Didn’t Look Up

Second blue line lies about 15 yards south of actual boundary, plainly marked by tall metal sign

Responding to criticism both verbal and physical, the Park administration yesterday staked a second thin blue line near the southern boundary of the dog park, and once again got it wrong. The eastern anchor of the new line is approximately correct, but the western end is too far south by about fifteen yards. The error on the west end would have been obvious if the surveyors had looked up from the ground at the metal sign next to the porta-potty that plainly marks the actual boundary.

This column pointed out the initial boundary error in a post on November 6. Both the eastern and western endpoints of the first new blue line encroached on public land, adding more than 900 square yards to the dog park. The next day, some unknown parties, possibly the same ones who have vandalized dog park signage in the past, pulled up some of the blue sticks and threw them into the trash barrel (photo below). For good measure they also pulled up one of the few remaining brown fiberglass boundary markers from somewhere else in the park and stood it next to the barrel.

Dog park boundary vandals trash old brown boundary marker, new blue stakes, Nov. 7

On November 8, Parks installed a second blue line, without removing most of the first line. The second line runs about nine yards to the north of the first on its western end, but remains fifteen yards south of the legal boundary. Whoever laid it out did not look up to see, or chose to ignore, the long-established boundary marker in the form of a tall metal sign, next to the porta-potty. Duh. That’s where the western end of the blue line belongs.

The thin blue line, once it tracks the actual boundary of the dog park as established by City Council, can serve a useful function in clearing up the widespread confusion among dog owners and the general public about the dog park boundaries. It will enable Animal Control to be more effective in enforcing the Berkeley leash laws. There will be problems. In parts of the boundary, such as the western arc below the Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar, the blue markers will be invisible in the tall vegetation. The blue stakes can’t stop an animal from roaming out of bounds. The blue line is not a fence, which is what’s needed to make a proper dog park. But the blue markers are a step in the right direction.

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