Common council overrides veto on downtown skateboarding

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Just days after Mayor Kathy Sheehan vetoed action to repeal part of a decades-old ban on skateboarding in downtown Albany, the common council overrode her veto Monday night. The decision, 12-0, reaffirms the council’s decision to repeal part of the city code.

“I’m really proud of my council members that reaffirmed our commitment to this piece of legislation that we unanimously passed at our last council meeting,” said Councilmember Gabriella Romero, who represents Albany’s 6th ward, said.

That legislation repealed part of the city code that had previously barred skateboarding on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, courtyards and driveways in a portion of downtown Albany. Specifically in the area around Lark Street south of Madison Avenue on the west, Clinton Avenue on the north, Broadway on the east and Myrtle Avenue on the south.

“The way it was before was that some wards in the downtown area were not allowed to skateboard. The restriction on movement was banned there, and that was totally different than uptown Albany,” Romero said.

Members of the city’s skateboarding community applauding the council’s decision, “It’ll simply allow skateboarders the safe passage, from say the skatepark, down to Lark Street, or perhaps down to Pearl Street, or even the new skatepark that’s being built on Broadway,” Ted Cangero explained.

But not everyone who attended Monday’s council meeting supported the council’s actions, including the mayor’s chief of staff, who presented data, including the number of recent violations served, during the public comment period.

In a statement, Chief of Staff David Gallin said, “The Common Council has made traveling on our sidewalks more dangerous for children, the elderly, and differently-abled. This action was totally unnecessary and ignored the wishes of our residents who wanted legislation that made skateboarding equitable and safe.”

Mayor Sheehan vetoed the repeal last week, citing concerns over the potential dangers skateboarding on sidewalks brought to downtown areas.

Cangero says he understands those concerns, “I think that it is something we have to address, but I don’t think that that concern was worth throwing out the whole bill and going back to the drawing board with everything.”

Despite the override, skateboarding will still be banned on public monuments. Legislation addressing their use on sidewalks, as well as other non-vehicular modes of transportation, will be addressed by the council in the future.

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