SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department rolled out improvements to the Waller Street Skate Park today—a project spearheaded by local skaters who helped shape its inclusive design that honors its street skateboarding roots.
The skateboarding area on the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park has been beloved since 2011, despite its cracked surface and markings leftover from days as a parking lot. The improvements unveiled today aren’t just a makeover but a transformation of the area from informal gathering spot to officially sanctioned skate park. It is the first time in the nation that a city has transformed a decommissioned street into a permitted skate park.
The $218,000 makeover includes a high-quality asphalt repaving topped with acrylic overlay ideal for skating. The park kept its nontraditional spirit with elements meant to mimic the urban skate environment such as k-rails, granite blocks and curbs. A new landscape strip allows skaters to both sit and skate amid trees and shrubs. Many of the new elements were salvaged from Public Works storage by DLX Skateshop—including granite ledges that once lured skaters to Market Street. Old defensive architecture elements that once attempted to stop skaters from grinding the edges and corners was removed.
Funding was largely provided through the 2012 Clean & Safe Park Bond’s Community Opportunity Fund.
“This is a special place in the Haight and Golden Gate Park,” said District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston. “The community really came together – advocacy, vision, and support from the skating community, collaboration between Rec and Park and Public Works, and the generosity of San Francisco voters, who overwhelmingly approved the 2012 Park Bond that funded these improvements. This park will serve our skate community for years to come.”
“Waller Street has always been embraced by the skating community and their love for the place was really the engine behind our renovation,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “The result is a park that is challenging enough for the veteran skater and safe for someone just learning to ride.”
Justin Marks of Low Key Skate Shop, the force behind establishing the skate park more than a decade ago, also worked to guide its renovation.
“Growing up in this neighborhood, I’d go home after school, grab my board, and skate the DMV and roll around Golden Gate Park. It was great but we always wondered why we didn’t have skate parks,” Marks said. “Now we have this beautiful skate park here and the cool part is it’s flexible and urban space that’s also part of Golden Gate Park.”
“To work on this project with the city was an absolute dream. This is the future of skateboarding. You are witnessing it here and now. Any city can do this,” said Ashley Rehfeld of DLX.
“Waller street is a model of efficiency, effectiveness, and community, said Alec Beck with the Skate Park Project ,Tony Hawk’s national skate park charity. “We hope for this to become the model for other municipalities.”