Categories
News

New Seattle Outdoor Pickleball Courts: Draft Plan

Seattle Parks has released the maps of the proposed new pickleball courts that they presented on May 25th, during their second outdoor pickleball study open house. Read all about it below.

Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone.

Highlights

More courts

The current plan significantly increases the number of locations where people can play pickleball by:

  • In the short term, adding pickleball court lines to more existing tennis courts.
  • In the medium term, converting a few tennis courts that currently see very little usage into dedicated pickleball courts.
  • In the long term, creating two brand new dedicated pickleball facilities, each with 8 to 12 pickleball courts.

More lights

People who work during the day have very few opportunities to play pickleball in Seattle during weekdays during the 6 darkest months of the year. Currently only the Miller pickleball courts have reasonable lights. This new plan proposes to add pickleball court lines at the following tennis courts which already have lights:

  • Alki Playground (West Seattle)
  • Laurelhurst (Northeast)
  • Madrona (Central)
  • Meadowbrook (Northeast)
  • Rainier Beach (South Seattle)
  • Solstice Park (West Seattle)

It also calls for adding lights to the following existing courts:

  • Green Lake East (Northwest)
  • Magnolia Playfield (Central)

Summary

We have summarized the proposed changes below. Click on any of the headings to see the corresponding maps.

Northeast

  • Add pickleball court lines to the existing tennis courts at the following locations:
    – Bryant Neighborhood Playground
    – Laurelhurst Playfield (2 out of 4 tennis courts)
    – Meadowbrook Playfield (3 out of 6 tennis courts)
    – Victory Heights Playground
  • Create 8 to 12 new dedicated pickleball courts in the Magnuson Park parking lot by Frog Pond
  • Consider conversion, dual stripe, and lights when renovating the Ravenna Park tennis courts
  • Consider converting the old Cowen Park tennis courts

Northwest

  • Add pickleball court lines to the existing tennis courts at the following location: West Green Lake
  • Add lights to the East Green Lake courts
  • Either dual stripe both tennis courts at Wallingford Playfield or convert one of the two tennis courts into pickleball courts

Central Area

  • Convert one of the Observatory Courts tennis courts on Queen Anne to 4 dedicated pickleball courts
  • Add pickleball court lines to the existing tennis courts at the following locations:
    – Montlake Playfield
    – Madrona Playground
  • Add lights to the West Magnolia Playfield courts

Southeast

  • Either dual stripe both tennis courts at Seward Park, or convert one of the two tennis courts into pickleball courts.
  • Add pickleball court lines to the existing tennis courts at the following location: Rainier Beach Playfield
  • Consider converting the old Fred Hutchinson Playground tennis courts into pickleball courts with their upcoming renovation
  • Create 8 to 12 new dedicated pickleball courts at Genesee Playfield, just east of the Rainier Community Center

Southwest

  • Add pickleball court lines to the existing tennis courts at the following locations:
    – Alki Playground
    – Riverside Playfield
    – Solstice Park (3 out of 6 tennis courts)

A Word of Caution

Keep in mind that you are looking at a draft version of the plan and nothing is set in stone.

Thank You!

Thank you for your efforts reaching out to Seattle and letting them know what you wanted. It helped tremendously. None of this would have happened without your involvement. This is a community-wide effort, and our pickleball community is the best.

What’s Next?

We expect Seattle Parks to present an updated proposal to the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners on either July 14th or August 11th.

Categories
News

New Court Lines Coming to Seattle This Summer

Seattle Parks should release the official list by the end of June.

Gilman

We expect this list to include the Gilman Playground tennis courts in Ballard. These courts were initially slated to be resurfaced last summer, but it never happened probably because of poor air quality at the time the resurfacing was supposed to take place.

Rainier Beach

This list will also very likely include the Rainier Beach tennis courts. With 8 lighted pickleball courts, we expect this to become a hub for the Southeast Seattle pickleball community.

What’s Next?

We expect Seattle Parks to officially announce by the end of June which tennis courts will get pickleball lines this summer.

Categories
News

“We Recommend Full Funding”

In April, you submitted questions to Seattle’s Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners. They did not have any answers for you at their public hearing or afterwards.

