Request for Maintenance

To:   Cesar Chavez Park Maintenance Supervisor
From: Martin Nicolaus,
Re: Dog Park Boundary Maintenance
Date: June 12,  2018

The dog park in Cesar Chavez Park — also known as Off Leash Area or OLA — needs urgent maintenance of its boundaries.  Important boundary signs, both metal and fiberglass, have fallen and in some cases disappeared. A former boundary path has reverted to weeds due to lack of maintenance.  Dog park users and other park visitors have great difficulty knowing where the boundaries lie, and it is increasingly common to see dogs off leash in areas of the park where the Berkeley leash law applies.

[1]  Important metal boundary signs have fallen and in some cases disappeared.

[a]  A steel post boundary sign on the east-west path near the flare station fell last month and has not been replaced.  

The photo on the left, above, shows the sign post leaning but still standing in March 2018. The photo on the right shows the same sign lying on the ground in May 2018. As of June 10, the sign was still on the ground.  Visitors coming from or going to the paved trail on the east now have no way of knowing where the dog park begins and ends.

[b]  An important steel post boundary sign on the northside east-west path was downed and removed two years ago and has not been replaced.  

A Google map from 2015 shows the sign standing.  The photo on the right shows the sign downed in April 2016.  The sign thereafter disappeared.

The location is a much-used path that connects the western valley trail in the dog park to the western ridge trail, which lies outside the dog park. With that sign gone, nothing notifies dog park users coming from the north that the western ridge trail lies outside the dog park.




[c]  A third metal signpost marking the dog park boundary was taken from an unknown location and carried to a hilltop in the dog park, and dropped.

The photo at the right shows the sign on the ground in February 2015. The sign subsequently disappeared.  I do not know where the post originally stood.




[2]  Fiberglass markers have disappeared from the southern and western boundaries of the dog park.

Google maps from 2015 show a string of red fiberglass boundary markers that extended east from the water fountain in the dog park to the metal sign near the flare station, shown on the previous page.  Another string of red fiberglass markers stretched from the vicinity of the water fountain west to the porta-potty at the edge of the dog park. These signs marked the southern boundary of the dog park.  None of these red fiberglass signs remains standing today. One such sign could be found wedged inside the porta-potty in March 2018; see photo on the right.



The western boundary of the dog park lies to the east of and downhill from the western ridge trail (where the Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar is located).  In 2015 I photographed three red fiberglass boundary markers on the slope east of the ridge trail, below the calendar. Currently only two of these markers are standing (see photos below), and both are surrounded by dense vegetation and are not visible from nearby trails.   

[3]  The trail marking the western boundary of the dog park has disappeared due to lack of maintenance.  

Aerial photos taken in 2004 and 2007, below, show the curved path that runs between the western valley trail (inside the dog park) and the western ridge trail (outside the dog park), bypassing the Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar.  The red fiberglass markers shown on the previous page marked part of that trail. Due to lack of maintenance, that trail is no longer visible today.

Conclusion:  The attrition in boundary markers, as would be expected, leads to confusion by park visitors as to the dog park borders.  

It is quite common today to see park visitors with dogs off leash on the western ridge trail, on the Solar Calendar grounds, and even west of the ridge trail. These areas lie outside the dog park. When questioned, these park users typically state that they have seen no signs and believe they are still within the dog park bounds.  Similar problems occur at the other dog park boundaries. Berkeley’s leash law is becoming a dead letter in Berkeley’s largest public park.

The dog park boundaries were set by City Council.  Without adequate boundary markers, the decisions of City Council on this matter are undermined and defeated.  I respectfully call this matter to your attention and request maintenance.

I would be pleased to provide historic Google maps to aid in pinpointing the location of the missing signs, on request.  

For a PDF version of this document, click hereCesar Chavez Park Sign and Marker Attrition

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