On Wednesday evening, a packed-house, three-hour City Council meeting in Laguna Beach presented what will be the future of downhill skateboarding within the city limits. After moving to more-or-less ban the high-speed recreational activity by trying to enforce speed limits, the council decided to compromise.
Instead of banning the skateboarders on all 20 of the streets primarily used, it is moving to institute the ban on eight streets.
When the issue first came up, residents and skateboarders clashed over the issue
. Residents said the sport was dangerous and a liability on public streets, while the downhill skateboarders, which including children and adults, felt they had as much right to the streets as bicyclists and pedestrians.
Dozens of young downhill skateboarders lined up to address the council. Even two-time world-champion downhill skateboarder, Kevin Reimer
, flew in from Canada to be heard.
"I have skated thousands of hills, and in those thousands are every hill in Laguna Beach, but there is only one I deem truly dangerous--Alta Vista," he told the council.
The ordinance being considered will require one more reading before it can go into effect. If and when it does, it will ban downhill skateboarding on specific streets, and it will limit the speed limit to 25 mph on the other streets, which should help to prevent further near-misses between residents and the downhill-skateboarding community.
City staff is still investigating off-street alternatives for the downhill skateboarders.