There's a developing situation in San Francisco which may lead some pickleball fans to perform a little civil disobedience.
Here's the story:
- The city says it will remove the divider lines of about half of the 12-or-so courts currently in place at the Presidio Wall tennis & pickleball space
- Removing lines will revert the affected courts back to tennis-only
- The San Francisco Standard reports that pickleball players already face long wait times with up to 12 courts active, meaning their queues will likely be much worse if this action is taken
- Multiple noise complaints from the park's neighbors and the completion of a new public pickleball space in San Francisco
In a public statement on pickleballsf.com, the city said they temporarily expanded hours for pickleball play last year to allow more access as [the new] Larsen Pickleball Courts were constructed.
"Presidio Wall Park is a vibrant and intimate neighborhood park for everyone. We want to ensure it remains a good recreation balance of the diverse visitors from our pickleball and tennis players, youth baseball, youth tennis players, birthday parties, and children with families that visit each day."
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Tensions at an all-time high
The city's request that some nets and lines be removed was never going to be popular among pickleball players, even if new city courts were constructed to meet demand.
But another part of the story infuriating local pickleball players is that one of the local residents who petitioned to have the Presidio Wall courts removed also has a court in her own yard.
"Holly Peterson alleged that the sale of her $36 million home was thwarted due to the constant pock, pock, pock of pickleballs near the property," a San Francisco Standard report says. "Ironically, Peterson’s home featured its own pickleball court."
In that article, pro-pickleball sources claim the real frustration comes from the city failing to communicate and work with everybody to find a solution.
This top-down issue works in the reverse, of course. The tennis- and noise-related issues probably wouldn't be so prevalent in the first place if municipalities took more time to plan court placement – though recreation departments have been flooded with requests since before the pandemic.
Either way, it's refreshing to see threats of pickleball protests come from actual pickleball fans, not enemies.
We've seen protests against pickleball court construction and growth – one example saw a protester chaining themselves to trees to prevent their removal for courts (even though more would be planted than removed).