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Spring 2022 SMPA News

2022 Annual Meeting

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) will again hold the Annual Meeting online for 2022.

Join us on Zoom (link will be emailed to all Active, paid SMPA members) on the afternoon of Monday, May 16, 2022, to elect the new slate of Directors, say goodbye to retiring and termed-out Directors, and ratify the newest Director and Treasurer, Amy Greger, who steps in to fill a director slot for an unexpired term.

In addition to giving members a view into the financial health of SMPA (it’s good), SMPA President Frank Chiappone will give an update on future plans for the organization.

We miss greeting our members face-to-face, however we do plan to hold another Member Playdate sometime in August, to let you meet and chat with Board members during a day of SMPA member-only play.

  • Board-Approved Slate of Directors:
    • Linda Fane, West Seattle
    • Gordon Sata, Central Seattle
  • Ballots sent by email to members in mid April 2022
  • Online Annual Meeting 5.15.22
    • Election of Directors
    • Ratification of Director/Treasurer
    • SMPA Business Report
    • Trivia contest with prizes

Volunteers Needed!

The Humana Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament needs you to help deliver a successful July 2022 pickleball tournament at Shoreview Park in Shoreline.

From helping to park cars, to run scoresheets to the Tournament Director, monitor courts, feed volunteers, and help check in players, we’ve a job for everyone.

Take a look at the available tournament week tasks and shifts on the Pickleball Desk signup site. You’ll meet lots of pickleball fanatics while giving back to the sport we’re all a little crazy about.

Seattle Plans and Promises

Seattle Parks District (SPR) is at work on the funding cycle for the next six years. We can hold out some hope for pickleball in Seattle. The proposed budget currently includes some money for dedicated pickleball courts and some money to extend the community centers’ opening hours.

Access the current budget proposal here, or copy and paste this in your browser: https://www.seattle.gov/seattle-park-district/park-district-planning/park-district-funding-plan.

You can find the part about dedicated pickleball courts on the last page of the “Restoring Clean, Safe & Welcoming Parks & Facilities” document.

You can also provide feedback by accessing 3 briefs survey here, by emailing PDPlanning@seattle.gov, and by participating in the Community Check-In at the upcoming April 14, 2022, 6:30pm Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners online meeting.

SMPA Apparel Store Updates

SMPA opened a new online merchandise store late last year, now updated with shirts and hoodies for the Humana SMPC.

Also, we now have tees and hoodies to celebrate Pickleball as the Washington State sport. Check it out here!

SMPC Sponsors

Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament proudly welcomes title sponsor, Humana Healthcare, in addition to Proliance Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Onix Pickleball, OneShot Pickleball paddles, and Pickleball Central, the pickleball superstore.

Ad for PlayTime Scheduler
SMPA Membership Renewal

This is SMPA membership renewal time for many of you. Click Join to go directly to MemberPlanet, our 3rd party partner that securely manages our membership database.

Questions about your membership renewal or status? Contact us and we’ll try to help.

President’s Message

Greetings, SMPA friends! 

Thank you for the tremendous passion for pickleball and the never ending support you each give SMPA as we continue to grow the sport and work with local governments to improve play in the Seattle Metro area. We saw two clear examples of this in the past month, one of which I’ll touch upon briefly, and the other which will have lasting impact for years to come. 

At 8 AM on April 2, 2022, registration opened for the 2022 Humana Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic. Within the first 24 hours, we had 409 players registered. To give you a sense of how incredible that number is, we had 450 players total in last year’s tournament. We easily passed that number within the first 48 hours. We’re thrilled that you all are so excited to play in the SMPC. Some brackets filled quickly, however, here is still an opportunity for you to register and play in the best tournament in the region. You can sign up here. Also, many people work year round to plan and make this event a great tournament (see this article). The 2022 SMPC tournament runs July 20th to 24th at Shoreview Park in Shoreline.