They did however say the following in their Draft Chair’s Report and Recommendations dated May 5th:

We recommend full funding ($1.55M) for the Racket Sport Maintenance and Expansion proposal in consideration of pickleball’s growing popularity in the city and region, and public comment during this prioritization process. After hearing community feedback – now and over the past few years – we know it is important to Seattleites that we expand the use of our tennis courts to accommodate pickleball. Not only is it the state sport, but it is accessible to elders and folks with diverse abilities.
— Jessica Farmer and Marlon Herrera Co-Chairs, Seattle Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, May 5, 2022

Categories
News

Montlake Community Center Reopening Survey

Access the survey here.

Categories
Alert

Seattle Public Pickleball Meeting #2

Seattle Parks’ second of two public meetings on the future of outdoor pickleball will take place online on Wednesday, May 25, at 4:30pm. You can register for it here.

What is the purpose of this meeting?

Seattle Parks has refined their plans since the first meeting. They are going to show you the latest iteration and then ask for your feedback.

This will be the last public meeting organized by Seattle Parks regarding their new outdoor pickleball plans.

What will be the format of this online meeting?

SPR will present their current plan. The presentation might be followed by a poll. Then the participants will be divided in breakout rooms where they will have a chance to express their views about the plan and anything else they want to say. Each breakout room will have a facilitator that will take notes. The five breakout rooms will represent different sections of the city, probably Northeast, Northwest, Central, Southeast, and Southwest.

What is in Seattle Parks’ current plan?

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

  1. Additional court lines for 50 or more pickleball courts on existing tennis courts across 12 or more locations. throughout the city. Some of these court lines will be added this summer. Some of them will be added as the tennis courts are being resurfaced.
  2. Locations throughout the city where pickleball can be played in the evening thanks to artificial lights. Some of these lights will have to be added, so it will take time.
  3. Two or three locations where a couple of existing tennis courts that currently see very little use will be converted into dedicated pickleball courts
  4. Recommendations for two locations where to build two sets of 8 (or more) brand new dedicated pickleball courts NOT built on top of existing tennis courts. One location in the north and another one in the south. There will NOT be any funding for these dedicated pickleball courts in the plan.

How can I help?

1. Plan to attend the meeting on Wednesday, May 25, at 4:30pm. Register for it here today. Let everyone know about it.

2. Explore your neighborhood courts. Find your local public tennis courts. Ask other pickleball players for help with this. Which courts would you play on if they had pickleball court lines? Which ones already have lights? Do these lights turn on? Do they provide sufficient light to play or are they too old to be useful? Do your research ahead of the meeting since you’ll be asked for your opinion only once.

3. Explore your community courts. The city has a few larger sets of community tennis courts. They are listed below. Which ones would you play on if they had pickleball court lines? Do your research ahead of the meeting since you’ll be asked for your opinion only once.

Northeast:

  • Meadowbrook (6)
  • Laurelhurst (4)

Northwest

  • Bitter Lake (4) – Already lined for pickleball
  • Green Lake East (3) – Already lined for pickleball
  • Upper Woodland Park (4)

Central

  • David Rodgers Park (Queen Anne)
  • Magnolia Playfield (4) – Already lined for pickleball
  • Volunteer Park (4)

Southeast

  • Jefferson (4)
  • Rainier (4)
  • Rainier Beach (4)

Southwest

  • Hiawatha (3)
  • Solstice Park (6)

What else should I ask for?

1. Make sure that the plan includes lighted courts in your section of the city.

Try to find out if the lights are in good shape. Not all lights are created equal.

2. Ask for lines that we can clearly see under all lighting conditions.

Don’t you think pickleball players deserve court lines that are as easy to see as the tennis court lines?

Seattle Parks has been adamant to not disturb tennis players by making sure that the tennis lines stand out and the pickleball lines recede.

They spent years refusing to give us anything but green pickleball lines on green tennis courts.

After someone complained that this was not ADA-compliant, they switched to blue lines on green tennis courts. This is better but still not good enough as you can see in the pictures below. (Click on the pictures to see a larger version.)

We deserve lines that we can see. Privileging tennis lines over pickleball lines might have made some sense in 2017. In 2022, it is not acceptable.

3. Ask that Seattle Parks reserve specific times for “open play” pickleball on some of the dual use courts in every part of town.  For instance, “Priority for open play pickleball, every day from 9am to noon, at the Green Lake courts.”

The pickleball community is thriving and growing through Open Play. If Seattle Parks truly cares about healthy communities, it needs to support Open Play.

Are tennis players invited to attend this meeting?

