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.
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.