The other example of pickleball’s growth is more profound. On Monday, March 28th, 2022, Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5615 to make Pickleball the official sport of the state of Washington. A special thanks needs to go out to Senator John Lovick, who introduced and sponsored the bill, and to SMPA member Kate Van Gent who tirelessly worked with government officials and pickleball players to garner support for the bill. Pickleball now takes its rightful place as the official sport of the state.

Fran Myer, Pickleball Hall of Fame, and Jessica Prince, SMPA Secretary, represent us at the Pickleball as Washington State Sport bill-signing event at the Bainbridge Island Founders Courts.

Several media outlets covered this story from the start, which brings attention to the need for more courts and more opportunity to play, and highlights pickleball’s role in keeping us active and healthy. We hope the designation will attract the private sector to invest and build more places to play and other pickleball-related businesses in the area.

Neither of those two moments would have been possible without the SMPA community stepping up, bringing their passion, and making themselves seen and heard. I love this community, and together we’ll continue to do great things.

Paddles up!
Frank Chiappone, SPMA President

Categories
News

Pickleball Open House – Summary

On Wednesday March 30th 2022, Seattle Parks held the first of two public meetings about their new outdoor pickleball study.

Seattle Parks said they will publish their meeting notes. I’m expecting they will be post them on their project web page.

In the meantime, people keep asking me what happened at the meeting. Here are my notes and my attempt at answering your most frequent questions.

–Miguel

Was this meeting about pickleball in the city of Seattle or the entire Seattle metro area?

It was organized by Seattle Parks to share the plan they are currently developing for the future of outdoor pickleball in the city of Seattle proper.

In five minutes or less, what is in the plan?

Seattle Parks’ plan is considering:

  • painting pickleball lines on more outdoor tennis courts in the next two years,
  • turning some little used outdoor tennis courts into dedicated pickleball courts in the next two to five years,
  • creating new dedicated outdoor pickleball facilities in the next five to ten years.

Overall, it is a good plan. The devil will be in the details. Speaking of details:

  • Seattle Parks still only wants to paint lines for 2 pickleball courts per tennis court. In contrast, Shoreview Park (the site of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament) hosts 6 pickleball courts on two tennis courts.
  • Seattle Parks still thinks that blue pickleball lines are good enough for you and yellow pickleball lines would be too confusing for both tennis and pickleball players.
Yellow, blue and white court lines
  • The current version of the plan does not yet specify exactly which tennis courts will get new pickleball court lines in the short term, or exactly which tennis courts might be converted into dedicated pickleball courts in the medium term.  Will all the tennis courts located next to community centers be lined for pickleball? Will pickleball players have access to large clusters of co-located courts?
  • The plan currently says nothing about having pickleball courts that have lights for evening play.
  • Seattle Parks is slowly accepting the importance of the “open play” pickleball culture and considering creating specific dedicated times for open play pickleball on some dual-use courts. They are already doing it at Miller, Delridge and Walt Hundley.  We can only hope they will expand it to more locations.

There will be one more public meeting in early May where Seattle Parks will share an updated version of their plan with site and neighborhood-specific proposals.

Seattle Parks will then present the final plan to Seattle’s Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners in May or June for approval.

What is new?

Seattle Parks acknowledged pickleball’s rapid growth.

  • Oliver Bazinet, Senior Planner, said Seattle Parks is keenly aware that pickleball is growing rapidly and has benefits. Seattle Parks wants to plan for it.
  • Andy Sheffer, Deputy Superintendent of Operations, introduced the meeting by saying that he is a huge advocate of outdoor recreation and therefore outdoor pickleball is important to him.

Seattle Parks is relaxing their policy of promoting multi-use courts exclusively and is now considering creating some dedicated pickleball courts in the medium and long term.

What are the objectives of the new Outdoor Pickleball Study?

  • Document the growth of pickleball in Seattle
  • Refine where and how tennis courts will be dual-striped
  • Identify and recommend locations for new pickleball-only courts

Why are tennis players involved?

