Skyline Drive may be added to the existing list of eight Laguna Beach streets where skateboarding is prohibited if the City Council adopts the staff recommendation this Tuesday.
Since enacting a skateboarding ordinance last April, which banned skateboarding on certain streets and also required safety gear, incidents involving serious skating violations on Skyline Drive increased nearly tenfold over the previous year, according to a staff report.
As a result, in item number 23 on the council agenda, staff recommends adding the entire length of Skyline Drive to the list of streets on which skateboarding is banned.
The ordinance currently prohibits skateboarding on eight of the town’s steep, curvy streets: Third Street between Park Avenue and Mermaid Street; Diamond Street north of Carmelita Street; Crestview Drive; Temple Hills Drive; Bluebird Canyon Drive, between Morningside Drive and Cress Street; Morningside Drive, between both intersections of Rancho Laguna Road and Bluebird Canyon Drive; Summit Drive, between Katella Street and Bluebird Canyon Drive; and Alta Vista Way, between Bonita Way and Solana Way.
The number of skateboarding related calls received by police changed little compared to the previous year, the report says, but the type of calls did change: disturbance calls that involved noisy gatherings of skateboarders, increased to 81 in 2011-12 from 47 in 2010-11; regulatory complaints, such as no helmet violations, skating after dark or performing stunts, also increased, to 22 from four in the previous year; but accidents reports decreased to seven from 17.
Reports of “downhill complaints” likewise decreased to 91 from 135 in the previous year, with the exception of Skyline Drive, which rocketed to 19 complaints from just two in the previous year. The report distinguishes between “serious violations” involving callers who reported such violations as a skateboarder running a stop sign or coming around a blind curve on the wrong side of the street, and “concerned caller” violations where the caller simply noted skateboard activity and thought an officer should look into it.
Calls about serious violations overall decreased to 56 this past year, compared to 84 the previous year. Complaints about Bluebird Canyon, for example, decreased to none from 33. Most areas tracked either increased slightly or decreased, with the exception of Skyline Drive.
On the flip side, while Park Avenue and Nyes Place continued to generate complaints about a high volume of downhill skateboarders, the volume of calls on those streets remains fairly constant, and the staff spared them the ax in their evaluation this time around, recommending only monitoring for now.