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Scott Beyer

Scott Beyer

June 29, 2020

Want To Improve Mobility? Bring The Skateboard.

Arizona State University holds a special place in the micro-mobility world. The urban campus, which abuts downtown Tempe, has America’s best mix of small transport options. Thousands of students shift in and around on bikes, scooters, rollerblades and Segways. Above all, it is America’s de facto skateboard capital—if you were to stand for 15 minutes on any one busy campus walkway, you might see hundreds of skateboarders pass, performing nollies, kickflips, or just going to class.

A mix of market forces and sound planning fostered this at ASU. As J.C. Porter, Assistant Director for Commuter Services, told me in a 2018 interview, it began due to student demand. Tempe is flat and the weather nice for almost all the months that school is in session. Skateboarding is already a West Coast hipster thing, and ASU has a large enrollment of California kids. It has lots of student housing within a mile, but scarce and expensive parking on campus. All this makes it a micro-mobility hub, especially for skateboards.

The ASU administration could have responded by booting the skateboards from campus—a common reaction to micro-mobility nationwide. But it welcomed them.

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