Adding pickleball lines to existing tennis courts has impact on the tennis community and therefore Seattle Parks is making sure to involve tennis players.

How many people attended the meeting?

About 130 people attended. About 73% were pickleball players, 7% were tennis players, 15% played both sports, and 4% played neither sport. 

How is the pickleball study reaching out to the tennis and pickleball communities?

  • Seattle Parks conducted interviews
  • They have an Advisory Committee whose role is to collaborate with Seattle Parks and each other to provide insight into developing new recreational opportunities for pickleball.
  • They ran an online survey in January 2022
  • They have planned two community meetings: The first one happened on March 30th and is the one we are talking about here. The second one will happen in early May.

Who is on the Advisory Committee?

The names of the Advisory Committee members were provided at the meeting. I’m letting Seattle Parks decide whether or not to publish them more widely.

Keep in mind that the Advisory Committee is not creating the plan. Seattle Parks is creating the plan and asking for input from the Advisory Committee as it sees fit.

What were the results from the January online survey?

You can find the results in two parts here and here.

What is Seattle Parks’ new outdoor pickleball plan?

The plan has three components: Short-term, mid-term, and long-term.

Keep in mind that this plan is not set in stone. If you see something you love or something you don’t like, let Seattle Parks know.

What is the short-term plan?

  • In the short-term, Seattle Parks wants to add pickleball court lines to some neighborhood and community tennis courts throughout the city.
    • Advantages:
      • Increases the number of pickleball courts to accommodate the demand
      • Can begin this summer
      • Can be spread throughout the city
    • Drawbacks:
      • Decreases availability of tennis courts
      • Dual-striping may be confusing for players
      • Increased probability of on-court conflict

Q: The short-term plan is to add pickleball court lines to some “neighborhood and community tennis courts”. What exactly are “neighborhood and community tennis courts”?

There are about 32 locations with a total of 60 tennis courts that are “neighborhood courts” that have single or double tennis courts without lights. Think of the Georgetown or the Dearborn Park courts.

There are 18 locations with a total of 50 tennis courts that are “community courts”.   These courts are located near community centers or have amenities such as lights and parking.  Think of the Miller or Bitter Lake courts.

There are also two more locations with 6 tennis courts each that are “regional courts” and do not qualify. I believe these are the Solstice Park courts and the Meadowbrook courts.

The lower woodland tennis courts and the Amy Yee tennis courts are “major court complexes” and do not qualify.

Q: Is Seattle Parks planning to paint pickleball line on all neighborhood and community tennis courts?

Not all. Some.

Q: Which neighborhood and community tennis courts get new pickleball lines

Seattle Parks has not yet released a list.

Q: Don’t the Solstice Park tennis courts see very little use?

That is my impression as well.

Q: How many pickleball courts would Seattle Parks paint on two, three or four adjacent tennis courts?

Seattle Parks is planning to keep painting two pickleball courts per tennis court.

Q: Why are the Amy Yee and Lower Woodland tennis courts excluded?

They host USTA-sanctioned tournaments. Such tournaments can’t be held where there are pickleball lines on the courts.

Q: What is the mid-term plan?

  • In the mid-term, Seattle Parks proposes to convert some existing old low-usage tennis courts to dedicated pickleball courts.
    • Advantages:
      • Increases the number of pickleball courts to accommodate the demand
      • Higher density of co-located courts
    • Drawbacks:
      • Decreases availability of tennis courts
      • SPR will need approval from the communities where these courts are currently located
      • Some courts might require significant rehabilitation

Q: What do you mean when you say converting tennis courts into dedicated pickleball courts would provide “higher density of co-located courts”?

A: Let’s take a location that has two tennis courts on a single slab of concrete, with fences all around. Seattle Parks would paint lines for four pickleball courts in that space if they wanted to make it available to both tennis and pickleball players.  Seattle Parks is saying that if they replaced the two tennis courts with pickleball courts, they would fit five or six pickleball courts in the same space. Here is an image that shows how Seatle Parks proposes that the space formerly occupied by two tennis courts could be modified to contain four regular pickleball courts, and one pickleball court that meets the playing area recommendations for wheelchair play as specified in sections 2.A.3 and 2.A.4 of the IFP rulebook.

