Riverslide

The conversation

Riverslide Skate Park is located in Alexandra Gardens between Boat House Drive and Alexandra Avenue. Riverslide Skate Park is one of two sites that the City of Melbourne has identified as needing significant upgrades due to ageing, infrastructure, and heavy use.

Consultation ran from 19 December 2019, to 14 February 2020. The purpose of the community engagement was:

  • For participants to gain a greater understanding of the project and process.
  • To better understand what users like and wish to retain.
  • To understand what can be improved in the space.
  • To explore and model what these ideas could look like in the space.
  • To identify community members interested in being part of a reference group to work with council further on developing this project.

Gathering insights

Multiple engagement techniques were undertaken, including:

  • 3 on-site informal drop-in sessions.
  • A design workshop at nearby Signal.
  • Information and opportunity to provide comments on the Participate Melbourne online forum.
  • Other means including comments on Instagram, comment boards in the skate shop from and correspondence with community members.
  • The YMCA also ran a design competition for children to develop their own design for the park.

Feedback was sought from all users of the park including skateboarders, BMXers, scooter riders, roller skaters and bladers.

Who we reached

412

Unique responses received

Throughout the engagement period.

63%

Shared feedback in person

19% shared feedback on Instagram.

50%

Respondents aged between 11 and 19 years

66%

Participants were skateboarders

26% scooter riders. We also heard from BMXers and rollerbladers.

What we heard

What people love about Riverslide

The majority of responses related to specific design features within the park, its location, surrounding amenity, along with the community and people who use the park.

Obstacles within the park that are well loved, highly utilised, and positively contribute to the overall function of the space are:

  • Both corner Flat bank hips.
  • The L Ledge.
  • The Small Flat Rail.
  • The mixed variety of ramps and sizes.
  • The Quarter Pipe along the Northern edge.
  • Middle Boxes.

There was a strong attachment to the street and plaza aspects to the space with an appreciation that the lower, street and plaza area to the south of the site, flowed well.

Top three things people love about skating at Riverslide

Source:

How Riverslide could be improved

Popular suggestions included:

  • rails - including small down rails, round, square and interchangeable/adjustable
  • 1/4s - specifically small & medium
  • mini ramps
  • ledges
  • more transition
  • stairs
  • ½ pipe
  • manny pad - make the existing longer, adjustable height
  • more street.

A bowl, including quarters, pool coping, corners and hips, was raised by some. A number of participants also mentioned they would not like a bowl.

The overall layout and flow of the park was mentioned including transition and street features whilst ensuring that there is appropriate integration between the two.

Inclusion of transitional and street features, was requested, ensuring that there is appropriate integration between the two.

A popular request included areas of flat open space for:

  • People who are learning and who do not yet feel confident in high use areas.
  • Warming up before events.
  • Temporary obstacle installations for events.

Riverslide’s iconic identity is a key component of the skatepark. It is important to recognise and retain this.

Additional suggestions:

  • The ‘Riverslide blue’ colouring.
  • Replicate iconic Melbourne street skating features, e.g. the yellow tram barriers, Flinders Street station gold hand rails and the State Library sculpture.
  • Continued tributes to famous local skaters as currently displayed at the current Riverslide Skate Park.

Areas of shade and additional seating were highlighted as important for both skaters and spectators alike; to provide areas of respite and to make the space feel more inviting to all.

Other comments received included:

  • Improving the fence that surrounds the park. There is a risk boards and arms can get caught in existing fence line.
  • The small box on the eastern park border works great for teaching beginners, however it is too close to the fence.
  • The new design should consider the fence design and its relationship to the skate features and their functionality, if required at all.

Ensure the design continues to enable the provision of lessons and other events such as demos, competitions and private parties.

Ensure feature inclusions cater to a wide demographic, including:

  • female skaters
  • beginner riders
  • young users
  • visiting skaters/ tourists.

