There is a new leash free dog park in downtown San Diego, at the intersection of Market Street and Park Boulevard. Its something the dogs of downtown and their owners have requested for a long time. Finally the city gets into gear and promises to build a temporary one with a permanent one even more years into the future.
So are the dogs and residents happy about the first leash free dog park in downtown San Diego. The answer is a big NO. Sure maybe it’s not in the most central location to the dogs condos but there is one shocking detail that makes the park a big failure no matter where they build it. That shocking detail is the park will have no grass and instead have a surface made of GRAVEL. Can you imagine, any dog I know tries to avoid gravel because of its instability and little pebbles getting caught between their toes.
Leash free dog parks are meant for dogs to play in which includes running around. Have you ever tried to make a sharp turn while running on gravel, its just not smart and the poor dog that slips and falls could have the city pleading for mercy in court. The city can easily install a grass base before they become dumfounded as to why every one asked for a dog park and is now not using it.
I have been to many of dog parks up and down the west coast from Seattle to San Diego, I have never seen one with a base of just gravel. I have heard they exist and think that any city that has a gravel base is simply too lazy to care and too cheap to maintain the grass. San Diego city is not short of money its short of people who know how to spend it wisely. The downtown lease free dog park is recognized by the city staff as an immediate need based on various meetings they have had regarding downtown residents issues.
Ok, so the gravel is a mistake might as well mention another mistake while were at it since they are planning a permanent lease free park somewhere in downtown. Let’s talk about the location, Park and Market in the East Village is not exactly a densely populated part of downtown like say the Marina, Little Italy or Cortez Hill. The city does have some vacant land options in the Marina and one more centrally located in Gaslamp District. I would like to see the lease free park in the Gaslamp on the last surface parking lot left. It’s only temporarily a parking lot till the owner flips it in the next real estate up cycle. The city even helped him expand his parking lot with its imminent domain powers kicking out a coffee shop on the corner. Now we have the eye sore of a parking lot in the Gaslamp for five years since the imminent domain and probably several more years till the owner can find a buyer (5th and J streets). Sure the owner had plans to build a hotel there, but while he is waiting it’s the perfect place to put downtowns temporary leash free dog park.
The Marina location is on Front and Island streets, another site with future development plans but no near terms plans which could accommodate a dog park.