You’ll Be Shocked — Shocked! — by KRON4’s Investigation of Precita Park

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KRON-4 reporter Stanley Roberts investigated Precita Park in Bernal Heights recently. His reporting yielded conclusive proof that there are many off-leash dogs in Precita Park (despite what the sign says), and that visitors to Precita Park should watch out for poop. Journalism!

For more detail, lets go to KRON’s exclusive report. Over to you in Precita Park, Stanley:

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105 thoughts on “You’ll Be Shocked — Shocked! — by KRON4’s Investigation of Precita Park

    • Irresponsible dog owners will ignore poop, regardless of whether or not their dogs are on or off-leash. My husband and I were having drinks at Holy Water (with our dogs) and witnessed a man about to leave the big pile o’ business that his leashed dog dumped on Cortland. My husband left the bar and crossed the street to offer this man a poop bag.

  1. I am a former dog owner who lives up the street. The report–while not shocking news–is correct. The leash law in the Park has long been a joke (at least 28 years). Anyone who minds dog poop on their shoes or dogs jumping on them has to steer clear of Precita Park. But if I had seen the woman inside the kids’ area with those pooping dogs I would have read her the riot act. I thought that was the one place in the park where kids can actually site /play on the grass without getting poop on them.

    • I agree with Barb. The fenced-in kids area shouldn’t have dogs in it; the rest of the park is de facto an off-leash area. My dog is five, and I’ve walked him in the park for that time period. I’ve encountered 3-4 people who’s dogs behaved badly – they were out of control, and might have posed a danger to kids, definitely did to other dogs. I – and a bunch of other dog owners – spoke to them each time, and I haven’t seen any repeat offenders.

    • As a person with a young kid, I can tell you all I sure wish people would keep their dogs on leashes except in fenced in dog parks. With the number of pitbulls people own now, it’s frankly terrifying. 3 kids on our street were run down by a pair of off leash pits last month. And of course animal control/cops let the owners off with a warning because nobody got bitten.

    • Out of all the time I’ve lived here, that is the first time I have ever seen someone in the play area with a dog. I’ve seen a number of dogs tied up outside the playground, but never inside.

      On a side note, at the end of the clip, Good ol’ Stan says that there is not excuse for dogs being off leash when there is a park just a few blocks away. The only off leash dog park a few blocks away is Bernal Hill, and it is completely overgrown with foxtails right now. They are a very serious danger to dogs and anyone who owns a dog knows that. If the City is going to get upset about dogs being off leash at other local parks, then they should do something to maintain the few off leash parks in the area so they’re not a danger to our pets. In the mean time, I will continue to take my dog to the safe parks, regardless of the leash laws. Call me a law-breaker if you must…but a $100 ticket beats of $700 vet bill any day

      • Walk your dog, on leash, on any street.
        I am a dog owner. I’ll be happy to get you a $100 ticket for an off-leash violation :)

  2. Wow! I saw the piece when it aired in the People Behaving Badly segment. Really? Behaving badly? I see where Mr. Roberts has done pieces before about off leashed dogs. Seems to be one of his, ah hem, pet peeves. You can visit any neighborhood park in San Francisco (Lafayette, Alta Plaza, Alamo Square, etc.) after 5 o’clock and you will find dozens of dogs off leash with their humans. Why focus on Precita? And in a time when people are defecating and urinating on the streets of the Mission, homelessness continues to be an unsolved SF problem, what about the blatant abuse of handicapped parking placards, or the smart phone apps selling public parking spaces in SF, etc. etc.– behaving badly, really?

    • well even people don’t defecate and urinate in the PARK, so how can such noble creatures stoop so low? dogs going on the curb is acceptable because no one sits on it, kids don’t play and roll on it, and street-cleaning takes care of it.

      • geez…have you been in the PARK at night? have you seen the raccoons frolicking and pooping without regard to the humans who will be leaving their bottles, cans and trash in the PARK every weekend? what should we do about all the bird poop? And I hate to be the one to break it to you, but people do defecate and urinate in the PARK.

