Skateboarders convince Council to hold bill expanding ban, fines

Posted: October 05, 2012

AFTER A GROUP of skateboarders protested a bill before City Council Thursday, the lawmakers opted to hold off.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman David Oh on behalf of the Nutter administration, would expand the city's ban on skateboarding, biking and rollerblading on public property, and would increase penalties. Under the measure, damage to public artwork would be added as an offense. Violators could face up to a $2,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

The skateboarders were concerned about the tough penalties and questioned the definiton of artwork. Robert Williams, a Temple University student, told Council that the bill was "unclear and unreasonable. It does not define what [artwork] encompasses. Any slab of concrete could be construed as artwork."

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell was concerned about the penalties, and Councilman Bill Green said the issues raised by the skateboarders needed to be revisited. Oh decided to hold the bill, which was set to be approved.

"We're not asking people not to skateboard anywhere in Philadelphia, but [just not] in those places where we've memorialized those who died," Oh said.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the administration would work with Council to get the bill passed.

In other news: Council passed a bill sponsored by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. that would establish a banking-review committee. He said the panel would "keep track of how banks are performing in low- and moderate-income communities."


Contact Jan Ransom at ransomj@phillynews.com or 215-854-5218. Follow her on Twitter @Jan_Ransom.

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