A lot of emphasis has been placed on dealing with growth in the next century. The issues have ranged from finding alternative forms of transportation, such as light rail and commuter rail, to dealing with housing demands.
Nothing wrong with that. We believe the governor and Legislature should take the lead in working with various local officials to provide sensible direction.But the planning must also include the youth. That segment of the population is growing, too. And they are entitled to facilities that meet their needs, one of which happens to be skateboarding.
Ordinances banning skateboarding from certain locations need to be coupled with opportunities for skateboarders to participate in their sport. That may mean building skateboard parks or areas in parks specifically for skating activities.
Skateboarding is not going to disappear. Nor should it. It provides a healthy recreational outlet for some, just as golf, tennis, fishing, bowling and jogging do for others.
Obviously, some places are inappropriate for skateboards just as some places are inappropriate for golf. But whereas golfers have any number of places to engage in their activities, skateboarders don't. So, they take to the streets.
The Salt Lake City Council is considering banning skateboarders and in-line roller skaters from streets and sidewalks in downtown Sugar House. It should. Skateboarders and in-line skaters, as well as bicyclists, are already banned from Salt Lake City's downtown, and they are a risk to monuments and landscaping in Sugar House.
But, as noted earlier, there have to be alternatives for skateboarders. Some members of the City Council were wise to insist that a motion to draft an ordinance pertaining to Sugar House include a discussion on skateboarding with Salt Lake's Youth City Council and other interested youth.
Too often ordinances are adopted without input from the people - in this case youths - they affect. The Youth City Council previously expressed concern that skateboarders have no place to go. The City Council needs not only to listen but to work with the Youth City Council to find a solution.