Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shelby Farms Skate

Yesterday, the County Commission's Conservation Committee approved a master plan for Shelby Farms that includes an expanded Patriot Lake, improved park access, and even a small beach area. The master plan was designed by New York-based field operations.

My colleague Bianca Phillips covered the meeting for the Flyer and she knew I would be interested in the fact that Commissioner David Lillard was looking out for roller bladers and skaters.

Apparently, Lillard is something of a skater himself and was concerned that the plan's proposed pedestrian entrance and loop around the landfill would be a stone dust trail. Which would be rather difficult for skaters to use.

field operations principal James Corner said that was something they hadn't thought about but would consider in going forward with the plan.

Lillard also cited a proposed boardwalk around Patriot Lake as a potential problem for cyclists and skaters.

I'm so glad he brought those issues up.

I used to skate at Tom Lee Park and it's just awful. Though there are these nice, wide, smooth squares of sidewalk, they are interspersed with about a foot of cobblestones in between each one.

I get that it's a nod to the cobblestone landing — I sure hope it is — but it's not fun to skate. It's like you're skating nicely along, though not for very long, and you hit this big bump. Then you're back on smooth sidewalk, then another bump, and it goes on like this, one jarring bump every 10 seconds. If that.

(I can demonstrate this concept better with my hands and some very strange noises, but I'm finding it very difficult to explain here.)

Once you get going pretty fast, it's easier to ignore it, but if a strong wind is blowing or you're tired, just forget about it.

I even once advanced the theory that Tom Lee was designed this way on purpose to keep skaters from using the park. I don't really believe that's true, but the other options are that it either didn't cross anyone's mind or it did and they didn't care.

Either way, it looks like I need to thank Commissioner Lillard for mentioning skaters before the path is built.

The Shelby Farms plan goes before the full commission Monday, August 4th.


Stacey Greenberg said...

send him my thanks too!

Bianca said...

Next time you skate out there, PLEASE take a camera and get a shot of Lillard on his roller blades. And then we can use that when we quote him in the FlyBy.

marycash said...

I've never seen him there! But I'll be looking for him from now on (but only to thank him, of course).