The Scoop on the New Skate Park

skate park

With the new Houston Skate Park all over the news, it seemed appropriate and necessary to get a clear look at what is going on around the grand opening banners and protest posters.

I chose to interview Desmond Startin, a Houston native and father who has been riding for over 15 years.

1. Tell us about the Spring (Houston), Texas Skate Park. What do you know about the project and how have you been involved?

The Spring Skatepark has been in the works for 3 years or more. Unfortunately, BMXers were not invited to the table at the conceptual phase. PUSH, Public Use Skateparks for Houston, a 501c3 organization was at the table and advocated for a skateboard only park. Upon hearing about the construction of the park via Facebook, myself and 3 other BMXers met with Sally Bradford of the Greenspoint Redevelopment District. This was last year, when she told us that it was not her decision to not allow bicycles and if she had the power she would change it. At that point, we formed HUB, Houston United BMXers, and began going through all the proper channels: Houston Parks and Recreation Dept., City Council Meetings and City Council Members. All pointed the finger back at Sally Bradford.

2. On the day of the grand opening, you were present with protestors regarding the “No Bikes” policy. Why is it important to you that skateboarders and bicycles share space?

Bicycles in Houston do not have access to a concrete ramp park within the city limits. We have to travel to other parks funded by surrounding municipalities. It is not just bicycles they are disallowing. They have also banned scooters. There are numerous parks in the Houston, Texas and across the nation that allow all extreme sports to share ramp parks.

3. Explain how bicycles, skateboarders, and in-line skaters sharing a park would not be a safety concern.

The safety concern has been disproven by a study done by the Portland Parks and Recreation Department. It is the inexperience of the ramp park patron that contributes to collisions. It is a common rule among ramp park patrons to take your turn and to keep a heads up. This among other park etiquette is passed down to new patrons by more seasoned patrons.

4. The latest development regarding the park is the city offering a similar park to be built for bikes only. What do you think of this idea?

First off, it is not a wise choice to spend more money on a concrete ramp park when we can share a facility. Especially, seeing that this is the largest in the nation. We are currently in talks with Sally Bradford about building a facility across the street. However, at this point it seems they still don’t understand bicycles ride the same terrain as skateboards. Instead, they are pushing for a dirt BMX track that is used for sanctioned races.

5. These projects don’t just effect cyclists and skaters, every taxpayer will be effected and has a voice. What do you think tax payers and voters should know when it comes to the decisions being made by their parks department?

To clarify, Houston Parks and Recreation does not manage or own this park. However, we do believe the Greenspoint Redevelopment district is not being fiscally responsible.


Read more articles about the new park:

Impact News

The Houston Chronicle

About the author

A.K. Klemm is a novelist, book reviewer, and freelance writer who happens to love cycling. You may find her humanities blog here: Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



7 Responses to “The Scoop on the New Skate Park”

  1. matthew bell

    I’m a bmx rider from jersey me and all me buddy’s that ride were really excited to hear this big park being build in Texas and we had plain a trip to come to this park after the opening and then we all found out that bmx bikes weren’t allowed to ride the park cause bike were banned which we all thought was unfair and clear a lot of people are upset about it and in our state it is impossible to get our towns to sign off on a skate park and we have had three or our major parks close down due to something with the state getting involved. I just don’t see how its fair for them to banned bmx on the large park in the us which thousands of rides and skates would come from all over to ride and share the good times I just think its unfair cause more and more places to ride a bmx”s are getting shut down soon were really not going to have anywhere to ride

  2. bobnet

    If bike wear the only excluded party then the argument could be made perhaps based on weight that they are more dangerous and damaging. But, light weight scooters are excluded. It could be argued that no metal grind areas are allowed, but skateboards have metal trucks. The fact that Bladers are excluded, having no metal parts and the same weight as skateboarding, shows that the policy is based strictly on prejudice. This policy is blatantly discriminatory, and based on the fact that all non-board style sports are excluded leaves me wondering how far a good class action lawsuit on behalf of bikes, scooters, Bladers, and quad-rollers could get. At the very least the legal fees and negative publicity could serve to slow this groups ability to raise future funds and influence future park choices in the area.

  3. Ryan Thomas

    Ok I can see your concern about safety but hasn’t anyone ever heard of a waiver? And don’t even start with “the pegs and frames will destroy the coping and ledges”.. We have now upgraded to plastic pegs, also aren’t your trucks made out of metal that destroys the ledge and concrete copings also? You are doing the same amount of damage bikers do. And back to the safety concern, you know how many skateboards I have seen fly out of a bowl or ramp and smaçk people in the heads or other body parts?. I have seen someone’s jaw get ripped open by a truck because of skateboard hitting it. Quit whining and start to share.

  4. Xk Wreckem

    Notice how the only people who feel uptight and concerned about this is the bikers themselves. If I was told I can not take part in the biggest skate park in the nation, I would be upset as well. What these people are NOT mentioning is the obvious reasons as to why bikes are not allowed. They put 5 million dollars into making this park. Not only will the coping/ramps be getting destroyed by metal collisions by the bikes and pegs, but they are also a major threat to the health of the people around them. This park consists of a lot of vert ramps and pools. I do not know if you have ever seen what bikes do in these, but they come flying out of nowhere and I have seen numerous occasions at parks such as bear branch, where both the biker and the skater were hospitalized due to extreme collisions. The last thing we need is the biggest nations skate park being shut down due to some careless biker flying through the air and landing on someones child. This could easily be a fatal incident. It’s not that we have anything against bikers, but we can not ignore the facts that allowing bikes/scooters in this park would be a liability for the park and the skaters themselves.

  5. Ryan Thomas

    I honestly think it is complete bullshit that they will not allow bikes. I have ridden a bike for eight years and have been wishing for a park like this to ride. a bike on forever. Us bikers have to break the law by riding in downtown on random objects and we go to jail for trying to better ourselves at a sport that isn’t allowed in almost any skatepark in Houston. We have nothing to ride, even Southside skatepark doesn’t allow bikes and its indoors. There is nowhere for us to ride except the streets and we get in trouble for what we want to do when this is suppose to be a free country and your supposed to be able to be encouraged to better yourself in what you want to do so you can have a career or hobby to keep you out of trouble. Until we are allowed our freedom in the bmxing world in Houston then there will constantly be feud between bmxers and the city. Allow us our freedom already, quick holding people back from attempting to achieve their dreams and desires.

    • Critical Mass Houston

      Very valid points Ryan, I completely agree. It really doesn’t make much sense that bikers cannot enjoy the biggest skate park in the US.

    • Moses Garza

      I believe there should be a separate park for bikes .when there is a collision between a bike and a skateboard the bike wins no doubt there are bikers that respect others and take turns then there are those who who don’t..this park has a lot of pool coping and bike pegs will destroy it .this happened at the Conroe park within 3 months after opening this park has signs that clearly say no pegs.this is exactly why bikers need their own park

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