News

Parks commission: Move quickly on new dog park

Construction at Peers Park would take three weeks, but reviews and construction bidding wouldn't be done until early next year

Palo Alto Parks and Recreation commissioners support building a new dog park at Peers Park in the north part of town, urging city staff Tuesday night to accelerate a timeline that currently plans to start construction next January.

Staff presented a proposed design for a 0.73-acres dog park at the Park Boulevard park, which has emerged as the best "near-term" option for the city. Palo Alto, which currently has three dedicated dog parks, has been working for years to increase that number, particularly in north Palo Alto.

Proposals for dog areas at two other north Palo Alto parks fell through in recent months — at Eleanor Pardee Park after neighboring residents expressed concerns over the potential traffic, noise and use impacts and at Bowden Park, where the dog park was proposed for an area where public art is located and would be costly to move, according to a staff report.

The city held a community meeting on the Peers Park proposal in December 2016; attendees were largely supportive at the time, according to staff. City staff and a Dog Park Ad Hoc Committee agreed this spring to pursue the location, and in late March, the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended that staff move forward with a draft design.

As proposed, the new Peers Park dog park lie along the northeastern fence, adjacent to the train tracks. It would have separate enclosures for large and small dogs, a sliding 12-foot gate between the two areas that could be moved depending on use and need, water fountains for the animals and picnic tables for seating, among other features. The area would be closed off with a 5-foot-high vinyl clad chain link fence.

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The city's budget for the dog park is $100,000 to $125,000.

Staff have proposed completing the bid and planning review processes this fall, with a goal of starting construction in early 2018.

Commissioner Anne Warner Cribbs said she was "disappointed and dismayed" at this timeline, given the long-awaited effort to add more dog facilities in Palo Alto.

"It's been 10 years," she said. "It would be great if it could go faster than that."

Commissioner Don McDougall suggested taking a phased-in approach to building the park, which staff acknowledged is a fairly simple construction project. Construction is estimated to take three weeks, according to a staff report.

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They and other commissioners were enthusiastic about building a dog park at this location and had few questions for staff Tuesday. McDougall urged staff to consider adding benches instead of picnic tables. Warner Cribbs requested more information about the public-art restriction at Bowden Park and environmental concerns about dog urine on trees.

The city's Parks, Trails, Open Space and Recreation Master Plan, which the commission on Tuesday night unanimously recommended that the City Council adopt, commits the city to "adding dedicated, fenced dog parks in multiple neighborhoods, equitably distributed between north and south Palo Alto." The plan identifies 11 sites throughout the city as potential locations for future dog parks.

Eagerly looking ahead, Warner Cribbs put a final question to staff on Tuesday: "What's the next dog park on the list?"

Related content:

Dogged persistence

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Parks commission: Move quickly on new dog park

Construction at Peers Park would take three weeks, but reviews and construction bidding wouldn't be done until early next year

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 26, 2017, 9:37 am

Palo Alto Parks and Recreation commissioners support building a new dog park at Peers Park in the north part of town, urging city staff Tuesday night to accelerate a timeline that currently plans to start construction next January.

Staff presented a proposed design for a 0.73-acres dog park at the Park Boulevard park, which has emerged as the best "near-term" option for the city. Palo Alto, which currently has three dedicated dog parks, has been working for years to increase that number, particularly in north Palo Alto.

Proposals for dog areas at two other north Palo Alto parks fell through in recent months — at Eleanor Pardee Park after neighboring residents expressed concerns over the potential traffic, noise and use impacts and at Bowden Park, where the dog park was proposed for an area where public art is located and would be costly to move, according to a staff report.

The city held a community meeting on the Peers Park proposal in December 2016; attendees were largely supportive at the time, according to staff. City staff and a Dog Park Ad Hoc Committee agreed this spring to pursue the location, and in late March, the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended that staff move forward with a draft design.

As proposed, the new Peers Park dog park lie along the northeastern fence, adjacent to the train tracks. It would have separate enclosures for large and small dogs, a sliding 12-foot gate between the two areas that could be moved depending on use and need, water fountains for the animals and picnic tables for seating, among other features. The area would be closed off with a 5-foot-high vinyl clad chain link fence.

The city's budget for the dog park is $100,000 to $125,000.

