The Recreation Commission report on pickleball relied on four, for lack of a better term, datasets to come to its recommendation for converting the Linda-Beach tennis courts to dedicated pickleball courts.
First, data for the five tennis facilities in town showed that Linda Beach had the least amount of annual reservations (1700+) so it was the “best use” of these two courts to have them converted to pickleball.
Second, south-bound traffic data on Linda Avenue was used to estimate that 4-7 vehicles would be added to the area per hour by pickleball.
Third, sound data was used to show that noise generated during the pickleball trial did not exceed a noise standard of 70 dB referred to in the General Plan.
The fourth dataset, an online survey conducted during the trial (810 responses), seems not to have been considered by the Subcommittee or City Council in their decisions about pickleball. The report did not contain a discussion of this data and presented it in a way that obscures the conclusion that the greatest number of users of the courts during the trial were non-residents.
When non-residents’ use numbers (not presented in the report, highlighted below) are determined, non-residents played pickleball more than residents before (186 vs. 180) and after (320 to 279) the trial. The differences are not remarkable but are probably greater than the survey shows; the survey was mostly distributed through a Piedmont Recreation Department distribution list and the city website so the numbers captured by the survey are likely biased for residents.
The numbers also show that the greatest increase in users during the trial was among non-residents (186 to 320). This should be a trend that the Recreation Department tracks as, with open play, it will become more difficult for residents to get onto these courts. The city should adopt a reservation system for weekday and weekend afternoons so Piedmonters can schedule this activity into their busy schedules.