Posted by: conorsjohnson | March 12, 2010

The Outsider group rationale

By The Outsider group

When our group first started out we were all very confused how we wanted to approach skate parks, bike paths, and public spaces. We had so many opportunities that it was hard to narrow the selections down. Eventually we decided to each focus on different aspects. Two people looked into the new Washington-Jefferson skate park while the other two members researched biking and public spaces. Our intended message was to spread the knowledge of all three topics. When all three messages came together they became very powerful and the intended message was received.

Our intended audience was definitely the college age student but even stretched towards people in their late 50’s or adolescents for public spaces. We were not able to conduct a survey to collect data about analytics but through facebook and twitter we feel we reached our target audience very effectively.

The most successful components of the project were the blog posts and the video. Everyone contributed a vast amount of information in their blog posts. Our blog was very successful and was set up in a very easy to read format that attracts readers. The video that we created was also very successful. The editing was done very well and the footage of the actual site of the new skate park gave people a visual reminder of where it will be located. When everything was put together for the final project we realized all of the hard work we put in finally paid off.

Although it seemed like we had a lot of time to complete this project, there was a little bit of urgency to have to get things done at the end of the term.  This is because we had to do other things on the side so when it came time to have certain things done, we were in a hurry to get it done.  So if we had more time to complete this project I feel that we would have been able to get more interviews done to make our project that much better and even if we did not get more interviews, we would have been able to make the two that we had look that much better.  Money didn’t have a role in what we were able to do but when it came to access, if we were able to have a little more access we might have been able to get more information on the new skate park being built.

The specific challenge that our group had during this project was the communication factor.  Although we had email access, this was a big project that had a lot of components with it so if we were able to work together as a group more often in class it would have made things a lot easier.  We would have liked to have a little more group activity during the lab sections because even though some of the things that we did during those labs were beneficial, we could have used that time to better our projects.

Posted by: conorsjohnson | March 12, 2010

The Outside Final Review

The Outsider Final Review

Parks create eco-friendly environments, bring local people out from their houses, let them have playful time outside, and give people positive energy. Although people are well aware of numerous benefits that the new skate park will bring to the community, people will not be very happy about this people will not be very happy about this $500,000 project if it doesn’t promise the public safety issue. There were negative perceptions toward public spaces because there have been many small and big criminal accidents happening in public spaces. Study of “Crime Mapping Washington’s Deception Pass State Park” says that Wayside State Park, one of the Oregon State parks, was once closed because of increasing criminal activity.  Last year a homeless man was killed by two other homeless people in Skinner Butte Park.  Emily Proudfoot, city landscape architect of Eugene has a full understanding of this concern and she mentioned about a “Public Safety Strategy” that will make changes to Washington- Jefferson Park area, which currently is “not safe” and “not pleasant.” Cooperating with Eugene police, using webcams and relocating the playground and the restroom is a part of the Public Safety Strategy.

What the public wants to have in its community is not just a covered space to skateboard. They want the skate park to be profitable to the community and, of course, safe to use. Emily stressed that they are putting great efforts to deal with public safety issue and to make it economically beneficial; however, in the end, “it’s really more about the community taking ownership of their own park.”

At this point, it looks like the skate park that’s planned to go in at the Washington-Jefferson Street Park is set and ready to go.  Although the final design has been voted on by the community at various meetings, there’s still a little more work that has to be done to make sure that it fits in the community as an effective space near the downtown area. For more information, feel free to check out the SkateEugene.org web log posting here.

On another note, it looks like Google Maps now has a tool to find bike paths and lanes to use, which should come as a great service to Eugene residents, especially since Eugene is number nine in the country for bicycle friendliness. It apparently strives to avoid hills and to take paths instead of roads unless they have designated bike lane, which should provide useful to businesses like Pedalers Express who use bikes to deliver items all around the downtown area.

