From the WSB Forums: Volleyball overkill? Parks responds

June 18, 2013 at 10:12 am | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news, WS & Sports | 18 Comments

For about a week, WSB Forum members have been discussing Alki Beach volleyball tournaments and a perception that they’re taking up more of the sandy beach than past summers. Many questions were asked about matters such as permits, parking, and rules; we asked Seattle Parks for answers, and have added the reply to the Forums thread, which you’ll find here – as the discussion continues. (One thing we learned from the Parks reply: The department publishes a regularly updated list of big events coming up at its parks citywide.)

18 Comments

  1. My daughter-in-law was on one of the teams that played on the beach. It was sort of a family outing for them. The kids could play in the sand and retrieve balls for them. The games were short so several teams used the net in an evening. Beach volleyball is good exercise and the teams I saw were having so much fun. It’s more of a problem when school’s out and the weather is nice because there really isn’t enough parking to accommodate so many users. And of course, bus service is iffy. I hope a solution is found that works for everyone.

    Comment by Norma — 10:26 am June 18, 2013 #

  2. As a former high school, collegiate, and well into my 40′s player, and now a resident of the area, I welcome the play on Alki. Volleyball is a positive force in the recreation world, as well as a great sport for girl’s to continue on into the collegiate ranks with scholarship opportunities. The league and tournament players do take up some space, but they keep the place healthy, vibrant and clean.
    Parking and amplified music is an issue that can be worked out with the organizers.
    I would much rather have the volleyball crowd then the hooligans that show up and trash our beach on a regular basis.

    Comment by Bill at Duwamish Head — 11:06 am June 18, 2013 #

  3. I have lived within shouting distance from the beach for 35 years. The volleyball folks seem the very friendly and welcome visitors. Parking is minimal no matter what group is at the beach.

    Comment by will o wisp — 11:18 am June 18, 2013 #

  4. So I see the pro VB crowd is in full effect now. The issue is not with the sport of Volleyball. Obviously it’s good to be competitive and get outside and be active.

    I’m also not sure that the Volley Ball crowd keeps it cleaner than the many other groups and congregate at Alki.

    As families use the areas near the courts, many times I’ll see balls flying at groups of kids and families that are playing and trying to have a picnic. So essentially it’s more space being affected, not just the court space.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 12:09 pm June 18, 2013 #

  5. I wasn’t trying to be on one side or the other of this issue. I’m for the families trying picnic and have a nice evening outside with their kids at the beach. Surely we can find a solution to make it work for both groups. I’m sorry if it sounded like I favored one activity over the other because that’s not the case.

    Comment by Norma — 12:28 pm June 18, 2013 #

  6. I was part of the online discussion. I love Volleyball and would love to be able to take my niece and her friends down to Alki to play more often, but after several times of being kicked off the courts by permit holders, we avoid the area completely. I have written the Parks Department several time about this and am happy to see they are finally at the very least giving some explanation of how permits work for the poles and a the link to the park schedule (why they never could point me there to begin with, who knows)

    The main issue really is not families and small groups playing volleyball, the issue is that the parks department allows the area at Alki that is set up for volleyball to be reserved EVERY summer weekend by pay to play groups, forcing families and “casual” players to move further and further down the beach. I think there is a balance to be found to allow more time/space for “casual” pickup games and family play and less pay to play events that cut off the main volleyball area to most users. One or two of these events a month is fine, the parks can use the money and club sports should have some ability to plan out events, but every summer weekend at one of the city’s most popular beaches is over kill. Over the years, these events have added multiple sponsor and organization tents, multiple PDA systems, and while they are not supposed to, bleachers are becoming more and more common, again, crowding everyone else visiting Alki.

    Comment by Thistlemist — 1:46 pm June 18, 2013 #

  7. @Norma I agree with you :) My comment wasn’t meant to have a go with you at all. It was more pointed towards the others.

