ALPHARETTA — In response to complaints from residents, the city of Alpharetta has banned skateboarding and longboarding from its downtown area.
The ban comes in response to complaints by downtown residents and businesses of property damage and near-collisions between skateboarders and pedestrians.
In April, residents came before City Council demanding that regulations be put in place to remove skateboards from Downtown Alpharetta before an injury occurred.
“We looked at some of the cities that we benchmark with that also have very active downtown areas, places like Greenville, South Carolina, Ashville, North Carolina, and Franklin Tennessee, and found that all of them have enacted similar ordinances that removed skateboards from their downtowns,” said Alpharetta City Council Member Karen Richard. “We considered those ordinances and also the feedback we have received from our residents over the past several weeks to develop Alpharetta’s ordinance.”
The ordinance designates a “Skateboard Restriction Zone” that encompasses most of the area between Haynes Bridge Road and Canton/Roswell Street on the east and west and Marietta Street and Church Street to the south and north. Within that zone the use of skateboards and longboards is prohibited on or in public streets, sidewalks, parking decks and surface parking lots.
The ordinance also prohibits skateboarding on elevated surfaces such as rails, ramps, and steps.
Skateboarders 17 years of age or older who violate the ordinance may be fined up to $500 and receive up to 20 hours of community service. If someone under the age of 17 is caught in violation, that individual’s parent or legal guardian will be subject to the penalty.
One exception to the restriction is that children aged 12 or younger may use a skateboard or longboard within the “Skateboard Restriction Zone” as kong as they are under the direct supervision of an adult.
City staff is working to place signage in key locations throughout the designated “Skateboard Restriction Zone” to notify the public of the prohibition and penalties for violation.
Alpharetta police officers, who will be responsible for citing violators, have also begun speaking with skateboarders they see in the area to make them aware of the new restrictions.
The city is looking into putting a new skate park in one of its existing parks to allow skateboarders a designated place to skate.
“This has not been an easy issue to deal with, but we have really tried to listen to all of our citizens and focus on the safety concerns,” said Mayor Pro Tem Donald Mitchell. “Something very positive that has come from the discussion around this ordinance, however, is that our Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Services has begun to reach out to skateboarders in our community to discuss creating a skate park inside one of our existing parks so these young people have a safe place to do what they enjoy. It will take time and money, but it is something we all want to see happen.”
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