Recently, the Register-Guard also announced that a driver who struck a bicyclist and the sped off on the hill of 30th avenue was sentenced to 7½ years in prison. This instance shows just why it is crucial to have bike paths designated for cyclists in Eugene and in proper working order. Paths in the Amazon & Fern Ridge area have been prone to flooding recently and although the City of Eugene plans on fixing them, right now people either have to suffer with it or take an alternate route. For more information, check out Webikeeugene.org here.

In addition to all of this we found that Public parks offer a quite relaxing place for people of all ages to gather and have a great time. The use of public parks is underutilized in many cities. A group called Project for Public Spaces is trying to change this. Although they have been relatively successful in turning around public spaces, most public parks are seeing a decline in funding. One reason for this decline in Park use is due to the lack of funding they receive. Without proper funding parks are going to start losing their maintenance and services. This leads to dirtier parks and even less visitors. Terre Haute in Indiana is holding an input meeting to set up a 5-year plan for their city parks. Overall, the information all led me to believing that Public Parks are unfortunately the victims of a lack of funding and advertising. Many people are discouraged by bad weather and lack of knowledge of parks. If more people knew about the opportunities they have in their community it would benefit them greatly.

Moving to skateboarding, the negative impact of the economy on nearly every industry over the past year is clearly evident. The national spotlight naturally shines on those industries that are most popular. Skateboarding is a seldom looked at industry that has taken a significant financial blow during the past year. Not only has skate park use declined but many things associated with skateboarding have taken a considerable hit as well. “The need for safe, legal and public facilities for skateboarders” has been a need in nearly every community.

After doing research and looking at different surveys that have been taken, I can now see that bicycle riding in the United States is declining.  One of the main reasons for this decrease is the safety issues that go along with riding your bike on the road.  When someone starts riding on the road, they not only have to worry about taking care of themselves but they have to realize that the car traffic around them is also putting their lives in danger.  This is because in typical high traffic areas there is not an abundance of bike paths, which means that more bikers are put on the road and more accidents are prone to happen.

Even though bicycling has been decreasing over the past couple of years, it doesn’t mean that the biking accidents have also.  Each and every year around seven hundred bicycling deaths occur and many more injuries take place.  Seven hundred deaths are way too many lives that are being lost each and every year.  After doing research and seeing where bike paths are primarily located, I can honestly say that by adding more bike paths to high traffic areas, we will be able to see a decrease in these deaths.  This will also allow for more people to feel safe on the road and in the end will allow for an increase in bicycle riding to occur.  Throughout this term, and out of all the aspects that we covered in our group, bike paths are the main thing that I think people should focus their attention on.  By turning our attention to the addition of more paths, we will allow for better bike safety and less injuries happening day in and day out.

Sources

1. http://www.skateeugene.org/archives/553

2. http://www.kval.com/news/tech/87255262.html

3. http://www.americasbestonline.com/index.php/pages/bestbicylecities.html

4. http://www.catoregon.org/?page_id=19

5. http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/24523735-41/clifton-driving-hit-billings-judge.csp

6. http://www.webikeeugene.org/index.php/2010/03/city-of-eugene-plans-to-fix-amazon-path-flooding-fern-ridge-bike-path/

7. http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=20878&folder_id=3208

8. http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/7023111-41/story.csp

9. http://www.waurisa.org/conferences/2008/presentations/DTA_wed_Walker.pdf

10. http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/15630369-41/story.csp

11. http://blip.tv/file/3208588

12. http://www.skaterscafe.com/printthread.php?t=96492

13. http://www.pps.org/parks_plazas_squares/

14. http://tribstar.com/news/x1834681879/Public-to-help-plan-for-parks-future

15. http://espn.go.com/action/skateboarding/news/story?page=Skateboarding-And-The-Economy

16. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/bike_safety

17. http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/almanac-safety.html

18. http://www.kval.com/news/8035652.html

19. http://bikeportland.org/2010/02/08/reality-check-bike-plan-includes-no-financial-commitment/

20. http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/country/254/region/159/city/10522

Posted by: ginalismgateway | March 12, 2010

The Outsider -Interview about a new skatepark in Eugene

This video is an interview with Emily Proud and Eric Purdy
about the new skate park under Washington Jefferson.