    I think maybe the best solution is to have the courts somewhere other than smack dab in the middle of the beach. Move it to one end or the other.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 1:52 pm June 18, 2013 #

  8. The amount of beach being taken up by volleyball players is becoming too much. The viewing parties are taking up the walking path, which puts pedestrians on the bike path. The amplified music and announcements are annoying as well. I’m all for sharing this wonderful beach, but it’s just getting over the top.

    Comment by Guy Olson — 6:37 pm June 18, 2013 #

  9. I rode by on my bike Saturday late morning and was shocked at how little of the beach could be used by families. Families who had to sit on top of one another.

    Comment by Chris W — 7:06 pm June 18, 2013 #

  10. From an old timer down at Alki – way too much volleyball. (sorry) At least I observed 2/3 of the beach with like 2 on 2 volleyball “games”. Way more people would like to enjoy this beach than just volleyball players. Permits or not. Is it to the point where you must get a permit to enjoy a chunk of a beautiful beach? Would like to get all of our beach back.

    Comment by dee — 9:40 pm June 18, 2013 #

  11. I’m all for the beach being used for organized events. Before the volleyball tournaments the use of that area was flooded by people (high school-college age) blocking the paths, littering, shouting, fighting, just being a royal pain. Bring on more tournaments, bring on some concerts, have more organized events along the beach. As a resident with kids, I don’t take my family there on nice days since the areas not used by tournaments are filled with people I don’t want my kids to be near. I don’t like smoking, I don’t like people swearing and fighting around my kids.
    .
    Bring more organized events!

    Comment by Mike — 10:35 pm June 18, 2013 #

  12. There should probably be a limit to how much beach space is used by the tournaments (no more than half seems logical, and all nets down at end of day). I was there Sunday and it was almost impossible to walk my bike down the bike path, much less actually ride it without hitting a wondering toddler. I’m glad this discussion is happening; a positive sign of how active and involved the community is (even if there are the same number of tournaments, etc.).

    Comment by Thomas — 7:03 am June 19, 2013 #

  13. Anchor Park when the tide is low is a good sandy beach. Less hectic than Alki. Closest public restrooms are at the boat launch.

    Comment by Gina T — 3:30 pm June 19, 2013 #

  14. “Mike”: I’m sure your kids love that! “Lets go to the beach Dad”, “No kids, the general public is there”. I don’t think we should listen to your two cents if you don’t know what the beach is like.

    Comment by Guy Olson — 5:32 pm June 19, 2013 #

  15. Wow. We are really going to complain about the amount of space they take up on the beach? I will take that over the thugs and crime that litter our precious Alki every summer…

    Comment by Really? — 6:04 pm June 19, 2013 #

  16. This is a perfect issue for the Alki Community Council to take on at their next meeting. Please attend & voice your concerns. You will be amazed how strong a voice ACC can represent to the Parks Dept. Strength in #’s, folks!! Democracy at work right in your own American backyard!

    NEXT MTG: THURS., JUNE 20, 7:00pm at the Alki UCC Church
    6115 SW Hinds St.

    For more info. go to: http://alkinews.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Betty at Alki — 12:38 am June 20, 2013 #

  17. I thought there was a rule against name-calling in the comment threads?
    .
    To me, the situation sounds somewhat similar to when the Parks department was going to let a private company have part of Lincoln Park for a commercial operation.
    .
    Volleyball is great. Lots of people using the parks is great. The occasional organized meet is great. Team sports require some organizational structure. But sponsor tents? Half the park for-profit every weekend? Sounds like Key Arena, not a public park.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 10:54 am June 20, 2013 #

  18. Hi,
    Any modifacations to the amount of courts able to use or moving the courts to the east would escentually kill beach volleyball in the Puget sound area. The only time tournaments use more than the allotted courts is for juniors tournaments. Would have to lay out alot more sand to make the beach people want. If there was a way to make more space without completely killing a entire sport that has played there for years i would say go for it.

    Comment by Cam — 1:54 pm June 28, 2013 #

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