What is the long-term plan?

The long-term plan is to construct new dedicated pickleball facilities.

  • Advantages:
    • increases the number of pickleball courts that are co-located
    • does not impact tennis
    • Drawbacks:
      • reduces open space
      • likely most costly
      • longest time horizon

Q: How long-term is this plan?

Seattle Parks estimated 5 to 10 years during the meeting. Personally, I have heard that Magnuson Park’s Tennis Center Sandpoint was 10 years in the making and that things have only gotten more complicated since then. Therefore, I think that 5 to 10 years is quite an optimistic estimate.

Q: What did people think of the plan?

A little over a third of the participants were more excited about the long-term plan, about a third preferred the short-term plan, and a little less than a third preferred the mid-term solution.

When asked “how do you think Seattle Parks can grow pickleball while balancing the needs of tennis?” the most frequent answer was “dedicated courts”.

When asked “who are the important community partners Seattle Parks should work with to achieve balance?” the most frequent answer was “SMPA”

When asked “Should Seattle Parks invest resources to dual strip more courts OR provide nets and pickleball play equipment?” participants overwhelmingly chose “invest resources to dual strip more courts”.  Nets are important, but lines come first.

Q&A Session

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session. Here are most if not all of them.

Q: Are you planning to add pickleball court lines to tennis courts with lights?

A: It’s something we could look into. Not something we are doing right now. Good idea.

Q: What do you mean by immediate, medium term, long term?

A:

  • Immediate: this summer,
  • Medium term: dual striping 2-3 years
  • Long-term: dedicated: 5-10 years.

Q: Are you planning for indoor dedicated courts?

A: No. But we are considering outdoor covered dedicated pickleball courts in the long-term.

Q: Is anything done to mitigate pickleball noise?

A: No. Seattle Parks will consider proximity to residences when selecting tennis courts to be lined for pickleball. There are a lot of park activities that cause noise.  You can’t choose to live near a park and then complain about park noise.

Q: Is there a publicly available tennis resurfacing schedule?

A: No. Right now, Seattle parks can only resurface 2 to 3 sites per year at most for budgetary reasons. Hopefully, they will get more money for court resurfacing in the new (Seattle Parks District?) budget, and then they’ll come up with a resurfacing schedule that they will make public.

Q: How about converting basketball courts to pickleball?

A: We do not have as many basketball courts as tennis courts, they don’t have fencing and they are small.

Q: Any consideration of the fact that pickleball players use less square footage than tennis? 

A: It’s an advantage of pickleball but not a reason for converting tennis courts to pickleball. Same as not converting soccer fields to ultimate frisbee fields.

Q: Would raising money for dedicated pickleball courts accelerate the timeline? 

A: Only up to a point.  

Q: Why 2 pickleball courts to 1 tennis court ratio instead of more pickleball density?

A: Three reasons:

  • Far easier for players to see the lines.
  • Make sure that tennis and pickleball players are not running into each other.
  • Make sure it works with reservation system.

Q: Why is the current reservation system such a challenge?

A: “I don’t know. I need to study this myself.”

Q: Did the city study demand for each sport?

A: We looked at data from the court reservation system.  We might do spot counts of people playing during summer.  Will hear from people doing maintenance work or working at community center.

Q: Can we get yellow pickleball lines?

A:  Yellow is too close to white. It would be confusing for both sports.

Q: Who paid for Amy Yee Tennis Center and Magnuson’s Tennis Center Sandpoint?

A: Amy Yee Tennis Center is built, owned and operated by Seattle Parks.  Tennis Center Sandpoint is owned by Seattle Parks but was renovated and is run by a 3rd party. 

Q: Could we get dedicated time for each sport? 