Directed by Jesse Radonski and Gina Lee

Posted by: conorsjohnson | March 5, 2010

Public Parks

Public Parks

Public parks offer a quite relaxing place for people of all ages to gather and have a great time. The use of public parks is underutilized in many cities. A group called Project for Public Spaces is trying to change this. Their motive is, “Parks succeed when people come first.” Although they have been relatively successful in turning around public spaces, most public parks are seeing a decline in funding.

One reason for this decline in Park use is due to the lack of funding they receive. It was recently announced that New York is facing a budget deficit of more than $8 billion. This includes the closure of 42 parks and 14 historic sites. New York is a major tourist destination for many people, which means this will not only affect the local citizens but also people from all over the world.

Moving closer to home, we can take a look at how Portland Parks and Recreation is handling a similar situation. A recent article brought to attention an illegal 1-mile long bike path that had been made in forest park. The main argument in the story was the bike paths affect on wild life. A quote by Fish sums up the article, “But he also pointed out that hikers cut illegal paths and nobody thinks to ban them from the park. Same for dog owners who let their pets run free in sensitive wildlife areas.”

Without proper funding parks are going to start losing their maintenance and services. This leads to dirtier parks and even less visitors. This effect is starting to be seen in New York already. Many cities have started to look towards the public for help in deciding the futures of some state Parks. Terre Haute in Indiana is holding an input meeting to set up a 5-year plan for their city parks. They are hoping that they can lighten the burden on the city for money.

Overall, the information all led me to believing that Public Parks are unfortunately the victims of a lack of funding and advertising. Many people are discouraged by bad weather and lack of knowledge of parks. If more people knew about the opportunities they have in their community it would benefit them greatly.

Sources:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/mar2010/park-m02.shtml

http://www.pps.org/parks_plazas_squares/

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/02/rogue_trail_builders_clear_mil.html

http://theithacan.org/am/publish/news/201003_State_cuts_may_eliminate_park_services.shtml

http://tribstar.com/news/x1834681879/Public-to-help-plan-for-parks-future

-Written and video by Jesse Radonski

Skate Park for young and old might be safer than playground in Eugene.

I recently revisited the Washington-Jefferson Street Park in Eugene, OR to shoot some video footage of the environment. As you can see in the video, although it was a cool sunny day, there were no children around the playground. As a matter of fact, the only child I saw was one that looked to be in his early teens shooting hoops with an older gentleman in the basketball courts. I explain this because one of the main concerns with some Whiteaker residents is the removal of the playground to replace it with a proposed skate park. Is the playground really safe enough for children, though? Should a playground that is unsafe remain unattended in part because of the main problem-people who occupy the park now, or should it be removed for a skate park that could rectify this problem?

I’ve blocked most of these people behind pillars in the video but you can see their packs and blankets scattered about. One main reason why I believe a skate park will actually make a difference is because there will actually be people who will go there to use it. But there are some conditions that should be met, should the park go in, to make sure that the homeless and the drug users don’t continue to loiter in the new skate park. The results at the Venice Beach Skate Park show that if there isn’t some sort of security, volunteer or by police, drug use or vandalism can and probably will happen. Another issue will be the lighting. As of right now, the lighting is pretty poor but if it’s not improved then there could be issues such as what happened at the Vancouver Swift Skate Park where a couple was mugged. Fortunately, as of the final plan meeting that happened at the Downtown Public Library in January, Emily Proudfoot of the Eugene Parks and Recreation Department said that there would need to be better lighting under the bridge.

Overall, there’s no “one answer” to solving the problem with the people who contribute to this crime-ridden area. Some would say that the outlawing of the sale of malt liquor helped contribute to the decline of crime in this area and is something that Portland, Oregon’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement is looking in to. Regardless, this isn’t any safe place for children to be playing in sand.