They were invited to the first meeting. Inviting them to this one as well would make sense since the plan will propose adding pickleball court lines to some tennis courts and they might want to provide feedback on that subject.

Categories
News

Dear Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners,

Last month, the Board of Parks Commissioners organized a Q&A session regarding the upcoming Seattle Park District funding plan. They asked you to submit your questions ahead of time, which you did. You sent in over 50 pickleball-related questions. That was over half of all questions submitted. Unfortunately, not a single one of your questions was answered during the Q&A session.

On May 1st, the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association sent the following letter to Seattle’s Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.

Dear Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners,

Before your April 14 meeting, you invited Seattle’s citizens to submit questions regarding the upcoming Seattle Park District Funding Plan via an online form.

About 90 questions were asked. Close to two thirds of those were related to pickleball. Nevertheless, not a single one of those pickleball related question was addressed during the Q&A portion of the meeting. Instead, Brian Judd said “Seattle Parks and Recreation has received many comments advocating for more pickleball courts. We have heard you.” 

Pickleball players do not feel heard. They did not just ask for more courts. They had specific questions about fund allocations, about the data underlying the funding plan, about tennis privilege, about getting lights so people can play in the evening, about getting pickleball lines finally painted in a color that we can easily see, about the need for pickleball nets to make the sport accessible to people who cannot afford to buy their own net or the means to transport it, about growth, about your support for a sport that has  a different culture, and more. 

The pickleball community spent a lot of time and effort providing Seattle Parks with about 50 pages worth of feedback when they were asked for their “big ideas” for the future of Seattle Parks during the lead to the Strategic Plan. This was summarized in two words in Seattle Parks’ presentation to the Board of Commissioners: “More Courts”.

On April 14th, the pickleball community asked you dozens of specific questions at your invitation and yet again all these were reduced to the same two words.

If you would like the pickleball community to feel heard, please consider answering some of the pickleball related questions that you collected through your online form. 

–Miguel de Campos, Seattle Metro Pickleball Association
–Frank Chiappone, Seattle Metro Pickleball Association, President
–Jerry Kindinger, Seattle Metro Pickleball Association, Past President

P.S.: To make your life a little easier, here are most of the pickleball-related questions that were collected through your online form. No attempt was made to aggregate similar questions.

Funding

  • The Park District Funding Plan calls for the creation of 16+ dedicated lighted pickleball courts across 2 locations. Is this funded in the current plan? If not, how is it going to be funded?
  • It looks like the Park District Funding Plan calls for the creation of 16+ dedicated lighted pickleball courts across 2 locations. Is this funded in the current plan? If not, how is it going to be funded?
  • How will you work to develop new courts and fund upkeep and maintenance of sites
  • The Park District Funding Plan calls for the creation of 16+ dedicated lighted pickleball courts across 2 locations. Is this funded in the current plan? If not, how is it going to be funded?
  • Will there be additional resources for pb now that it is the state sport ?
  • Will there be dedicated pickleball funding? What is that allocation per year? Is it shared with tennis?  Thank you
  • What would have to happen for Seattle Parks and Rec to be able to use outside funds on the condition the funds be used for pickleball dedicated courts?
  • Given that most SPR Athletic fields and community center gym courts are lined for multiple sport activities, and given that SPR already lines certain venues (Lower Woodland courts or the Amy Yee Tennis Center, for instance) for the exclusive use of tennis players, what is the process for ensuring that the Racket Sport Maintenance & Expansion budget allocates comparable resources to the exclusive use of pickleball players?
  • I would like to see more dedicated Pickleball facilities. Is there an opportunity for the community to fundraise towards new facilities?
  • Since the only thing the tennis and pickleball groups agree on is that each group should have some dedicated courts in Seattle. Since Tennis already has that, can a dedicated pickleball multi court get some immediate funding?
  • Now that pickleball is the state sport, has the city tried to request state or county funding for new/improvement of pickleball courts. 

Tennis privilege

  • Why is it more of a priority to make sure tennis players continue to have lots of places to play, even if that means not increasing the pickleball availability? We are all taxpayers who should have equal priority.
  • How will you support the development and funding of pickleball courts so that their is more equitable access on all tennis courts for both sports?
  • There are concerns about displacing tennis players by dual stripping all tennis courts.  This is a case of the “haves” keeping what they have and the “have nots” begging to get what they can.  Why wouldn’t you plan on dual striping all city tennis courts that do not have tournament play restrictions to level the playing field?  Equal opportunity access via the city reservation system for all. 
  • Who has the final say on increased pickleball accessibility?  Does it make any sense having tennis players providing input into those decisions?  They are competing for the same resources and will naturally protect their sport. 

