Letter to the Editor | Dual use makes for better use

The working group set up by City Council to study the noise issues of pickleball should include an assessment of striping the Linda Beach and Hampton Field courts for dual use — tennis and pickleball.  Doing so would result in two courts at Linda which the Salter sound study found would reduce noise by at least 3 dB.  And including dual use courts at Hampton would provide a more equitable and walkable distribution of sports courts throughout Piedmont. If surfaced for volleyball, as the PMS courts are, the new courts could bring even more recreational options to Piedmont.

Dual use courts would have the added benefit of improving resident access to these courts.  As the online survey from the trial showed, the greatest number of users of the courts and the greatest increase in use during the trial occurred among nonresidents. That is to be expected; the courts are in close proximity to more densely populated nonresidential neighborhoods so its not surprising that more nonresidents than residents use the courts.

Dual use could be structured to facilitate morning use by the Piedmont pickleball group at the two locations while maintaining neighborhood access to the tennis courts. And a reservation system is needed so Piedmont “working stiffs” can gain access to the courts in the late afternoon and on weekends.It should not be difficult for the working group to have this discussion as the City Administrator (Antioch) and head of the Recreation Department (Albany) both recently served in cities that installed dual use courts. New technology has been developed to make net changeover easy to do.

Without dual use and a reservation system, the new courts proposed for Linda Beach will likely be the only recreational facility in Piedmont that serves more nonresidents than residents.

9 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Dual use makes for better use

  1. The Walnut Creek City Council will be considering the recommendation of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Commission to relocate the Rudgear Park pickleball courts to alternative sites and to return the Rudgear courts to tennis or another activity.

    Here is an excerpt from the Staff Report: “Pickleball as a sport is louder than tennis as a result of more players in one location, the noise of the paddles and balls themselves, and the players’ overall enthusiasm. The challenges faced by communities throughout the country to balance the well-founded desire on the part of players to enjoy pickleball while supporting residents’ interests in a quieter environment are well documented.”

    The Staff Report also notes that the residents adjacent to the Rudgear courts “have been acutely impacted by the unintended consequences of pickleball’s popularity.”

    The Piedmont City Administrator staff report is going on the opposite direction by recommending permanent pickleball courts and very long hours of play (close to 60/week at Linda courts ) despite the strong opposition by many Linda Park residents .

    Why is the City Administrator going against what Piedmont nearby residents are telling her and the growing body of information related to the challenges faced by communities throughout the country ?

    If City Council votes yes, Piedmont residents should demand answers of why the City is putting the needs of the East Bay pickleball community ahead of the Linda Park residents .

  2. Unclear about serving more non-resdients than residents. PRD data showed minimally 60% of pickleball use by residents. And amongst residents Linda Beach durng the five month trial became a unique “senior center” with many Piedmont seniors meeting, socializing and playing with neighbors of all ages. Piedmonters befriended neighbors they had never previously associated with.

    Prior to the PB Trial, except for the three hours 3 days per week when the courts were packed, Linda Beach was commonly accepted as a sleepy, quiet court space. The five month trial and the criteria set by the Recreation Department – safety, utilization of space, and noise – showed the overwhelming need for a dedicated pickleball space.

    • Look closely at the before and after responses in the online survey. The difference may depend on how we are defining “use”. I suspect the Piedmont senior group is the most frequent user of courts with its daily regular use from 9:00- 12:00. But the greatest number of users over the full day appears to be nonresidents. Why wouldn’t these 4 pickleball-dedicated courts become a magnet for players outside of Piedmont – they are adjacent to many multi-unit building in Oakland.

      The socialization value pickleball is not being debated here. I suspect dual use and a reservation system would have very little impact on that. 801 is the site for a permanent senior center.

      That description of Linda Beach could apply to Hampton as well. Why not just add dual use to these neighborhood courts so tennis and pickleball can be played?

      • A senior center at 801 means we seniors can quietly sit around playing cards, knitting or enjoying tiddlywinks. Many of us older adults prefer to remain far more active and understand that a pickleball senior center, which is one of the functions that organically developed during the five month Linda Beach trial, means we get physical, social and emotional support from players 10 to 85 years old by playing pickleball.

        And heck, its really fun!

        • I think that’s a gross understatement of what an 801 senior center could be. I think what you describe is a pickleball senior group, not a center. Pickleball seniors are more vocal, I’ll give you that.

  3. As a Piedmont resident for over 42 years, I welcome the Non-Piedmonters to playing Pickleball in Piedmont. Those “outsiders” have even volunteered to helping the Pickleball community by opening the gates, setting up nets and taking down the nets and putting them away for the evening. They are even the ones spearheading the monthly potlucks. Besides the residents, they even volunteer for other functions within Piedmont. Those “non residents” are helping us in Piedmont to enjoying Piedmont more. We need the diversity and manpower of others to help with our fantastic city—don’t exclude them but rather welcome them.

    • I do too and never used the term “outsider”. I’m suggesting management of the courts to facilitate access for residents. And to distribute the courts around town to mitigate their impact on immediate neighbors. Doing so wouldn’t limit nonresident use. A registration system preferential to residents would do that but don’t we already do that with the tennis courts and recreation programs? Why not for pickleball?

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