Pardall Tunnel is officially off-limits to skateboarders following a push by campus police and the administration to curtail skateboard related accidents.
The recently reinforced regulation prohibits skateboarding on both the walkway and the bicycle path of Pardall Tunnel – violators will be cited with a $35 ticket and are required to enroll in a bicycle safety class. This renewed commitment to reducing skateboard related accidents marks the second time in two years that the university has considered banning boarding on campus altogether.
UC Police Dept. Spokesman Sgt. Matt Bowman said campus police are committed to protecting the right to ride on campus, although serious restrictions may be implemented if police are not able to contain the number of accidents.
“We will do what we can so that skateboarding remains a lawful and viable form of transportation on campus,” Bowman said. “However, if it continues to the way it does at this point, it is realistic that [skateboarding] could become unlawful altogether on campus.”
As a result of complaints from an anonymous group of faculty, students and staff members, Bowman said the police department was asked to step up its law enforcement efforts around the tunnel.
“There is no change in the skateboard laws on campus,” Bowman said. “It has always been unlawful to skateboard through the Pardall Tunnel. The police department has had political pressure from the campus to reinforce campus skateboarding laws. I think this highlights the importance of skateboarding safety on campus.”
Danny Jolles, a fourth-year sociology major, said he was unaware of the signs prohibiting skateboarding through Pardall Tunnel until he was given a ticket two weeks ago.
“The sign is the smallest sign on Pardall Tunnel,” Jolles said. “It’s blue and the size of a normal piece of paper, which mixes in with all the other signs on the tunnel. I see hundreds of skateboarders go through there everyday. It just doesn’t catch your eye.”
Jolles said he feels skateboarding related accidents on campus are minor in comparison to bicycle collisions.
“I’ve seen about 100 bike accidents since I’ve been here and maybe one skateboarding crash,” Jolles said. “I’ve seen people have to jump off their skateboards before, but I’ve never seen anyone get wrecked. It’s really stupid when they are trying to ban skateboarding when there is an admittedly larger bike problem.”
However, Associate Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Ron Cortez said the Pardall Tunnel ban resulted from the pathway’s large number of accidents.
“Over 50 percent of skateboarding accidents occur between Pardall Tunnel and HSSB,” Cortez said. “We have designated this year to make every effort possible to make skateboarding safer on campus, that’s what we are monitoring. At the end of the year, we can take a look at our next steps.”
According to Cortez, the decision to bolster law enforcement was a result of a vote from the student skateboard committee. He noted that alternate methods for limiting accidents are open for debate and include ideas such as having a path made exclusively for skating.
“One of the mechanisms to reduce these injuries on campus was to step up our enforcement on campus with our existing rules, specifically around Pardall Tunnel,” Cortez said. “We are looking at applying more law enforcement and also into a separate path for skateboarders, so the pedestrians can walk more toward the middle of the tunnel.”
Still, Jolles said he felt the citation was unjust.
“I asked who to make my check out to, and when they responded the UC Regents, all I could think was great, 35 more dollars for nuclear weapons,” Jolles said. “On top of that, I had to sign up for a bike safety class for a skateboarding ticket. It doesn’t make any sense.”