Court usage measures

  • Are the number of pickleball courts vs. tennis courts proportional to the respective court usage for each sport? How are you measuring court usage? Often times, there are many pickleball players waiting for courts during open play – is that accounted for in usage?
  • Is the Park District Funding Plan’s proposed pickleball plan based on an objective study of current court usage?
  • Is the Park District Funding Plan’s proposed pickleball plan based on an objective demand study supported by real-world data?
  • Last summer, most weekday mornings there were large crowds of people (mostly seniors) waiting to play pickleball at the Miller outdoor courts. This is a clear sign of the need for more pickleball courts in that area. How is the proposed budget addressing this situation?
  • We know that SPR has absolutely no idea about how many pickleball players there are in this metro area. What I’d like to know is why SPR is so reluctant to work with the community to get information, preferring, it seems, to spend precious city funds on expensive studies that simply delay getting anything done. That’s m6 question,

Lights

  • There are very few venues with lights for pickleball – will more be added since there are so few hours of light during the winter which prevent working people from playing.
  • The entire city has only 4 pickleball courts with decent lights . Will we have to wait until the 16+ dedicated lighted pickleball courts come online a long time from now to get more lighted courts ?

Line color

  • Could we get pickleball lines that are easy to see? Seattle’s public turf fields are all lined for multiple sports in such a way that no lines from a single sport dominate. The Seattle Community Center gyms are lined for multiple sports in such a way that no lines from a single sport dominate. Why is Seattle Parks insisting on privileging the tennis court lines over the pickleball lines? Could we get pickleball lines that are easy to see?
  • Will you commit to painting the pickleball court lines with a high visibility color?
  • Could we get pickleball lines that are easier to see? Its crazy that some courts have light green lines on  green courts which makes them practically invisible. The white tennis lines are super prominent while Pickleball lines are always a more subtle color that is harder to see. Why are tennis lines always given  prominence?

Building 30

  • Regarding the creation of a dedicated pickleball center in Seattle – Please consider accelerating what would be a 10 year plus proposal into a 2 year project.  The Magnuson Park, Hanger 30, appears to have the best start for an all season, all day and night facility for Seattle.  Currently, there are four portable nets being used at that site, open Wednesday and Thursday for two hours starting at 10AM.  Using the SPR layout which includes an ADA court 108 feet by 120 feet, the building could house a total of 8 courts – 107’ 6” feet hanger door side by 192’ 10” long.  Less, if seating is required.  The building enclosure will provide protection from all weather, and inside, there is lighting, heating, overhead fans for ventilation and sliding panel doors on opposing sides of the building.  The flooring is the only issue.  There are very noticeable and huge seam crack in the foundation.  However, an engineer can examine this flooring.  It is not just a tennis court slab which cracks and tilts, but built level to support massive airplane weight.  Both sides of the cracks are level.  Current players are not being affected by these visual monstrosities as much and they think they will be.  Please have the floor examined by pickleball flooring contractors or engineer and interview players as well. Thank you. 

Nets

  • Tennis courts are constructed with nets. How come the city doesn’t provide nets for pickleball. That doesn’t seem equitable. Why do pickleball players have to buy a portable net that can cost $150 – $300 just to play the sport.
  • Could some of the Park District Funding Plan’s “Racket Sport Maintenance & Expansion” funding be used to buy semi-permanent pickleball nets to be placed on dual-use (tennis and pickleball) courts? Not everyone has access to a temporary pickleball net. When semi-permanent nets are made available many more people get to use the pickleball courts.
  • What do we have to do to get some permanent pickleball nets installed on the tennis courts in Magnolia (courts near the community center in Magnolia village).  It would be great to start with at least two nets (which would take one tennis court out of use for tennis).