Examples raised include:

  • Access to and condition of existing toilet block.
  • Improved lighting (specifically during night sessions).
  • Improvements to surrounding footpaths (for learners and for warming up before competitions).
  • Existing YMCA board shop and cafe area.

Suggestions for improvement

Source:

Impact

Key recommendations for consideration in the development of the design brief are as follows:

  • Retaining or replicating similar features which are unique to Riverslide, continuing with the overall street and plaza style of the park, including the ‘Riverslide blue’ colouring of obstacles and the provision of the surrounding murals and artwork.
  • Providing a number of multi-purpose features and obstacles that have both beginner to advanced applications.
  • Consideration to the flow of the space and how different style features interact with each other to maintain flow and safe set up and landing spaces.
  • Adaptable, temporary infrastructure can change up the layout and flow over of the space - provide space for temporary and adjustable features such as rails, ledges and boxes.
  • Ensure the design and placement of any fencing or balustrade does not impact on the functionality or safety of the active skate areas.
  • Consider the use of the sub-station as a skate obstacle or supporting amenity feature.
  • Expand of the path network around the skate park for warm up and skating during competition days.
  • Remove existing obstructions such as the power pole in the middle of the skate park.
  • Explore creative ways to provide shade to areas of the skate park to make the space more inviting and user friendly particularly during the summer months.
  • Retain global legacy as the most popular skate park in Melbourne by continuing to attract world-class skaters and events to Melbourne.
  • There is a strong interest from skaters to continue to be involved in a hands on capacity throughout the project.
  • Continued engagement with the skaters/users throughout the project to ensure a progressive and responsive design outcome.

Next steps

Following analysis of the feedback, design briefs for both skate parks have been prepared. This step has assisted us to prepare high level cost estimates to assist with applications for funding.

When funding is allocated to these projects, the next step will be detailed design, documentation, tender and construction.

Follow the skate park redesign page to keep updated with these next steps.

Read the engagement report

JJ Holland Park

The conversation

The JJ Holland Skate Park is located in Kensington and sits in the western corner of JJ Holland Park, adjacent to the BMX pump-track. JJ Holland is one of two sites that the City of Melbourne has identified as needing significant upgrades due to ageing, infrastructure, and heavy use.

Consultation ran from 19 December 2019, to 14 February 2020. The purpose of the community engagement was:

  • For participants to gain a greater understanding of the project and process.
  • To better understand what users like and wish to retain.
  • To understand what can be improved in the space.
  • To explore and model what these ideas could look like in the space.
  • To identify community members interested in being part of a reference group to work with council further on developing this project.

Gathering insights

Multiple engagement techniques were undertaken, including:

  • 3 on-site informal drop-in sessions.
  • A design workshop nearby at The Venny.
  • Information and opportunity to provide comments on the Participate Melbourne online forum.
  • Other means including comments on Instagram and correspondence with community members.

Feedback was sought from all users of the park including skateboarders, BMXers, scooter riders, roller skaters and bladers.

Who we reached

413

Unique responses received

Throughout the engagement period.

39%

Shared feedback at a drop-in session

25% shared feedback at the design workshop.

32%

Respondents aged 10 or under

43%

Participants were skateboarders

26% BMXers. 23% scooter riders. We also heard from rollerbladers.

What we heard

What people love about JJ Holland skate park

The majority of responses related to specific design features within the park, its location, surrounding amenity, along with the community and people who use the park.

Many participants suggested that they liked using :

  • the flat bar
  • wave ramp
  • mini ramp.

It was also suggested there is room to improve these elements in their size, location and quality.

Almost one in five responses to this question noted the skatepark’s location, with a number also mentioning the proximity to South Kensington station.

Other nearby attractions raised include the pump track, The Venny, Kensington Community Recreation Centre and JJ Holland Park.

The skatepark’s location within the larger park was also noted as a positive, adding a feeling of space, openness and exposure to nature.

Additional positives included shade from surrounding trees, easy nearby parking and good passive surveillance which is particularly important if observing more than one child.

