3 The shared use of common land is a thorny problem in economics. The classic case cited is grazing animals on a common - each person has an incentive to graze more animals than the land can support. Rules need to be established to ensure that people do not use more than their fair share of the common resource.
4 Parks have a more complex version of this same problem - there are many possible uses for a park, and rules are necessary to avoid one use from taking up more than its fair share. Some activities have bad consequences for other users - driving off-road vehicles over the grassy areas will likely damage them enough to prevent use for sports, for example, so this activity is banned.
5 Dogs in parks present problems of this nature in several ways.
6 The most pressing one is that of excrement. Anyone who has ever owned a dog will admit that the primary purpose of the daily walk is to get the dog to defecate outside the house. As a build-up of dog excrement will rapidly make the Park unpleasant and unsanitary for other users, there are strict rules that dog owners should clean up after their dogs.
7 Dogs that run loose present other problems - they may attack or mate with one another, run in packs, or harry small children. Accordingly, there are rules that dogs in parks should remain leashed at all times. Like any reasonably applied rule, there is a little leeway here, and individual well-behaved dogs sometimes run loose when other park users aren't nearby, but this leeway can be abused.
8 It doesn't take many violations of these rules to create an adverse effect. If you've slipped on a turd running for home plate or diving to save a goal, or had your toddler knocked of his bicycle by a large, loose dog (even if 'he's just being friendly'), it creates a strong deterrent against using that park again.
9 Segregating dogs into their own separate area is a viable solution, but because of the broad adverse effects of even a few extra violations on other park users, care needs to be taken to ensure that these possibilities are minimized.
11 The following should be considered when choosing a site
12 Area not used for community activities
13 If possible, the dog park area should not reduce the available area for other uses. In particular, reducing grass area is unnecessary, as most successful dog parks use a non-grass surface, for better hygiene. See these photographs of the Las Palmas dog park in Sunnyvale and Miyuki Park in San Jose.
14 Safe access for dogs and owners
15 Dogs and owners should be able to enter the dog area with minimum disturbance to other park users - having it directly adjacent to a parking area or park entrance is good here; this reduces the chance of clashes with other users
17 While anyone living adjacent to a park can expect some noise, the baying and howling of dogs playing in a pack can carry further than people playing, and as this advice from the Hellyer dog park fan web site shows, fights are expected:DO NOT bring nice dog toys with you because majority of the dog fights are happened over the toy. Be careful about bringing dog treats to the park, some dogs there are very food motivated and may start fight over the treat. So, use your common sense when using this dog enclosure and you will love to come back again and again.
19 As this park is planned for the whole of District 9, it is likely to attract dog owners who drive to the Park, and thus put extra strain on parking facilities, so having adequate spaces nearby is important. In addition, the possible congestion caused by an influx of dog-bearing cars should be considered too.
21 Doerr Park
22 At first, Doerr Park looks like an ideal location for the District 9 Dog Park. The long corridor of grassland highlighted in yellow in the Aerial photo is under a row of pylons, and is quite well separated from the rest of the park. It could easily be converted by fencing off each end, as there are existing fences on both sides, and it is already used for dogs to run in.
|23 However, the strip in question backs on to several houses, and would create a significant nuisance for the residents. In addition, parking at the park is on-street only, and is not adjacent to this section, so would require dog owners to walk past all the other activities in the park to reach the run.
24 Branham Park
|25 Branham Park is smaller than Doerr park, but it is also less busy. It has a large grassy area, a children's playground near to the adjacent houses, and a small picnic area. However, is also has a large, unused section of scrubland, highlighted in yellow on the aerial photo.|
|26 This is bordered by the river bed on the north and by the Safeway car park on the west, and so does not abut any houses.|
|27 The objection may be made that this is in the far corner of the park, and would require dog owners to walk past the other areas, but in fact it is accessible from the shopping center car park through an existing gate.|
|28 The parking spaces in the shopping center can continue to act as overflow for the on-street parking on the east side of the park.|
29 Camden Park
|30 Camden is very large, and has a lot of parking spaces available. It is free of houses on every side but the west, and there are many suitable areas that could be turned into a dog park, and still leave a very large grassed area.|
31 Roy Butcher Park
|32 Roy Butcher Park is heavily used for baseball and has houses close on three sides. The only viable site would be on the main road side as indicated. Parking is on-street only, which may be problematic.|
33 Kirk Park
|34 Kirk Park is a small park, and a very busy one. The grassed area is relatively small, and is divided into two sections, a large one at the east, and a small one in the north west, behind the popular basketball courts. It is quite common for both of these areas to be occupied by different activities - in summer Soccer pitches are marked out at weekends, and two simultaneous games go on in the large grassed area, while the next two teams train in the smaller area to the west. This week there were two baseball training session going on the large area concurrently with the children's Kickball on the west lawn.|
|35 Because of the Kirk Community Center, there are usually a lot of cars parked in the two parking lots. Houses adjoin the park directly on the north and west, and are separated from the park by Foxworthy Avenue to the south and Briarwood Avenue to the east. The children's playground on the east side is currently being renovated at a cost of $250,000, and when completed is likely to attract more children and parents to the park. The picnic area beside the play area is often used for children's parties in the Summer months. The upcoming development of apartments on the nearby Hacienda Gardens site is likely to bring even more visitors to this neighborhood park.|
|36 With all these manifold uses and constraints it is hard to see how a dog park could fit in as well. The west lawn (outlined in red) that has been suggested is unsuitable on several grounds mentioned above - it is directly adjacent to 7 houses, is in frequent use for communal activities (it is about 20% of the usable grassed area for team sports). It is not close to the parking area; dogs would need to be brought past the basketball court to it. Perhaps the only area that could be repurposed as a dog park is the lawn outside the Kirk Community Center (highlighted in yellow), as it has adjacent parking, and does not abut any houses.|
38 It is for the council to decide the relative merits of these different parks, but to us Branham looks like the site that can be converted with the least expense and least inconvenience to existing park users. Camden is also a strong candidate, as it has a lot of open grassland, but would require more fencing. Doerr, Roy Butcher Kirk are poor choices because of the proximity of housing and heavy existing park utilization.
39 Kevin and Rosemary Marks, March 2003
|41 Local children petition to keep the west lawn of Kirk Park for sports||42 Some people break all the rules.|