheeled vehicles are far more common on downtown sidewalks.

“It is such a good mode of transportation,” Toole says. “What would [Runyan] rather have, more cars parked everywhere so there’s nowhere to park? People look at it and have this perception that the sidewalk isn’t made for that. Guess what? Skateboards are made for the sidewalk.”

The city’s code of ordinances doesn’t mention skateboards at all.

However, the city does ban bicycles on the sidewalks downtown — specifically, in “the area bounded by the centerline of the following streets: Elmwood Avenue on the north, Sumter Street on the east, Gervais Street on the south, and Assembly Street on the west.”

Runyan would simply like to add skateboards to the law, he says.

Council will take up the issue at its 1 p.m. [online copy updated] work session Tuesday, April 29, on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

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