Links:

The Rattler – http://therattler.org/oten-feb.html

Examiner Venice article – http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-7575-LA-Skateboarding-Examiner~y2009m10d17-Homeless-invade-Venice-Beach-Skate-Park-as-LAPD-bans-VSA-volunteer-night-watch

The Colombian Vancouver Swift article – http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/feb/17/crime-rises-after-dark-at-vancouvers-swift-skatepa/

KATU malt liquor article – http://www.katu.com/news/business/85055847.html

SW Portland KATU article – http://southwestportland.katu.com/content/city-limit-beer-types-less-street-drinking

Posted by: ginalismgateway | February 17, 2010

We want it, but we want it to be profitable and safe.

-Written and photo by Gina Lee

Give skateboards a space to roll

There are countless good reasons to have parks and public spaces in community. Parks create eco-friendly environments, bring local people out from their houses, let them have playful time outside, and give people positive energy. Although people are well aware of numerous benefits that the new skate park will bring to the community, eventually it’s all about the money. People will not be very happy about this $500,000 project if it doesn’t promise any economical return, or limited return to those people who are involved in the skateboard business. “We expected it to be a destination of skate park,” said Emily Proudfoot, city landscape architect of Eugene. The government is hoping the new skate park to attract not only local skate boarder, but also people from everywhere. The visitors won’t just come skateboard and leave, so we could expect they would bring positive economic effects to local community.

The most important thing that government should take care of is the public safety issue. There were negative perceptions toward public spaces because there have been many small and big criminal accidents happening in public spaces. Last year a homeless man was killed by two other homeless people in Skinner Butte Park. Marcus Triest, who has been skateboarding for almost 6 years, wondered “how many skateboarders who regularly skateboard or who wants to start skateboarding will visit the park” where negative people are “living.” Emily has a full understanding of this concern and she mentioned about a “Public Safety Strategy” that will make changes to Washington- Jefferson Park area, which currently is “not safe” and “not pleasant.” Cooperating with Eugene police and relocating the playground and the restroom is a part of the Public Safety Strategy. Moreover, they are thinking of using webcams around park area for both a security and a marketing purpose.

What the public wants to have in its community is not just a covered space to skateboard. They want the skate park to be  profitable to the community and, of course, safe to use. Emily stressed that they are putting great efforts to deal with public safety issue and to make it economically beneficial; however, in the end, “it’s really more about the community taking ownership of their own park.”

Eugene Park and Open Space- Benefits of Parks and Open Space
http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=668&PageID=1512&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2

Trust in Public Space- Parks & Economics/ Financing
http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=20878&folder_id=3208

Register Guard- Money is crucial to covered skate park
http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/7023111-41/story.csp

More from Interview with Emily Proudfoot

http://blip.tv/file/3208588

Register Guard- Two men arrested in killing at park
http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/15630369-41/story.csp

Posted by: cmassey8 | February 12, 2010

Unforced Injuries Taking a Toll

By Crary Massey

With gas prices rising and people making an effort to be more active, bicycle riding is something that is gaining more and more popularity throughout our nation, especially in the Pacific Northwest. But with biking on the rise, are bike friendly areas also on the same path? If not then the rise of bikers will also result in more injuries that we need to be aware of. When you are biking along the road in the bike lanes, your life is in the hands of the drivers of cars that go along side of you. There are different rules to follow such as ride with traffic and not against it, where bright colors, use your signals, and other things along those lines. But in the end you have to trust that the motorist driving the vehicle next to you doesn’t slip up or your life may be at risk.

Unfortunately, drivers do slip-up which has caused around seven hundred bicycling deaths per year. An example of this occurred in Eugene on June 16, 2007 when 42-year-old Elaine Shotridge was struck by a car who was weaving in and out of traffic. She died later that day at the hospital. I am not saying that every single person that this happens to can be saved, but if there are steps taken to get these bikers off the road and onto paths, than lives can be saved.

Places such as Portland have taken steps to put in paths to travel safely but those are still on the outskirts of high traffic areas. Eugene has also made huge strides but “there is still work to be done” says Matt Porter, a University of Oregon student who rides over fifty miles a week throughout the Eugene area. He says that he has almost been hit on numerous occasions by vehicles that were not aware of their surroundings. By taking steps to build more bike paths, people like Matt Porter will be able to ride their bikes freely and feel safe when doing it.

