The Carmel City Council introduced an amendment at its Sept. 16 meeting that expands the list of places that skateboards and other wheeled toy vehicles are banned.
The proposal adds Carmel Midtown, the Arts & Design District and all parking garages as places where skateboards and scooters are not allowed. It also proposes banning them in Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation parks except on greenways, trails, multi-use paths and designated skate parks. Bicycles are not included in the ban.
“We have had reports of youth skateboarding in the Midtown garages, coming down the ramps that is incredibly dangerous to everyone involved, probably more dangerous to the skateboarder than the vehicles who cannot see them going the speed they are down the ramps,” Carmel Redevelopment Commission Director Henry Mestetsky told the council, adding that the ordinance must be updated for “no skateboarding” signs to be posted in the garages.
Mestetsky said the amendments reflect areas of town redeveloped since the city last updated the ordinance. Other places already on the list include Carmel Civic Square, Carmel City Center, Rotary Plaza and Carmel Veteran’s Memorial. Violators are fined up to $100 for a first or second offense and up to $500 for subsequent violations.
Michael Klitzing, director of the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Dept., said the amendment would put into law existing rules in local parks.
“We want to make sure the skaters know they’re still welcome in our parks,” he said. “We want them to come to our parks, but only the areas that they are currently allowed to use now.”
Councilor Laura Campbell expressed concern about the amendments.
“I’m just really surprised, because several months ago we were talking about a smoking ordinance, and I heard concerns about people’s health,” she said. “Here, it seems we’re trying to prevent people from being physically active in these areas, and I’ve yet to see that it’s an issue.”
Councilor Ron Carter said the existing ordinance was approved because skateboarders had been damaging public property, such as benches and steps, costing the city thousands of dollars. He requested that the amendments specifically include electric scooters, too.
The council sent the ordinance to the Finance, Utilities and Rules Committee, which has not announced a meeting date.