Dual-use courts

  • Are there any plans to re-paint the tennis courts around Seattle to add lines for pickle ball?  If yes, where and when? 
  • There are concerns about displacing tennis players by dual stripping all tennis courts.  This is a case of the “haves” keeping what they have and the “have nots” begging to get what they can.  Why wouldn’t you plan on dual striping all city tennis courts that do not have tournament play restrictions to level the playing field?  Equal opportunity access via the city reservation system for all. 
  • I can only hope that there will be money for much needed pickleball courts as well as permanent lines on shared courts.  Pickleball is the fastest growing sport as well as the official WA state sport and we are well below average on the number of courts in this state.  It’s time to listen to the people and make this happen !!
  • We would appreciate a lot more pickleball courts than we have in Seattle and areas around.
  • Could you please add more pickleball courts lines and nets to the tennis courts?  More and more people are on the pickleball craze and it would be fabulous if there were more opportunities to play. 

Dedicated courts

  • Are there any plans to develop courts designed only for pickle ball? If yes, what are the locations under consideration?
  • I just finished a visit with my daughter in Gilbert, AZ. There is a beautiful complex 10 minutes from her home which includes 16 pickleball courts that is overrun by pickleball players. Do you have any plans for including a facility such as this in Seattle?
  • Why are there no dedicated Pickleball facilities. Other cities around the nation have them ? Money is not the issue in this city ?
  • Why is Seattle so slow ?
  • Will the board commit to adding dedicated pickleball courts inside the city of Seattle?
  • Would it be possible to speed up the timeline for pb only courts ? Possibly the tennis courts next to green lake community center .
  • Pickleball has recently been named the official sport for the State of Washington, and there are ZERO quality, dedicated pickleball courts in the SPR system.  This is so disappointing and must be corrected with urgency. but there are ZERO quality dedicated outdoor pickleball courts in the entire SPR system.  That is embarrassing
  • I see the interest Pickleball growing exponentially but the availability of dedicated courts not keeping up. Do you have a plan to accelerate the provisioning of dedicated courts?
  • Please fund our state sport of pickleball with dedicated space for 8 – 16 courts! Thank you!
  • I can only hope that there will be money for much needed pickleball courts as well as permanent lines on shared courts.  Pickleball is the fastest growing sport as well as the official WA state sport and we are well below average on the number of courts in this state.  It’s time to listen to the people and make this happen !!
  • Is there a chance we can get more dedicated pickleball courts in Seattle? There are often 10 or more people waiting to use the courts in north Seattle
  • We would appreciate a lot more pickleball courts than we have in Seattle and areas around.
  • Please consider funding for a dedicated pickle ball facility with at least 10 courts.
  • It would be amazing to have a facility that had dedicated pickleball courts
  • Please add more dedicated pickleball courts! Thanks!
  • Please consider adding funding for lining many more dedicated pickleball courts, like a dozen or more where there are currently only a couple of courts available to play on.  This sport is catching on big time!  Thanks
  • When is SPR going to build dedicated pickleball facilities with 12 or more courts in one location?
  • Will you fund 10-20 dedicated pickeball courts? The need is great

Indoor pickleball

  • Will the Park District Funding Plan’s funding for expanded and realigned community center operating hours allow Seattle Parks to restore the free indoor drop-in pickleball programs that were cut due to lack of funds in 2019?

Pickleball courts density

  • Shoreline Parks paints 6 pickleball courts on two side-by-side tennis courts. Seattle Parks paints 4. Why is Seattle making such poor use of its court real estate?
  • Please direct the resources necessary to line more than 2 pickle ball courts [per tennis court]. This sport serves young, old, all races, genders, and it growing every week. Let’s make WA proud with our new state sport.
  • Can we please have pickleball lines that accommodate 6 courts forEach 2 tennis courts, similar to how Shoreline lines their courts. 

Growth

  • Pickleball is growing exponentially. How will the BPRC quickly address this growing need?
  • What is Parks & Recreation doing about meeting the demand for pickleball courts? There are not nearly enough to meet current demand, and demand is rising.
  • How many pickleball courts are you planning to make available in Seattle?

Tournament complex

  • Can funding be devoted to creating more space (lined courts) for pickleball, including establishing a real pickleball center with enough courts in one place for tournaments?

Decision Making Process

  • Who has the final say on increased pickleball accessibility?  Does it make any sense having tennis players providing input into those decisions?  They are competing for the same resources and will naturally protect their sport. 

Pickleball Open Play

  • The pickleball community is very inclusive thanks to its fostering of “open play” events that allow people to show up and get pulled into a game. What is Seattle Parks plan to support open play?
Categories
News

Lots of Qs. No As.