A: Seattle Parks is discussing this internally.

Q: How about adding pickleball lines to Tennis Center Sandpoint and the Amy Yee Tennis Center courts? 

A: Tennis Center Sandpoint: it would be up to them. Amy Yee Tennis Center: not enough space for tennis; maybe if they can expand.

Q: Lack of pickleball representation on Advisory Committee.

A: Almost all members of the advisory committee play pickleball. When writing the 2019 pickleball pilot report, Seattle Parks didn’t reach out enough to the tennis community. Seattle Parks wanted to explicitly reach out to the tennis community this time around.

Categories
News

Seattle’s Rainier to be closed. Jefferson to reopen.

Rainier Community Center

The Rainier Community Center with six indoor pickleball courts has hosted a vibrant pickleball community twice a week for many years. It was closed at the beginning of the pandemic and only recently reopened its doors to pickleball players once a week.

Seattle Parks will close the Rainier Community Center from mid-June 2022 until spring 2023 to make the building ADA accessible.

Where will pickleball players be able to find public indoor pickleball courts in Southeast Seattle? Maybe at Jefferson, Van Asselt, and Garfield.

Jefferson Community Center

The Jefferson Community Center has been closed since September 2021 and is supposed to reopen in April 2022.

One can only hope that this community center will resume their indoor drop-in pickleball program as soon as it reopens.

Update: Pickleball is scheduled to restart at Jefferson on May 2nd.

Van Asselt Community Center

The Van Asselt Community Center‘s gym has three indoor pickleball courts with very little space behind the baselines. It hosts a community of senior pickleball players. At the time of this writing, Van Asselt is not listed as having any indoor pickleball available.

Update: Van Asselt offers pickleball on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Garfield Community Center

The Garfield Community Center started offering pickleball when it reopened after the being closed because of the pandemic. At the time of this writing, Garfield is not listed as having any indoor pickleball available.

You can find Seattle Parks’ most current indoor pickleball opportunities on their web site.

Update: Here is Seattle’s Spring indoor pickleball schedule.

Categories
Alert

Seattle Parks’ 2022 Pickleball Public Meeting #1: Why, What and How To

Seattle Parks’ first of two public meetings on the future of outdoor pickleball will take place online this coming Wednesday, March 30, at 4:30pm. You can register for it here.

What is the purpose of this meeting?

Seattle Parks purpose is “seeking input from tennis and pickleball players on how we can best support the growth of pickleball.”

There will be a second meeting in April, where Seattle Parks will present the next version of their plan, incorporating your feedback as they see fit.

What will be the format of this online meeting?

At the online meeting, SPR will present their current plan for about 15 minutes. Then there will be a poll for 5 to 10 minutes, followed by breakout rooms for about 20 minutes where you should have a chance to express your views about the plan and anything else you want to say. Each breakout room will have a facilitator that will take notes.

UPDATE: Too many people registered to attend this meeting to have breakout rooms. Use the Zoom chat box instead to make your voice heard if needed.

Why are tennis players invited to speak on the future of pickleball?

Seattle Parks decided that if they were going to continue adding pickleball lines on existing public outdoor tennis courts, they needed to get the tennis community involved. 

What is in Seattle Parks’ current plan?

We’ll find out at the meeting. We expect the current plan to contain:

  1. A new standard for painting pickleball court lines on existing public outdoor tennis courts. Unfortunately, this standard is likely to get us new courts that look a lot like the old ones: with only two pickleball courts per tennis court, even if there is space for more; and with blue pickleball lines, even though yellow lines would be much easier to see.
  2. Possibly a tentative list of new tennis courts that will receive pickleball court lines. Will this list be mostly made of unloved tennis courts? Will it include the outdoor tennis courts located by the community centers? Will we see pickleball courts with decent lights for evening play?
  3. Possible locations for dedicated pickleball courts.
    • Seattle Parks might propose to create dedicated pickleball courts at a few tennis court locations that currently see no school use and very little tennis use. This could be an easy way to get a few dedicated pickleball courts in the near future.  Details unknown.  This is likely to be better than not having any dedicated pickleball courts at all, and to be only a very small part of the pickleball puzzle that needs to be solved.
    • Seattle Parks plan might propose one or more locations for dedicated pickleball courts to be developed in the very long term.

