Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Big Week for Dogs

First, a heavily used dog park reopens. Then, the City's new, experimental off-leash program starts. I've touched on dog issues in c-port before, but it's clear these are truly the dog days of summer.

After a period of work involving excavation, new fill, and removing/replacing fencing, the revamped Pacific Street Park off-leash area reopened late last week. The renovations were needed because of terrible drainage issues in the park, partly due to the lack of any drainage infrastructure, and partly due to intense use by dogs and owners that rendered the surface an impervious patch of bare dirt. After Friday's heavy rain, my dog and I wandered over to see how the new surface performed.

First, credit where credit is due: Friday's rains were the kind that in the past, would have eliminated the possibility of park play for a week. The old surface would have become a quagmire. Just the fact that a dozen of us could come and use the park was an improvement.

That said, however, it's a mystery why the renovation work didn't include an overflow pipe to drain excess stormwater out to Tudor Street (though Tudor's own drainage is an issue, as the street floods badly on days like Friday.) As it is, the new surface sits in a earthen bathtub, and all the water collects to the streetside corner, the section where the dog pictured above found a place to cool off (and get filthy). A significant portion of the new pea stone was washed out of the park and across the sidewalk, where someone tried to barrier it off with wood. All told, the new surface (and the park in general) still need some work.

Following the reopening, c-port dog owners can now take their pooches legally off-leash in a variety of "shared-space" parks, as part of a pilot program spearheaded by Councilman Craig Kelley. Launched August 1, the City has provided a map of the parks (shared for parts of the day or all day), as well as a guide to the experimental rules.

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