Staff have proposed completing the bid and planning review processes this fall, with a goal of starting construction in early 2018.

Commissioner Anne Warner Cribbs said she was "disappointed and dismayed" at this timeline, given the long-awaited effort to add more dog facilities in Palo Alto.

"It's been 10 years," she said. "It would be great if it could go faster than that."

Commissioner Don McDougall suggested taking a phased-in approach to building the park, which staff acknowledged is a fairly simple construction project. Construction is estimated to take three weeks, according to a staff report.

They and other commissioners were enthusiastic about building a dog park at this location and had few questions for staff Tuesday. McDougall urged staff to consider adding benches instead of picnic tables. Warner Cribbs requested more information about the public-art restriction at Bowden Park and environmental concerns about dog urine on trees.

The city's Parks, Trails, Open Space and Recreation Master Plan, which the commission on Tuesday night unanimously recommended that the City Council adopt, commits the city to "adding dedicated, fenced dog parks in multiple neighborhoods, equitably distributed between north and south Palo Alto." The plan identifies 11 sites throughout the city as potential locations for future dog parks.

Eagerly looking ahead, Warner Cribbs put a final question to staff on Tuesday: "What's the next dog park on the list?"

Related content:

Dogged persistence

Comments

grass?
Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:25 am
grass?, Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

Would the dog park have grass or simply dirt? IMO grass would be far preferable.


Couldn't hear it
Midtown
on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:32 am
Couldn't hear it, Midtown
on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:32 am

I tried to listen to the meeting on TV but the sound system wasn't working.(again)
So I gave up and switched to another channel.

The sound system in Council chambers has long needed updating but the Manager has his personal priorities, which don't include public participation, it seems.


38 year resident
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:45 am
38 year resident, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:45 am

Wanna bet the NIMBYs will be all over this?


resident
Midtown
on Jul 26, 2017 at 11:15 am
resident, Midtown
on Jul 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

This park has no parking lot and the limited street parking has a 2 hour time limit. Only people who live within walking distance of this park can really take advantage of it.


Orin Bailey
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Orin Bailey, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

> Would the dog park have grass or simply dirt? IMO grass would be far preferable.

Grass is nice but dog pee kills sections as each 'marking' is a green light for another pooch to follow suit. Pretty soon you will have dead spots all over the area.

Rubberized track material works well as it is impervious to urine, easy on the joints and requires no cutting/maintenance.


@Resident
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2017 at 2:48 pm
@Resident, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2017 at 2:48 pm

I fixed your post:
All people who can park within walking distance of this park can really take advantage of it.

It's a neighborhood park like many without a parking lot, sprinkled all over towns, but if someone can live 1/4 mile away and use it, SURELY someone can find parking that same distance. I'd bet $1K dollars I could. If that's your only complaint, you're now out of complaints. Congrats!


Dog owner
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm
Dog owner , Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Other items were on their agenda:

--Parks, Trails, Natural Open Space & Recreation Master Plan and Mitigated Negative Declaration
--Cubberley Community Center Master Planning Discussion
--Highway 101 bike /pedestrian bridge preliminary design update

I'm more interested in ALL of these other issues than in the dog park.


jerry99
Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm
jerry99, Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm

This is a complete waste of money. There is a good dog park next to Shoreline Park with good parking.


Rover
Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm
Rover, Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm

"This is a complete waste of money. There is a good dog park next to Shoreline Park with good parking."

Shoreline in MV is a heck of a long ways to go just to walk your dog.

All that's required for a dog park is some cyclone fence and a gate.


Slow down
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:08 pm
Slow down, Charleston Meadows
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:08 pm

There is no need to rush this decision. We need to do an EIR , a traffic study and code enforcement needs to make this meets all zoning and health and safety codes. We also need to gage neighborhood feelings on this.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Provided this is grass, it sounds far superior to any of the parks in south Palo Alto.

Once this gets built, it will be a far superior park to the dirt runs in Mitchell, Hoover or Greer, so are any of these slated for upgrades?

Otherwise, the San Antonio dog park will be a better option for anyone in walking distance.

As a previous dog owner, who would want to put their dogs into a car to take them for a walk? Seems a bit odd to me.


