Neighbors frustrated by Skateboarders
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Three Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officers spent part of their Monday afternoon watching and waiting for skateboarders in Southend to make their move. Technically, skateboarding is prohibited on city streets by ordinance. The ordinance code does not address skateboarding on sidewalks. Neighbors along Tryon Street at Camden Road say the skateboarders dart through traffic, leave behind trash, and some have left their mark with graffiti. As soon as police leave, neighbor Rob Fideor says the skateboarders come right back.
“They’re on the road blocking traffic. So many times I have to stop because I almost hit one,” said Fideor.
Fideor doesn’t just dodge them on the street. They also cruise right by his front door. Sometimes he hears them, before he sees them.
“The wheels going through the cracks in the road, screaming and yelling.”
He understands, to a point.”Kids are kids,” he said. “I was a skateboarder once too, but I wasn’t doing graffiti, smashing bottles, disrespecting someone’s front lawn.” Other neighbors say the skateboarders are bullies and pick on their pets. Not all the skateboarders, but a few.
“I think there’s a misconception that skateboarders are troublemakers.”
Josh Frazier owns one of their favorite hangouts across the street, Black Sheep Skate Shop. He says there is a lot of pedestrian traffic through Southend and that the graffiti problems can’t be blamed on skateboarders. Frazier says he understands the frustration, but he says there is a trade-off with urban living. “I think anytime you have people living in the urban city, there’s going to be issues with noise, graffiti and things like that,” he said. When it comes to enforcement, police have to balance their time, effort and court resources. Despite private efforts to curb the appeal with little roadblocks along the sidewalk, the skateboarding is almost a daily issue for Fideor. “They just move over here. You can see they waxed all this and used all that,” he said. Frazier would like to see a compromise. He says it would help if the city and county would build more skate parks. Right now, there is one off Wendover Road. He says it doesn’t meet their needs and would be more popular if it mimicked the streetscape. Neighbors say they would like to see more patrols and tougher venalities for violators. Often police seize a skateboard, but the kids just buy another one. By Sharon Smith
For a list of skate parks in Charlotte, click here.