How can I help?

UPDATE: Too many people registered to attend this meeting to have breakout rooms. Use the Zoom chat box instead to make your voice heard if needed.

In the breakout rooms section of the meeting, find a way to ask for one or more of the following:

  1. Ask to have more than 2 pickleball courts per tennis court (See this blog entry to find out why)

SPR opposes this because :

  • it would be too confusing for both tennis and pickleball players
  • it makes it too difficult to rent courts
  • it is not safe

Possible rebuttals:

  • Pickleball players have taped multiple pickleball courts on the middle tennis court at Green Lake and pickleball players are not confused by the lines.  The Seattle Community Center gyms have lines for multiple sports and somehow people manage. Seattle’s public turf fields are all lined for multiple sports in such a way that no lines from a single sport dominate. 
  • Shoreline manages to rent courts at locations where they have more than 2 pickleball courts per tennis courts
  • Edmonds painted lines for 4 pickleball courts on each pickleball court at Yost Park. Shoreline painted lines for 6 pickleball courts on 2 tennis courts at Shoreline Park and Shoreview Park, without this raising any safety concerns.
  • Why should the number of pickleball courts painted at a tennis location be limited by the people who can afford to rent courts?
  1. Ask to have pickleball lines that we can clearly see: Ask for yellow pickleball court lines.

SPR is currently considering this request but is likely to oppose it because:

  • yellow pickleball lines would be too distracting or confusing for tennis players

Possible rebuttals:

  • On all the other multi-sports fields and courts, no sport is privileged over the others. There is no reason to make an exception for tennis players.
  • Tennis players who find the pickleball lines too distracting have the option to go play on one of the many tennis courts that do not have pickleball lines. 
  • Pickleball players should not be treated as second class citizens. Pickleball lines should not be treated as second class lines.
  1. Ask to have pickleball court lines on all the tennis courts located next to community centers.

Seattle Parks is likely to oppose pickleball lines at locations such as Jefferson Park, Rainier Playfield or Rainier Beach because these are “premium” courts in good shape with lights, bathrooms, parking, and water fountains and therefore are in high demand with tennis players.

They might agree to having some pickleball court lines at Meadowbrook and Hiawatha.

  1. Ask to have pickleball courts with decent lights for evening play located in North Seattle, West Seattle, and Southeast Seattle. There is some chance SPR might already provide for this in their plan, in which case it is important that we show support for it so they don’t change their mind.

Seattle Parks will probably oppose this because:

  • the courts with decent lights are also very desirable for tennis players and therefore already heavily used (by tennis players)

Possible Rebuttals:

  • Pickleball players should not be treated as second class citizens.
  • If Seattle Parks doesn’t offer lighted pickleball courts, only pickleball players who have the means to drive out of the city to find lighted courts in places such as Shoreline or Auburn will have access to evening pickleball.
  • Seattle Parks could add new lights to some existing courts that don’t have any and make them available to pickleball players.
  1. Ask to have time reserved for “open play” pickleball on some of the dual use courts.  For instance, “Priority for open play pickleball Monday to Friday, 9am to noon at Delridge courts”

SPR has opposed this in the past because:

  • they want you to pay to reserve the courts for such use.
  • they are invested in the tennis culture of having twosomes or foursomes meeting at a specific time at a specific place, and they would like pickleball players to fit the tennis mold.

Possible rebuttal:

  • SPR already reserves all courts for pickleball open play at specific times at Delridge, Miller and Walt Hundley. These programs are remarkably successful. We want to extend them.
  • Open play fosters community building. This requires several pickleball courts to be available in the same location for several hours.
  • During low usage time, such as during weekday mornings, tennis players have access to several tennis-only courts within a few miles of any existing pickleball courts. Open play pickleball players do not have the same flexibility.