Here we go again!
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:29 pm
Here we go again!, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Here we go again. Dogs used to run unleashed right where the proposed dog park is. My bet is like with other dog parks in our area, dogs are going to continue to run unleashed right near where little toddlers and kids play because some owners cannot be bothered to follow dog leash laws. What about upping enforcement? Even two days ago, at Hoover park right outside the dog park area, a big dog was sniffing around and peeing near the play structure where little kids were. And there are dogs running all over the baseball area at Hoover, and at Cubberley where kids play soccer, baseball, at Greer park right outside of the dog run area, on the JLS side of Mitchell park- everywhere where there are designated dog parks. Not to mention all the dogs that run unleashed on school grounds after hours (a couple of times even during school hours) when the owners could easily access the nearest dog park. What a waste of public resources when there is no enforcement or education.


R. Winslow
Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm
R. Winslow, Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm

We need to do an EIR,
@Slow Down

Are you serious? Hire a consulting firm to conduct an environmental Impact Report on a dog exercise area? Talk about a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Dogs used to run unleashed right where the proposed dog park is...What a waste of public resources when there is no enforcement or education.
@Here We Go Again

So call City of Palo Alto Animal Control on your cell phone. Your taxpayer dollars supposedly to cover these kinds of incidents.


R. Winslow
Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm
R. Winslow, Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Just replace with a capital 'E' on environmental and eliminate the 'to' on my last paragraph. *L*






R. Luck
Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 6:44 pm
R. Luck, Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Will there be an Animal Control Officer on duty/call to enforce picking up dog poop and to intervene in the event of dog altercations?

And why do we need an EIR completed for dog walk park? That's fiscal overkill.


Here we go again!
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2017 at 7:16 pm
Here we go again!, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2017 at 7:16 pm

@ R. Winslow,

Been there done that. have called animal control, written to city council, submitted picture proofs. My kids were toddlers a few years ago and dogs running around would always worry me. We had a dog run into their school after hours and jump on one of the kids who was in the child care there. My argument is that if the city does not have resources to take care of exisiting problems, it should not create more problems. There has to be some mechanism where by irresponsible dog lovers are held accountable for violating leash laws without placing the burden of reporting on concerned moms with little toddlers. I am a dog owner by the way!


PAmom
Mayfield
on Jul 26, 2017 at 7:48 pm
PAmom, Mayfield
on Jul 26, 2017 at 7:48 pm

We don't own a dog but I think this is a great idea. My children love dogs and we often take them to the dog park at Hoover park. My only bother is that it seems pretty big. Does it need to take up all of the area behind the tennis courts? Lots of my children and their friends really like going on "adventures" and exploring around those bushes near the tracks. It makes them feel like they have a little bit of freedom. Don't worry I always check around for cigarettes or random people hanging out there. It seems like the plan takes up a huge proportion of Peers. And when there are soccer games going on at the main field where will our children be free to roam when we're at the park. Just some things to think about.


Cheeseguy
Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2017 at 6:59 am
Cheeseguy, Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2017 at 6:59 am

All I can say is that every park in Palo Alto is a dog park already. I have been jumped on by off leash dogs and chased by them in multiple parks in recent years. Politely asking dog owners to obey the laws typically results the owner doing nothing and offering one of the following: 1) "my dog isn't bothering you, so leave me alone", 2) "go ahead and turn me in, call the police, they won't come", or 3) some unprintable expletive. There is zero respect for the laws that exist and unless we put some enforcement teeth into the existing laws this whole discussion of dog parks is a complete farce.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2017 at 11:51 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2017 at 11:51 am

"There is no need to rush this decision."

Give me a break, this process is already painfully slow. The parks commission has been talking about dog parks for many years now, but nothing has been built. There have been many community meetings, including one specifically for Peers Park. Calling this a rushed decision is laughable.


resident
Midtown
on Jul 27, 2017 at 12:21 pm
resident, Midtown
on Jul 27, 2017 at 12:21 pm

If you see off-leash dogs where they should not be, do not confront the dog owner. Many of them are just as vicious as their dogs. I see reports on Nextdoor all the time about people being bitten by off-leash dogs. Call 911 and report a potentially dangerous animal. There are official signs in parks telling you to call the police and you should also do this when you see them in public areas outside of parks.


