Signs of Ineptitude

The word is out that Parks management is finally going to Do Something about the pathetic condition of the Off Leash Dog Area boundaries. Immediate action has been promised, and in fact has already begun. A sign on the east end of the area that went down in May of 2018 has been replaced, sort of. Here is the new sign, as you would see it coming up the path from the east:

Oops, you thought the orange and white barriers across the path were the sign? Oh, no. The barriers warn you not to trip over the 4″ PVC pipe that lies on the surface and carries landfill gas to the flare station. How and why that pipe is present is another story altogether. No, the dog park boundary sign is this, in the circle:

Sign installed April 12 on eastern boundary

What’s that you say? You can’t see it because it’s turned the wrong way? You’re right. The sign draws an imaginary boundary parallel to the path. The boundary actually runs across the path at approximately this spot, more or less. The sign is supposed to demarcate the eastern boundary of the dog park for people walking on this path. As it stands, the sign is totally useless.

Fortunately, the signpost has only been pounded into the dirt, without a concrete fencepost-type base. Therefore (a) it should be easy for the City staff to rotate the sign 90 degrees and this time cement it in; or (b) it will be easy for off-leash vandals to rock it and pull it and remove it, as they did with its predecessor. See this post.

This inept installation echoes an earlier one the last time Parks management promised to Do Something about signage. This is the sign pounded into the dirt on February 5 up on the northern ridge of the dog park on the edge of the Nature Area.

Sign installed February 5 on northern boundary

This sign was placed at a spot where no path exists. The sign’s message, “EXITING OFF-LEASH AREA,” would have been useful only to people planning to plunge into the barrier of bushes directly behind the sign. The sign is doubly useless because the north side of the boundary here is the Nature Area, where dogs are not permitted at all, off leash or on. The standard Off-Leash Area signs tacitly invite violation of the Nature Area. Signs specifically protecting the Nature Area badly need replacement.

Is there intelligent management of Park signage? It remains to be seen. The first innings are not promising. The history going back years is one of repeated failures. The whole signage game has an air of futility to it, because there is a subset of dog owners who deliberately ignore signs, and a smaller subset who vandalize and steal them. Only a fence around the off-leash area, combined with active enforcement, will bring these bad elements among the dog owners under control or drive them out of the park. Until that is done, the Off-Leash Area will remain a cancerous sore in the park that will persuade more and more people to demand Dogs Out.

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