San Francisco pickleball enthusiasts to rally against removal of courts

Pickleball players in San Francisco are threatening to protest the elimination of some popular courts.

This comes after the city announced plans to remove pickleball lines at Presidio Wall Playground, converting them back to tennis courts. The decision stems from months of noise complaints raised by nearby homeowners.

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department is demanding the removal of "unpermitted" nets from six out of the 12 courts at Presidio Wall Playground by this Friday. In response, players are urging the department to delay any alterations until their concerns are heard.


Presidio Wall pickleball hypocrisy heats up in San Francisco

One dispute over a pickleball court in San Francisco has gone viral because of an online petition.

Pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, has become a source of tension in neighborhoods like the Presidio, sparking debates about when and where to play. Some residents near the Presidio Wall Playground pickleball court have complained about the distinctive noise of the plastic ball used in the game.

"The noise is just awful! Bang bang bang to your head," one neighbor previously said."It's a more distinct and staccato-sound, than what tennis balls and rackets make."

"There was a massive influx of people and frankly, not the infrastructure to support it," said Sarah Madland from San Francisco Recreation and Parks. "From parking to garbage cans to noise complaints from the neighbors, parking complaints from the neighbors, public urination in driveways. There were a lot of challenges. Basically, we've overburdened this small neighborhood park."

In a hearing Thursday, pickleball players cried foul, saying they're willing to work out any issues with neighbors. 

"I think we do need to be respectful of neighbors," said pickleball player Peter Blatman "It is noisy at times, no doubt about that. But, why aren't we exploring these options for mitigating it before summarily shutting those courts down? It simply doesn't make any sense."

The players say the site has brought together a community, and those players are frustrated with the city when it comes to plans around pickleball. 

"We need a hub. Presidio Wall is the actual perfect location for that type of hub because there are 12 courts there now," said Suzy Safdie. "They're threatening to take away six courts by removing the lines. We want more transparency as well from the Rec and Park."

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department is insisting on the removal of pickleball nets from six of its 12 courts, not from all of the courts.