Skateboarding in Morgantown

Skateboarding In Morgantown

Although the skateboarding community is a small niche among Morgantown commuters and recreational hobbyists, it does exist. According to the U.S. Census, there are over 30,000 residents who live in this area (not including students who move here to attend college during the school year). With such heavy traffic moving throughout the city, skateboarding in town can be dangerous. Not only are there automobiles to worry about, but there are pedestrians too. One thing that makes Morgantown unique is its terrain. West Virginia is referred to as the Mountain State for a reason. This city is filled with hills and irregular landscape— being very steep in some parts. With such heavy traffic moving throughout the city and such mountainous topography, some may find it difficult to find places to skate.

 Laws and Restrictions

You might see a number of skateboarders on the sidewalks downtown or even in the street. However, in several areas this is illegal. Ed Preston, Chief of Police, explains that any violations to these laws can result in a citation from the city. Depending on which restriction one has disobeyed and how many occurrences, there could be over $200 in fines.

The City Council of Morgantown reports the following ordinances regarding skateboarding in the city.

Skateboarders Can Not…

  • haul things
  • ride on the sidewalks within the Central Business District (the boundary streets of the Monongahela River on the west; both sides of Spruce Street on the east; both sides of Willey to the north; and both sides of Foundry to the south).
  • go on roadways or sidewalks accept for crossing
  • use things to propel themselves

The map above shows where skateboarding is prohibited in Morgantown

Where to Skate?

Morgantown does offer some suitable areas to skateboard where it is legal.

Places that skateboarders are allowed to skate are known as “play streets”. These streets are car-free streets on blocks that provide children and communities with space for engaging in active play and physical activity.

One indicator of a “play street”

 

According to Alex Giuliani, a local trick skateboarder for the past 14 years, the most popular place and only skateboarding park in Morgantown is Marilla Skate Park. Marilla Skate park is located just off Powell Avenue, south of Downtown.

This outdoor skate park boasts a half-pipe, pyramid with a rail, and two combination vertical ramps. Giuliani says it is also a popular area for BMX riders.

A history of the skatepark:

 

Another popular and safe option is the Rails to Trails system around town, which includes three individual trails.  The Rail Trail system stretches out over 48 miles along the Monongahela River. It’s flat and smooth with at least eight miles of paved trail. Perfect for skateboards. Although this trail lacks ramps and other obstacles for tricks, it’s ideal for cruising. Kamden Merwede, a student here at WVU, says he really enjoys riding his longboard on the trail. Merwede says, “Some days when I’m running late for class, I’ll just hop on my board and take the Rail Trail. Then, I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic or the PRT  breaking down on me.”

Where to Find Skateboard Equipment

“I’d be super stoked if there was a real skate shop here in Morgantown devoted to just skateboarding,” says local rider Vanden Rackley. Since the skateboarding scene in Morgantown is small, there are no shops assigned to just skateboarding.   “ Pathfinder is for sure the spot for skate equipment,” Rackley says. Pathfinder is located at the end of High Street in Downtown Morgantown. They are an all-around outdoors sport shop. Although they don’t specialize in just skateboarding, the store offers a wide variety of brands and equipment for skateboarders. “Here at the store we have typically what any skateboarder would need, from trucks, wax, screws, bushings,  bearings, and of course boards,” says Bill Brandow, who manages the skate section.

Vanden Rackley talks more about skateboarding in Morgantown in the video below.


Getting Involved

If you’re interested in learning to skateboard, or meeting more people who skate, WVU offers a club! The organization is called “WVU Skateboarding & Longboarding Club“. This club is a great way to improve skating skills, while also making new friends that share the same passion. It provides the opportunity to become a member and hold a leadership position. For more information, please email wvuskate@gmail.com.

Text, video and interactive graphics by Kaitlyn Norman