It’s unclear what prompted the turnout, but speakers for and against skateboards dominated the citizens’ participation portion of the Charleston City Council Meeting Oct. 11.
Most of the speakers were College of Charleston students, all of whom spoke against the city ordinance that resulted in some of them being ticketed by the police.
Late last year, the city passed an ordinance that prohibited skateboarding in commercial areas and in school overlay zones. All council members voted for the ordinance with only councilman Aubry Alexander opposed. He felt it was draconian.
Most of the students noted that skateboards facilitate their movement to and from the college and their residence, and between classes. Some said skateboarding was no different or more dangerous than riding a bike.
Two residents in areas close to the college had no friendly feelings towards skateboarders, one noting the hazard of riding a skateboard without a helmet.
Both noted the hazards faced by pedestrians and others of being run into by a skateboarder, and the lack of civility of the rider.
Some in attendance stated that if skateboarders would only act responsibly there would be no need for this ordinance. As it is with bikes, the actions of a few gel into generalizations with adverse impact for the whole.
Marc Knapp is a contractor specializing in heavy underground utilities and the owner of Charleston Site Utilities.