The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

81° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Taking it to the streets

    Hailey Eisenbach
    Photo Illustration by Hailey Eisenbach / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    So here you are, a skateboarder on a beautiful college campus full of stairs, rails, somewhat clean sidewalks and a few small hills — but little did you know, the University of Arizona Police Department would stop you from skating on these objects. Don’t worry, though, there are a few tricks to getting away with skateboarding in Tucson.

    According to UAPD public information officer Juan Alvarez, the rumored rule that all four wheels must always be on the ground is just that — a rumor.

    “You can [ollie], as long as you do it safely while you’re traveling,” said Alvarez. “Once you jump on the property and damage it, that’s when it becomes a violation.”

    So, for anyone who skateboards for fun, this means you can speed past pedestrians, drop off curbs and jump up curbs — as long as it looks like you’re on your way to class. Just don’t pull 360-flips, rolling down the UA Mall or jump down every staircase you see.

    Be sure to take advantage of the small hills around campus, too. Just like pedestrians, there isn’t a speed limit for skateboarders, so go ahead and plow through the bike path by the Nugent building or push like a maniac down the hill around Cochise Residence Hall.

    You can avoid the policies altogether by leaving the Arizona Board of Regents planning boundaries: Lester Street to the north, Eighth Street to the south, Euclid Avenue to the west and Campbell Avenue to the east, according to Alvarez. A lot of properties in those boundaries aren’t owned by the UA, so look around a bit. Though, your focus should lie in the shopping centers, parking garages and plazas scattered about the Tucson metro area.

    Since the early ‘90s, the Presidio Plaza near the Pima County Courthouse has supported Tucson’s skateboard community. The location appeared in several videos, including Big Brother Magazine’s disturbing video series. The area features a fountain made of large concrete blocks, stairs of varying sizes and an embankment to mess around on.

    Just across the bridge over Congress Street, you’ll speed straight into Tucson Convention Center. On one side, you’ll find sets of three-stairs and four-stairs, metal benches, fancy ledge-work and a wallride spot. On the other side, you’ll find the weirdest, most crooked sets of stairs you’ve ever seen. If you travel east, up the stairs through the various offices and businesses, you’ll find yourself on a bridge to the smoothest parking garage in town.

    Approach these spots with caution, though. Tucson Police Department is all over downtown, and they won’t hesitate to confiscate a board from some skate rat with a bad attitude. Use elevators when possible and try not to stick around any spot for too long. And when you inevitably get caught skating, act clueless and offer to leave immediately.

    Another spot worth mentioning is the city-owned parking garage next to the Circle K store on Congress Street and Interstate 10. The run lasts forever and anyone with a good pushing leg can get some decent speed. It’s nothing crazy, but a good way to wind down a long-distance skate on the town. Plus, before each run, you can rest a bit on the top floor and ponder life questions, watching travelers fly by on the I-10.

    There’s also the skate park at Santa Rita Park, located by Third Avenue and 22nd Street. It’s professionally built, has a variety of pools to skate and features a couple of ledges. Head here if the street gets to be too much.

    Longboarders, you’re out of luck. As Austin Paine, a member of UA’s longboarding club, AZ Push, wrote on Facebook, “We live in a valley, with very little slope haha. The majority of the good ones require a pretty decent drive, and no offense, but we don’t really want those written about in an article.” But if you’re looking to ride those spots, just go check out the club.

    Skateboarding in Tucson requires some innovation and exploration. But that’s what the art of skateboarding is all about, making this city one hell of a place to skate.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Greg @Philoboarder43.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search