Extra Bonus Points

Ask what the decision process is.

What is going to be done with meeting participants’ input?  Who is going to write the recommendations based on the input? What are their job titles and qualifications? Will a pickleball player representative be included in the process?  Who is going to make a final decision based on the recommendations? What are their job titles and qualifications?   Check out this blog for more information.

Thank you for participating. Please spread the word.

Categories
News

Seattle Parks’ Pickleball Survey Results

In January, Seattle Parks issued a survey on how to best support the current demand for pickleball courts. We invited you to check the boxes and fill in the blank spaces. You and 3300 of your friends answered the questions, and the results are now available in two parts:

Categories
Alert

Wait Less. Play More.

Have you ever had to wait a long time to get on a pickleball court during open play?

Most Seattle outdoor pickleball courts could accommodate 50% or more courts than they already do. On two side-by-side tennis courts, Edmonds paints lines for eight pickleball courts, Shoreline paints six pickleball courts, and Seattle only paints four.

If Seattle followed Edmonds’ or Shoreline’s lead we could have many more pickleball courts on the outdoor tennis courts that already have pickleball lines. For instance, Green Lake could have 8 to 10 courts instead of 6; High Point, Brighton Park, and Mount Baker could have 6 courts instead of 4; Magnolia could have 12 courts instead of 8.

What can you do about it?

1. Attend Seattle Parks’ March 30 public meeting

Attend Seattle Parks’ first of two public meetings on the future of outdoor pickleball online on Wednesday, March 30, at 4:30pm. Make sure you tell them to paint more than two pickleball courts per tennis court. Register now to attend this meeting.

2. Get the mayor and city council involved

The mayor and the city council have the power of the purse. Tell them that it is time for Seattle Parks to follow Edmonds and Shoreline’s lead, and make better use of Seattle’s existing tennis courts real estate by painting more than two pickleball courts per tennis court.

Click here to get started sending them an email. Here is what you could say:

Dear Mayor Harrell,

Dear Public Assets Committee Chair Lewis,

Dear Public Assets Committee Members Herbold, Juarez, Morales and Mosqueda,

As a pickleball player, I am dismayed to see that Seattle Parks still chooses to make very poor use of the available court real estate when adding pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts.  For instance, in a location with two tennis courts side by side, Edmonds Parks fits lines for 8 pickleball courts at Yost Park, Shoreline fits lines for 6 pickleball courts at Shoreline Parks, but Seattle persist on only wanting to paint lines for four pickleball courts in the same space.

Why doesn’t Seattle Parks want to have more than two pickleball courts per tennis court?  Because Seattle Parks doesn’t want to inconvenience tennis players with too many pickleball lines and it says that having a higher pickleball court density would make it difficult to manage court reservations. The Edmonds and Shoreline Parks departments have been able to surmount these obstacles. Certainly Seattle Parks can follow suit.

Long lines of pickleball players waiting to participate in open play sessions are often seen in places such as the Green Lake, Walt Hundley, and Miller courts on clement weather days. Maximizing the number of pickleball courts at these (and all other) locations would increase the number of courts by 50% or more for the price of a few painted lines. Given that the number of pickleball players is growing exponentially and is projected to surpass the number of tennis players in the next ten years, this simple space usage optimization needs to be implemented sooner than later.

Please encourage Seattle Parks to make the best usage of available court space by painting lines for more than two pickleball courts per tennis court when designating courts for dual tennis and pickleball use.

If you prefer to do it on your own here is all the information you need:

See you online on Wednesday March 30th at 4:30pm.

Categories
News

Seattle Parks Reviews Pickleball Court Lines Policy. Pickleball Players Not Invited.

Seattle Parks recently held a meeting to review their official policy that says that when they paint pickleball lines on outdoor tennis courts, they will only paint two pickleball courts per tennis courts, even if many more will fit.