Seven hundred deaths a year is a lot of people that have lost their lives due to other people’s mistakes. By building more bike paths, this number will be able to drop and more people will be able to ride safely and live another day.

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/bike_safety
http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/almanac-safety.html
http://www.kval.com/news/8035652.html
http://bikeportland.org/2010/02/08/reality-check-bike-plan-includes-no-financial-commitment/
http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/country/254/region/159/city/10522

Posted by: conorsjohnson | February 5, 2010

Skateboarding and the Economy

By Conor Johnson

The negative impact of the economy on nearly every industry over the past year is clearly evident. The national spotlight naturally shines on those industries that are most popular. Skateboarding is a seldom looked at industry that has taken a significant financial blow during the past year. Not only has skate park use declined but many things associated with skateboarding have taken a considerable hit as well. Without a significant upturn in the economy in the near future, skateboarding could be heading down a slippery slope.

A relatively up and coming sport geared toward a younger audience, skateboarding’s impact on the economy branches out through its various sponsors. Without money to spend, young skaters are forced to vacate their local skate parks and take their time elsewhere. This can and has started to lead to more dangerous and illegal activities. “The need for safe, legal and public facilities for skateboarders” has been a need in nearly every community. In addition, companies such as MONSTER and AMP, who are closely associated with the sport, have started losing this source of revenue due to the decline.

Thus the challenge arises to keep kids interested in skateboarding. Advertising strategies have to be devised that will encourage kids to head out to their local skate parks. Companies can do this through skate magazines but those too seem to lose consumers. Many communities are making vast changes similar to Eugene and have plans for an entirely new skate park. Although expensive, the new park has created a lot of buzz over the past few months and the anticipation is building. Local skate shops are happier than they have been in awhile. The expected rise in profits cannot come at a better time for them.

In addition to focusing on skate parks it is important to realize how the economy affects skate shops. When the economy is falling rapidly so will sales at a skate shop. Their ability to compete with corporate stores nearly flat lines and many are forced to simply shut down. Many local Eugene skate shops have experienced this downward trend but Tactics has survived mainly due to the fact that it does not have as much competition in the area.

In a later blog post, an interview with the manager will be shown as well as pictures of the local skating community and hot spots around Eugene.

Links:

http://espn.go.com/action/skateboarding/news/story?page=Skateboarding-And-The-Economy

http://www.skateeugene.org/forum/2010-01-13-dreamland-f

http://www.skaterscafe.com/printthread.php?t=96492

http://www.sublimited.net/skateboard-parks/binary-skatepark-shuts-down.html

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20100203/SPORTS/2030320/1002/SPORTS/Kids+flip+over+Eastwood+Skatepark

http://espn.go.com/action/skateboarding/blog/_/post/4883417

Posted by: jesserad | January 30, 2010

Skate Park in Downtown Eugene May Revitalize Area

Written and photo by Jesse Radonski

Eugene, OR – It was a sunny yet cool afternoon on January 27th. I figured that if I’m going to write about the new skate park that’s in the works for the Washington-Jefferson street bridge area, I better go take a look for myself. I wanted to get some first-hand shots to show you readers what it looks like now. As you can see above, it’s pretty desolate. I wanted to get closer but there was a large gang of teenagers that didn’t look friendly enough for me to hang around with the equipment I was using. Bringing in active skateboarders and to using space that is going to waste will hopefully curb the problem. Also, this will be the only covered skate park in the Eugene / Springfield area which ensures outdoor usage even during the usual rainy Oregon weather. Check out these similar parks in Vancouver, B.C. and in Portland, OR.

