New Sign, Old Problems

The new sign installed this week
The new sign installed this week

After more than two years of neglect, the broken main park entrance  sign at the parking circle at the end of Spinnaker Way was finally replaced this week.

This is certainly a welcome development.  The old sign was like a proverbial broken window, advertising that nobody cared for this place and no rules were enforced.  The badly defaced smaller sign containing dog leash rules has been removed but not replaced.

So, cheers.  It’s election season and the City is fixing its makeup.  The over-all look of this park entrance is definitely spruced up.   Is it petty to look at the sign in more detail?  There’s a great deal there that’s good to read.  Kudos to the writer(s).  But there’s also some old, old problems.  Namely:

(A)  The new sign shows the porta-potty in the unfenced dog park area.  It doesn’t show the porta-potties along Spinnaker Way.  They exist in reality but they’re just missing from the map.  The map shows, instead, two bathrooms at the south end of the parking lot (grey areas, bottom of sign).

If you actually try use these, as I have, you will find that the bathroom on the right of the map (the one up on stilts, when you get to it) is permanently locked.  You need a key to get in.  You don’t have the key?  Too bad, that’s because you don’t own a boat.

The bathroom building on the left side of the sign (the building with the red doors) has better odds.  One of its eight doors might be accessible because the door closer doesn’t have enough force to shut it all the way.  The rest are locked.  Good luck finding the accessible door if you’re in urgent need.

These two permanent bathrooms, within a football field’s length of one another, were built for the boaters.  They were never intended to serve the park, but our current Marina administration, blessed in this no doubt by Councilmember Linda Maio (in whose district the park is located), is taking a “let them eat cake” approach.  Park visitors are disgusted with the porta-potties? Well, let them go use the boaters’ bathrooms.  Are they locked?  Oh, just go buy a boat, then you’ll have all the bathrooms you want.

The map on the new sign
The map on the new sign

(B)  The new sign has little black doggies in yellow circles, without leashes on, all over the south and west sides of the park.  The pictures send the message that dogs without leashes are OK in those areas.  You have to read the relatively fine print to learn that a picture of an unleashed dog designates an “On Leash Area.”  That’s cognitive dissonance of the first order. The image normally trumps the letter.

You also need to know that a lot of dog owners in the park suffer from selective dyslexia.  Trained in this, no doubt, by Bark magazine’s slogan, “Dog is my co-pilot,” (wasn’t this supposed to be a religious motto?) these owners reverse the N and the O in the sign.  In their eyes, ON LEASH AREA reads NO LEASH AREA.  You don’t have to spend an hour in the park to see violations of the leash law.  Some of this is deliberate contempt for dog laws, but much of it is genuine ignorance based on lousy signage.  The new sign imagery keeps with the tradition of lousy signage in the park and enables continuing disregard of the leash law.

So, cheers for the bright big picture.  But raspberries for some of the vital details.

And — is this a quibble?– the “Protected Natural Area” on the northeast end (in red) actually stretches quite a bit further west than the sign shows.  And the sign has extended the off leash area up the hill on the south side toward the Solar Calendar farther than the actual boundaries.


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