Who represented tennis players at this meeting?

The Seattle Parks employee in charge of Seattle Parks’ Amy Yee Tennis Center and of all the outdoor public tennis courts.

Who represented pickleball players at this meeting?

Nobody. Pickleball players were not invited.

Who else attended this meeting?

We are told: a landscape architect, Seattle Parks planning, Seattle Parks grounds maintenance, Seattle Parks facilities maintenance, some external consultants, possibly someone from Seattle Parks finance.

What did these people who do not play pickleball decide?

They will keep painting only two pickleball courts per tennis court, even if more will fit.

Why?

They say that more pickleball court lines would be too confusing for both sports and make it difficult to manage court reservations.

Why should I care?

Because our schools need access to more collocated pickleball courts

The Physical Education teachers at the Lincoln High School and Hamilton Middle School in Wallingford would use the single tennis courts located at the Wallingford playfield if they each had lines for 4 pickleball courts. But Seattle Parks decided they would never paint more that 2 pickleball courts there.

Because the more collocated pickleball courts a location has, the better it supports a culture of inclusivity

Do you ever think that you cannot go play at a particular location because it is overcrowded? Do you ever think that there are not enough courts at a particular location to accommodate players of different skill levels? Well, most locations would be able to accommodate 50% to 100% more courts if Seattle Parks were willing to ditch its current policy.

All over the country, pickleball complexes are springing up. Why? Because the more the merrier.

Because Seattle Parks should make the best possible use of the court space it has

Would you paint lines for 2 tennis courts where 3 would fit? I didn’t think so.

But what about the confusing lines?

All the other sports fields have multiple lines. Why should tennis be special?

Actually, tennis no longer is special in a lot of town and cities across the country. In our own backyard, Shoreline hosts 6 pickleball courts on 2 tennis courts at Shoreview Park and Shoreline Park. Edmonds has lines for 8 pickleball courts on 2 tennis courts at Yost Park.

But what about reservations?

Where there is a will there is a way. Shoreline manages to allow people to reserve tennis courts at Shoreline Park even though they have more than 2 pickleball courts per tennis court.

Categories
News

How to navigate the Spring 2022 school tennis season

Seattle

The pickleball courts at Green Lake, Miller, Brighton, Soundview, and Bitter Lake will be impacted by high school tennis teams from February 28 through May 26. Exact times vary from day to day, depending on practice/match schedules, but users should expect courts to be in use starting at 3pm through at least 6pm at most sites. We have asked Seattle Parks for more detailed information.

Shoreline 

We expect the Shoreline Park and Shoreview Park tennis courts to be used for school tennis team practice during the spring as well. Exact times should be posted by the tennis courts. If you see an announcement, please take a picture of it and send it to us so we can publicize it here.

Elsewhere

If you know of other pickleball courts in the Seattle Metro area that will be occupied by school teams, please help us let everyone know about it.

Categories
News Volunteer

SMPA Seeking a Volunteer Treasurer

UPDATE: The treasurer position has been filled.

The Treasurer duties specified in SMPA’s Bylaws are as follows:

  1. Have charge and custody of and be responsible for all funds and securities of the corporation
  2. Receive and give receipts for monies due and payable to the corporation from any source whatsoever, and deposit such monies in the name of the corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositaries as shall be selected in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws
  3. In general, perform all of the duties of the office of Treasurer and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him or her by the President or by the Board.

The SMPA volunteer Treasurer is an executive position within the 501 (3) (c) organization.

Categories
Alert

Join the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pickleball player become one of Redmond’s Parks and Trails commissioners?

The city of Redmond is recruiting applicants to fill one vacancy on the Parks and Trails Commission. The city is committed to having a commission that reflects the diversity of the community and welcomes applications from any resident living within the 98052 zip code who is interested in the future of Redmond parks, recreation, and trails, including those who may have applied for past vacancies.

If you are interested, you can find more information here.

Pass it on.