The City of Eugene, Parks and Open Space has been keeping people up-to-date on much of what has been happening lately with the planning of the park. Earlier this month, I went to their final public meeting at the Eugene Public Library where Dreamland Skateparks received feedback of the design of the park one last time ranging from general public to skateboarders young and old alike. In fact, this was the fourth session to get feedback and I believe this is done so that it doesn’t turn out like some others. Obviously, there are some wrinkles that still need to be ironed out in the plan of constructing an 18,000 square foot park. Emily Proudfoot, the Landscape Architect for the City of Eugene, Parks and Open Space spoke about how there is going to be new lighting needed for the space. Architects also spoke about having to lay down material to make the mushy grass areas more stable for the concrete. From the sound of it though, things should be well under way for skateboarders and park enthusiasts alike in the Eugene / Springfield area. For more information, check out SkateEugene.org and the final model of the park below.

Links

Vancouver Skate Plaza – http://www.skateparktour.ca/BC/Van_Plaza.htm

Burnside Skate Park – http://www.burnsideskatepark.blogspot.com/

City of Eugene, Parks and Open Space – http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=217&PageID=3851&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2

Dreamland Skate Parks – http://www.dreamlandskateparks.com/

Little used skate park losing big bucks – http://www2.timesreview.com/NR/stories/R011410_skatepark_GAN

SkateEugene.org – http://www.skateeugene.org/

Final Design [Video] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA2dyOz2dcs&feature=player_embedded

Written by Gina Lee

Photo by Forbes

Despite the notorious pouring that starts from late fall and continues through early spring, cities in the Pacific Northwest region always ranks high in “best city for outdoor activity,” or “best cities for bicycling.” According to Forbes’ 2009 research on “Best Cities for the Outdoors,” Portland, Ore ranked 14th and Seattle, Wash ranked in 10th. The research compared 40 of the largest cities in the U.S. and included data such as spending per resident, park land as a percentage of city land, number of recreation facilities, various weather conditions and air quality. When you look into the data, you will not be surprised by the result. Seattle spent $242 per resident which is the second biggest largest followed by San Francisco that spent $253and was chosen as the best city.

Oregon decided to “dedicate $215,223,557 which is 7.5 percent of net Lottery proceeds to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.” The state had to increase their budget on Oregon Parks and Recreation Department mainly because of an increase of park operation and maintenance. That’s also one of the reasons they raised Oregon state park entrance fee, the first in 13 years. Besides, Oregon puts efforts on creating new open spaces for the public as well. Portland opened a new park in the downtown area and 2 million out of 9.5 million, which was used for construction, was donated by Jordan Schnitzer. Eugene decided to redesign Washington-Jefferson Park and build a new skate park there. City of Eugene Parks and Open Space website stated briefly about the project and the project will need $450,000 or more to design and build the new park. The city started $250,000 fundraising for the skate park.

There are people who argue about government’s plan and investment in public spaces such as parks and skate parks rather than cutting the fund in this economic down turn. Also there are people who doubt about benefits that are expected from public spaces. Recently, parks are turning into a place that people fear to go to because of people who are drunken, drugged or out-of–control. Study of “Crime Mapping Washington’s Deception Pass State Park” says that Wayside State Park, one of the Oregon State parks, was once closed because of increasing criminal activity. Moreover, the study found out crimes occur more frequently from May 15th to September 15th when people actually go outside and enjoy outdoors. Thus, government should pay more attention to make people feel safer of being out in public places, or creating more public spaces is a waste of tax money.

1.Rebecca Ruiz Forbes “Best Cities For The Outdoors”

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/11/best-cities-outdoors-lifestyle-health-outdoors_slide_8.html?thisSpeed=undefined

2.Brian Fiske Bicycling.com “Best Cities For Cycling: Still The Greatest -These five cities remain America’s top places for cycling”

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s-2-18-17077-1,00.html

3.Oregon 2009-11 Governor’s Recommended Budget

http://www.oregon.gov/DAS/BAM/GRB0911intro.shtml

4.Oregon state park fees go up in 2010, first increase in 13 years

http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2009/12/oregon_state_park_fees_go_up_i.html

5.Skatepark plan posted on Eugene city’s website.

http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=217&PageID=3851&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2

6.Crime Mapping Washington’s Deception Pass State Park

http://www.waurisa.org/conferences/2008/presentations/DTA_wed_Walker.pdf

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