Get on board with Lebo’s proposed ordinance change

Published Feb 20, 2013 at 10:29 am (Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 10:29 am)

At a recent Mt. Lebanon commissioners meeting, commissioners opened the discussion to change the ordinance that prohibits skateboarding on Mt. Lebanon’s streets. The current ordinance reads “no person shall ride a skateboard, coaster, skates or similar device upon any street.”

Obviously, safety needs to remain a top concern, but “banning” skateboarding from the municipality streets is not only ineffective – police typically give warnings as opposed to citations for those who violate the ordinance, according to municipal manager Stephen Feller – it is also stifling Mt. Lebanon’s youth. There are no designated skate parks in Mt. Lebanon. The closest option will be Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark, which will be built in Carnegie. In an era where childhood obesity rates are higher than ever and physical activity is a top priority, limiting the ways in which people – young and old alike – can burn calories is just ridiculous. Add to the fact that bicycling is allowed in Mt. Lebanon, as it should be – is there really that much of a difference between riding a bike or riding a skateboard? We don’t think so.

Now, we are not suggesting that people skateboard or roller blade down busy streets like Washington Road, Castle Shannon Boulevard or Cochran Road – where it will likely remain prohibited, as these are the municipality’s core business districts. But, in residential neighborhoods or parks, there really isn’t harm. Skateboarders and those on roller skates should have to wear protective gear, most importantly, helmets.

Should the ordinance change, skateboarding will still be prohibited in parking garages, and we see no problem with that. School properties will establish their own rules when it comes to skateboarding.

A public hearing for the proposed change will take place at the commission’s Feb. 25 meeting. We urge not only parents, but those who skateboard or roller skate to attend. This is a chance to have your voice heard, and it is a chance to show the municipality that you are willing to be responsible if the ordinance does indeed get changed.

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