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Planned dog park in north Palo Alto hits a snag

Original post made on Mar 26, 2013

Palo Alto's plan to give residents in the north part of the city their first dog park is now in limbo after officials learned that visiting pooches would be exercising too close to another local species -- the steelhead trout swimming in the nearby San Francisquito Creek.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 9:30 PM

Comments (26)

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm

That's got to be a joke, right? Does dog barking affect trout spawning? I'm going to enjoy my trout dinner tonight..


Posted by yay trout, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm

No dogs and no Searsville dam. Let the native steelhead come home to their ancestral waters.


Posted by No Snark, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2013 at 6:30 am

Mr Recycle, can you explain the reasons behind the mandated 100 foot setback? Hint, its not about dog barking. You don't have to agree with the multiple reasons for the setback, but I have a feeling this is a situation where you're mocking something you simply do not understand.

Here's a great link of a couple 2 foot steelhead spawning in aresidential Palo Alto section of San Fransiquito crk just this past season:
Web Link


Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 27, 2013 at 9:07 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.

As a former Parks and Recreaton Commission, I support my former colleagues, and I also offer some challenges:

Why is the approved design and plan for El Camino Park in need of review? Proponents for change such as the Host House and the dog park, are playing a sleight of hand, insulting the work effort of City Staff, the consultants on that project, and the Parks and Recreation Commission on what works on that site. Justify why the existing approved plan requires new review before proposing changes.

I view this particular consultant to have a very narrow perspective of this idea. To whit:
--no demonstrated understanding or effort to work with the designers on both groups around this idea
--A slick presenter who thinks he can bamboozoole local citizens with a passion for representing the City and Community as Parks Commissioners.
--A blind eye to what proposing the Host House means for El Camino Park. It is for this consulting firm getting Mr. Arillaga's building concept done, not dealing with its impact on Parks or otherwise.
--Out of scope for Parks and Recreation Commission, but I do think the traffic implications have not been adequately addressed.

I tend to be skeptical of developer based ideas in Palo Alto at this point. Their minions are well paid and do not propose what is in the best interest of the community.

Not always, but all too often.

Pretty pictures and unrealistic designs were again presented. Implications beyond the immediate area, especially regarding traffic and people using public transit, need to be further explored before any of this effort gets further consideration.

Mr. Arillaga is a very generous person, and has made many great things happen at Stanford and the adjoining communities. He will have a lasting postive legacy, and that does not mean, in the lyrics from the Rolling Stones: "you can't always get what you want."




Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

Mr Recycle,

Well it is close to April 1st. We dog owners can only hope.

Thank goodness that we and the environment are so well off that this is actually an issue.


Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

Mr Recycle,

Well it is close to April 1st. We dog owners can only hope.

Thank goodness that we and the environment are so well off that this is actually an issue.


Posted by Another solution, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

Why couldn't we just have dog off leash hours at exiting parks or fields. Menlo park and Los gatos have off leash hours in designated hours. This will save the city and tax payers lots of money.


Posted by Kelly, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

I hope it gets worked out. A dog park would be fantastic! So Addison can be for kids.


Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

Letting dogs run off leash at any time would require a vote of the people, due to a law that was passed in the 1950's.

This has been a long standing issue. The existing law is constantly violated in both city parks and school yards, but is seldom enforced.


Posted by KT , a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

Dog parks are no good anyway. Irresponsible owners and untrained dogs going to the dog park to wreak havoc on each other and ruining the environment in the meantime! This area needs an open space where people can train their dogs...agility courses...


Posted by Really??, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I am in generall pro environmental efforts. Yet it is a thing like this that frustrates me. I would seriously like to understand the rationale for this and why it cannot be mitigated. What is the problem? Is it rain/runoff carrying urine (and un-picked up feces)? How close *will* the fence be? Can a small (6" high) retaining wall and drain be installed to divert water flow? Surely we are not worried about percolation, are we?
Really, I'd like to understand, because otherwise this is another case of good intentions writing bad laws.


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Why so many soccer fields for the benefit of East Palo Alto residents and not enough dog park for North Palo Alto residents?


Posted by Love Dogs, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I love dogs, but dog parks tend to be places that exposť dogs to parasites. I have also seen too many injurious dog fights in those parks, and some of them have resulted in lawsuits.

If you do not have a suitable back yard to run your dog in, walk him or run him alongside as you jog, rollerblade, or bikeride. It is safer than a dog park.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

@No Snark - I can drive in a 6 lane road or 10 lane freeway over the creek, I can ride the train over the creek, I can walk my dog on the banks of the creek, I can park my car at the edge of the creek. But a dog park within 100ft of the creek is a problem? That's just stupid, and sad that we let environmentalist nonsense control this kind of thing. And I don't even care specifically about the park, It's just find this kind of nonsense annoying.


Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Even without the environmental impact, a dog park represents a want, not a need. We are still facing severe annual budget deficits. We have no means of paying for our vital and essential needs in infrastructure and public safety. Thus far the only apparent remedy is another bond measure and tax increase. Bottom line, we can't afford a dog park. We shouldn't even be talking about dog parks and other non-essential expenditures until our financial house is in order.


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Perhaps I should start eating trout as retribution.


Posted by bill g, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Merrol makes an excellent point. Why do we continually add to our infrastructure when we are struggling to maintain what we have? No more bond issues; no more taxes until we can support our present needs.

PS Why does Mr Arrillaga get a vote on this? Is his proposal for a massive, traffic heavy project already a foregone conclusion? I didn't know the City Council had approved it yet, or is it in the bag before any more hearings?


Posted by Jane, a resident of University South
on Mar 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm

- Mr Arillaga has not yet been given permission to build a New York complex on a small parcel

- El Camino Park is not easily reachable for most people - inconvenient location.

- The creek needs protection from even the asphalt of a parking lot - protecting the creek is a big reason for the setback.


Posted by Trout vs Dogs, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Now we are worried about the impact to steelhead trout versus additional recreational space for PA north dog owners, which is much needed? Seriously, have you seen the Greer Park dog park? It's the size of one bowling alley. And Mitchell Park dog park? What a joke! Half grass/half mud!
Oh, and while we are worried about funding....why don't we waste more citizen tax dollars and have 2 Assistant Directors of Community Services. Yep, 2! Because one isn't enough. Fresh off the press! I'm sure there will be a news release soon. Here we go again Palo Alto...top heavy on the management side...but no money for infrastructure!


Posted by Mark Lind-Hanson, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I have been a resident of the MidPeninsula about half my life, Palo Alto having been my original home. For me, El Camino Park has a lot of memories- concerts, sports events, more. What sense does it make to tear out the natural turf and replace it with synthetic? It seems to me to be symptomatic of so much which is currently en vogue with the ways of the city planners & their deals with Mr. Arillaga et al. Dog poo is going to run off into the creek and affect the trout? On synthetic turf, in a community where people most generally have to (or will) pick up after their animals? Or- dogs barking will scare away the fish? Sounds to me as if all this is cocked-up phoney-mod environmentalism without a stitch of the real thing.


Posted by Bad Location, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Maybe a dog park would be more welcome out by the golf course, instead of one of the proposed athletic fields.


Posted by Educated on the issue, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 29, 2013 at 7:00 am

You people REALLY need to understand the reason/law for the 100ft setback rule regarding construction. It does not just apply to dog parks and its has nothing to do w/ poop or barking.
Its not an either or situation so quit acting like the world will end if they don't cram the park right up to the creek.
Entitled PA resident once more. Me me me and MY needs.
People should know what their spouting off about to avoid looking so ignorant.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I've love dogs, and have had 4 great dogs in my life, but I don't really care about an off-the-leash dog park ... I think it is a waste of money and real estate. For some reason at this point in Palo Alto's history enough dog owners are really rude and inconsiderate that the whole group is suspect in my book these days.

What pleasantly surprises me is that we have trout in the waters of our own creek? That's great news, but pretty amazing as I hardly ever see water in our creek ... do these trout have feet? Glad to hear that we have trout ... but not so glad that the mountain lion have to come all the way down here to find a place to hang out. ;-)


Posted by sanmateo@doodycalls.com, a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

Yes, the poop is toxic and can and has shut down water ways. Most people pick up when there are stations available. We service a park near a water way once a week to clean up what is missed. Owners don't always see when or can't find were the dog has made its deposit. We do have a business sponsored waste station program that can work in such areas at little cost to the city.

For more info call our local number 650-281-8116.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2013 at 10:54 am

Should dog poop be put in the compostible or the recyclable/trash containers in this new system?

What about raccoon poop? I keep finding it in my yard and we do not have dogs or cats! They keep getting into my trash. Does their poop get removed and prevented from going into waterways? No, of course not.


Posted by sanmateo@doodycalls.com, a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

Dog poop is not compostable in most city run services. It has to be handled in a different system to make sure all the pathogens are removed, higher heat for a longer time.

Dog poop is not compostable in most city run services. It has to be handled in a different system to make sure all the pathogens are removed, higher heat for a longer time.

So putting it in the trash in a bag is the best way for now. The dump sites are closed systems and what ever runs off is treated or contained. To dump it in the sewer system is an option but dogs eat all kinds of thing and could glog or over tax the system. i.e. rocks , rubber toys ect.


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