MP
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm
MP, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm

@Cheeseguy & @resident of Midtown

yours is the other side of nastiness I fear.

Have been going for 16 years to all PA parks & never, not one time, neither dogs, not their owners misbehaved.

There a great dog park in Fremont, next to Elizabeth lake, that shows how beneficial it is to have one - for the animals, for the owners, for the community as a whole, where people - with children or w/out, all ages, can look at dogs playing together, people socializing.


BTW I am a cat person


Cheeseguy
Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm
Cheeseguy, Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm

MP:
I am not trying to be nasty, only truthful and accurate. Perhaps because I like to jog in local parks I attract some more attention than one would just remaining still in a park. But I have repeatedly been nipped at by chasing dogs. At another point last year I was walking through Seale Park and a large, off leash Golden Retriever jumped on me with full force. If I had been frail or less steady on my feet it could have knocked me flat and caused a serious injury (if a human had done this they would be in put jail). In addition, an off leash dog seriously bit my wife some years ago, resulting in an Urgent Care visit. We reported this to Animal Services only to find out that this same dog had previously been off leash and bitten another person some months before. Frankly, we should have filed a lawsuit against the owners (perhaps getting some real news on the front page of the PA Weekly about off leash risks would be useful), but we accepted the apology of the owners .
Oh, and then again, there are the repeated attacks on the Bol Park donkeys by off leash dogs, remember???
I am not trying to be nasty. Part of respecting the rights of others is respecting the laws on the use of public places.



Loving dog owner
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm
Loving dog owner, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm

My leashed dog--a very submissive and sweet, leashed medium sized dog--has been attacked and bitten twice on two different occasions. Once at Cubberley and once at Mitchell Park. The first owner apologized. The second owner did not. I had to hold off his dog and call the owner from the other side of the park where he was engaged with his cell phone and not paying attention.

I have two dogs. They are both always leashed. It's the law.


sunshine
Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2017 at 9:01 am
sunshine, Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2017 at 9:01 am

Please enforce leash laws throughout Palo Alto. Again, yesterday when I walked in Bol Park and the adjoining Gunn High area, someone had two large dogs off leash. These dogs were well behaved, still they were a bit unnerving as they ran free, often across the park from their owner.
I did not call anyone as it does no good. Police won't issue citations and unless the dog is obviously vicious and has bitten you most of the time Animal Control doesn't even bother to come out to pick up the animals. If they do, they just take to the owners. Without issuing a citation with a hefty fine those who flaunt the law just say "sorry" and continue on.
Keep you dog on a leash when off your own property unless the dog is in a dog park and inside the special area.


Parent
Greene Middle School
on Jul 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm
Parent, Greene Middle School
on Jul 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm

This does nothing to combat the poop on my property. Dog owners have no problem trespassing and leaving feces on our neighborhood sidewalks and properties. Most dog owners think their dogs are too good to take them to a dog park and very few will use it. There are constantly off-leash dogs at Addison, Jordan, and other school campuses. And along with it, dog owners allow their dogs to defecate and they don't pick up after them—they pretend they don't see them as they socialize with other dog owners. Children have P.E. classes or play on those lawns. This is a health hazard and our superintendent doesn't care, nor does our City Council. If my child is ever harmed, you bet I'm going to sue the owner for as much as I can get.


resident
Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:16 am
resident , Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:16 am

I am resident and have a dog. I think we have something much more urgent and important matters in our community to use this budget of dog park.

I don't take my dog to dog park because my dog is scared with other dogs and cannot be friendly. However, even my dog was friendly to other dogs, I wouldn't take my dog to dog park because off-leash dog park is not always a safe and fun place for dogs and people.

I've seen many owners sitting on a bench and looking at their smartphone or talking to other owners, with no attentions to their dogs, very less owners actually watching their dogs or playing with them. I've seen and heard stories of dogs/people injured, even died, because of other dogs bite at dog park.

The worst, it was quiet a lot of dog poops left in a dog park especially where off-leash is allowed. How would owners know their dogs did their business and need to scoop if looking at smartphone or socializing to other owners all the time? This is not just in a park, thro.

I am not against for a dog park, but we already have three in Palo Alto. And, there are some open space, park, trails, beach nearby where off-leash is allowed. It might not be walking distance, but the dog owners could take dogs by car if they want.


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