Yesterday, Seattle’s Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners held a Q&A session regarding the Park District’s upcoming 6-year funding plan.

What did they say about pickleball?

As you already know, they want to enable Seattle Parks to catch up with deferred maintenance of outdoor courts, and they want to develop two new dedicated pickleball outdoor court facilities (16+ pickleball courts to be added across two locations by 2028).

You submitted questions ahead of the meeting as they had asked. Unfortunately, none of your questions were addressed during the Q&A session. All you got, was this:

“Seattle Parks and Recreation has received many comments advocating for more pickleball courts. We have heard you. All of your comments will be shared with the board members.”

–Brian Judd, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Did you send comments or questions? Did you only advocate for more pickleball courts, or did you have more specific questions?

Do you feel heard?

Where is the video?

We expect the video of the full meeting to be available on the Parks Board channel in a few days. In the meantime, here are the parts of the meeting that addressed pickleball.

April 17, 2022 update:

The video of the full meeting is now available here: https://www.seattlechannel.org/parksBoard/?videoid=x137032.

The relevant timestamps are:
1:02:34 for the presentation of “Racket Sport Maintenance and Expansion” budget item, and
1:21:42 for the Q&A part which starts with Seattle Parks “addressing” your pickleball questions.

What’s next?

Now that you finally had a chance to take part in yesterday’s “public discussion” of the upcoming Seattle Parks District budget, you are undoubtedly looking forward to the following opportunities to participate in the public process that will shape the upcoming budget and the future of Seattle pickleball.

Categories
Alert

Seattle Parks District wants to hear from you

The Seattle Parks District is asking for your feedback on their current upcoming funding plan.

What is in the plan?

The plan includes six years’ worth of funding spread among 40+ categories going from “Accessibility Barrier Removal to “Youth Mentorship & Employment Opportunities”. And this time around it does mention pickleball.

What is in it for pickleball?

The good parts

  • They expect to get 16+ dedicated, lighted outdoor pickleball courts to be added across two locations by 2028.
  • They are increasing the amount of money allocated to maintain and renovate existing outdoor courts.
  • They are planning to increase community centers operating hours by 9% and to reallocate hours to increase evening and weekend access.

The parts to question

  • The funding seems too small to lead to the addition of 16+ dedicated, lighted pickleball courts.
  • It’s not clear if part of the funding would be available to add more pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts and to buy semi-permanent pickleball nets.
  • There is no plan to increase indoor pickleball.

How can I help?

Please send an email to Seattle Park District Planning (PDPlanning@seattle.gov) and to the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners (Rachel.Acosta@seattle.gov).

Thank them for supporting outdoor pickleball in their current budget proposal by enabling Seattle Parks to construct two new dedicated outdoor pickleball facilities with lights. Ask them to allocate money to acquire semi-permanent pickleball nets, because pickleball court lines are not enough.

Thank them for increasing funding to allow expanded operating hours at community centers. Ask that some of the new hours be allocated to restore indoor pickleball hours that were cut in 2019 due to lack of funds.

Feel free to add your favorite pickleball topic: getting pickleball lines painted in a color that we can actually see such as yellow or orange, getting better density of pickleball courts, getting dedicated pickleball times on dual-use courts, adding pickleball court lines on the tennis courts located next to community centers, getting pickleball courts with lights in the short-term, etc.

Can you make it easy?

Sure thing. We already did most of the work for you. Click here to get started.

Just remember to sign at the bottom. And add a paragraph with your own favorite pickleball request if you wish.

Where can I find more information?

You can find the part of the budget proposal called “Racket Sport Maintenance and Expansion” here.

You can find the part of the proposed budget called “Community Center Operations” here.

Here is the Park District Funding Plan‘s web page.

Here is the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners web page. The Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners is charged with holding public meetings and making recommendations to the Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation for each six-year cycle of the Park District.

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
Alert

Action Alert: Help us get $50,000 for pickleball lines!

Seattle City Council member Tammy Morales is sponsoring a city budget amendment titled “Add $50,000 GF to SPR to support adding pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts” in Seattle. Dan Strauss and Kshama Sawant are co-sponsors. 

Please send all three an email to thank them for this.

This amendment still needs to be voted on by the entire Seattle City Council. Please email the entire city council as well to ask them vote in favor of this amendment. 

Here is a tip: click on each of the words “email” above to get a head start.

Thank you!