Interaction between users was noted as a positive, with park users providing support and encouragement of each other, regardless of skill level and experience.

There was a perception that the park does not get too crowded and enables a diverse range of users to utilise and coexist in the space. This provides a safe space to skate, socialise and meet other people.

The diversity of ages, backgrounds and skating experience is a real strength of JJ Holland noted in many responses. Some of the existing design features are particularly good for beginners.

A smaller number of participants were appreciative of the amenities that the skate park provides, the surrounding space, nearby paths, green nature of the park and natural shade provided by trees.

Top 3 things people love about skating at JJ Holland

Source:

How JJ Holland skate park could be improved

Key feedback included:

  • Greater provision of obstacles and experiences for intermediate level skaters to support skill progression.
  • Smaller obstacles are good for beginners and the higher/larger obstacles are good for more experienced skaters but they need updating.
  • Improvements to the flow of the layout (such as allowing circular use) was repeatedly suggested.

There was a notable desire for better use of the space that is available within the park’s current footprint. Suggestions to achieve this include:

  • Connecting obstacles so they work together as a whole. More transition and combination elements.
  • Providing space for setting up and landing tricks without interference of other lines and features.

Other suggestions:

  • Possible skate bowl, was noted by some respondents.
  • Opportunities for improvements in connecting active and passive spaces.

Improvements to the flow of the layout (such as allowing circular use) was repeatedly suggested.

There was a notable desire to better use of the space that is available within the park’s current footprint.

A suggestion to achieve this was to connect obstacles so they work together with consistent lines of flow.

A space that is welcoming to a broad audience came through strongly.

People proudly call the park a place for all and many want to see this maintained.

While some suggested that the skate park caters well to beginner skaters, there was also a significant number of comments made suggesting improvements that would further enhance the experience and progression from beginner to intermediate level.

The need to ensure women, families, children and young people, feel welcome at the park was raised when thinking about what a welcoming space would look like.

More could be done to make the skate park facilities and park surroundings better for users, whether skating or spectating.

Suggestions included:

  • more seating
  • shaded areas to rest or watch
  • places to put belongings
  • drinking fountains
  • BBQ area
  • landscape areas
  • bike racks
  • featured artwork.

Note: some of these amenities are currently provided.

Opportunities for improvements in connecting active and passives areas and promoting interaction and ‘good vibes’ were raised by some.

Comments were raised by some that proximity to the pump track natural surface ‘debris’ causes issues with skate park surface. Some people did not want to see the pump track sealed however.

Suggestions for improvement

Source:

Impact

Key recommendations for consideration in the development of the design brief are as follows:

  • People appreciate the intangible qualities of the park including the people that use the park, skate lessons and the diversity in user groups.
  • Continuing to encourage diversity and welcoming community was considered critical.
  • The quiet nature of the skate park was noted as a strength in providing a space for beginner skaters.
  • Comfortable places to rest, or spectate, with shade, seating and water will create a more holistic park design.
  • The original park was designed through a co-design process which was driven predominantly by users and there is desire for a similar approach again..
  • There is a cohort of long-term users of JJ Holland Skate Park. It would be important to engage with this group moving forward.
  • Improvements to flow and better connection between obstacles will significantly improve skatepark experience for users.
  • Flow between obstacles and features to allow them to work together creating lines.
  • More transition and combination elements.
  • Providing space for setting up and landing tricks without interference from lines off other features.
  • Inclusion of intermediate level experience and obstacles is currently missing, and will support skater skill progression.
  • The pump track could be sealed to alleviate mud and gravel being spread through the skate park and improve user experience. However, pump track users generally did not want the pump track to be sealed.

Next steps

Following analysis of the feedback, design briefs for both skate parks have been prepared. This step has assisted us to prepare high level cost estimates to assist with applications for funding.

When funding is allocated to these projects, the next step will be detailed design, documentation, tender and construction.

Follow the skate park redesign page to keep updated with these next steps.

Read the engagement report

Skate park redesign