No matter how hard they may try, the UCI administration will never be able to stop skateboarders from endangering their lives bombing hills to get to class a couple minutes early.
It’s a sad reality that stubborn people will race around inner and outer Ring Road trying to shave seconds off of their passing period commute, and one that UCI needs to face. While they can issue warnings and tickets to offenders, I think a better response to the plague of irresponsible skaters would be to make the landscape more tolerable for pedestrians and speedsters to cohabitat.
When I say landscape, I literally mean the roads that comprise Ring Road. For a school constantly under construction, there are a shocking amount of uneven paths, tree trunks breaking through the asphalt, and potholes on Inner and Outer Ring Road. While it’s perfectly fine for most motorized vehicles and bikes to travel over, skateboards can experience sudden stops from the smallest of bumps in the sidewalk.
Again, it’s been made obvious by the school that skateboarding is not welcome on the campus, and for good reason. UCI’s hilly environment is a breeding ground for careless skaters to weave in and out of heavy traffic, creating much more anxiety in my class-to-class walk than there already is. Furthermore, the often startlingly, uneven pavement is the perfect catalyst for someone to get ejected from their board or crash into an unsuspecting pedestrian.
I’m not completely against using boards at UCI, as I often use my own to get to school in the mornings. There are places on campus that should and shouldn’t have boards travelling on them, but the school needs to realize that even if these rules are strictly enforced, people will break them.
Instead of acting like skateboards can be phased out of use, work should be made to improve their usefulness in a safe and productive way by smoothing out any kinks riders may encounter.
Fixing the pavement on campus would also benefit pedestrians. People are constantly tripping over small holes that they don’t see because they’re either too busy looking at their phones or watching for racing skaters. And, while it’s hilarious (and, admittedly, a little mean), I would live much happier at UCI knowing that I could walk in a straight line without having to worry about jamming my heel in a tiny crack and cracking my water bottle after falling down.
It’s bizarre that this is an issue at all. The University of California system surely has the resources to fill in few potholes and repave uneven concrete slabs, and there’s no excuse for it not to happen. With all of the visitors our school attracts, it’s unsightly to have sidewalks falling apart and torn to shreds from years of use. The practical problems our poor paths create are annoying, but the aesthetic issues they bring up diminish an otherwise beautiful, sprawling campus.
Skateboarders will never stop being irresponsible, but UCI’s administration can. Fixing terrible infrastructure is their best bet in quelling the skating epidemic on campus, and hopefully it will happen before I walk to class next.
Isaac Espinosa is a third-year electrical engineering major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.