  3. I thought the people who walk around reading their electronic devices while not paying attention to their surroundings, thus making themselves easy prey for criminals, were the real “People Behaving Badly” – (I’m talking to you, iPad reading woman who was unaware of the dangerous dog poop situation lurking at your feet).
    :-)

    • Perhaps he was looking for “People Behaving Double Badly” – dog owners walking their dogs off leash AND reading their electronic devices, thereby missing the poop event and the chance to pick it up.

  4. Dog owner here – it’s true, Precita is de facto off-leash. When I bring my pup here and I see 15 other dogs off leash…yeah I’m going to let her join in. I’m all for rules, but let’s bring them in line with reality: Bernalese love their dogs. It’s true what they say, almost everyone in Bernal seems to have a dog and a baby. Let’s divide the park into dogs/no-dogs so everyone can be happy.

    • This is a great idea but in most parks when folks propose this the dog owners throw a fit — no part of the park should be off limits! Some parks have done this (Duboce Park last I checked) but folks only sometimes abide by it. You’d need a fence around the whole thing and even then folks will bring their dogs into the fenced area (see the lady with the dogs in the children’s playground area). I’d like to see the police issuing some tickets — that should get people to pay attention.

      • Sorry, I’m not buying this for a second. Sounds like one person’s opinion and not what happens “in most parks when folks propose this.”

      • The police are issuing tickets. A friend of mine got one the other day while in Precita Park. What made the experience really special for him, was that the park ranger asked to see his ID and another woman’s ID. The woman said she didn’t bring it because she just lives around the corner. The ranger said she could go home with her dog, but my friend, who brought his ID, got the ticket.

    • All Bernalese do not love their dogs. And we do not love your dogs. Well, actually, we’re indifferent about your dog, we don’t love dog owners breaking the law just because you find it inconvenient or of no perceived consequence.

  5. You know, I’ve also seen people in that mini park on Coleridge after 10pm, when the signs clearly say it is closed. I hope Mr. Roberts does an exposé on the dangerous criminals involved.

  6. sure wish normal folks could use one of our parks once in a while w/o fear of stepping in a big one. Most dog owners are good about it, but it just takes one- and surely I’ll find it with my shoe.

  7. I live on Precita park and one of the reasons why we bought a house here so many years ago (moved from Alamo Square – another awesome dog area) was because of the dog-friendly, free-spirited culture of this neighborhood & proximity of three solid off-leash areas (de facto and legal DPAs). Off leash dogs is one of the best things about Bernal, if you ask me. Failure to manage a dog’s behavior (not harassing people or other animals) is not a leash issue at all, and those people need to be reminded, mentored or cited, as needed. Most off-leash dogs are well mannered and a joy to watch play & to meet while out and about. Poop happens on or off-leash. That is a littering violation; people absolutely must pick-up after their dogs. Poop is a gross thing to come across to all humans, dog lover or not. But that’s an issue of littering — trash from dog waste to wrappers, cigarette butts, bottles, random bits of trash, etc. has nothing to do with dogs being off-leash and everything to do with people failing to pick up their trash/putting it in the garbage. After a gorgeous weekend, the park gets completely trashed from people leaving their garbage in big heaps — that happens a lot. But it gets cleaned up and it’s great people are using the park & having fun. I pick-up A LOT of trash from my front garden **every single day**, I think mostly from kids to be honest. I find dog poop 1-2 times a month, too. It’s just city living people — most people are respectful; some are less considerate than others. I for one, LOVE all the dogs romping in the park and trotting down the sidewalks, it is one of the best things about Bernal and I’m grateful to start and end my day with this neighborhood activity (even though I don’t have dogs at the moment — I’m in the midst of a rare in-between dogs period).

      • Yes, well stated. Totally agree. People who don’t clean up after their dogs has nothing to do with on or off leash. I go to Precita Park with my dog daily and I have rarely found dog poop or irresponsible dog owners. It’s a great community of dog lovers who are 99% responsible. What I find more distressing is visiting the park early Sunday or Monday morning after all the picnickers have left their plastic bottle caps, cigarette butts, misc food items, litter. A group of us has started a petition to ask Park and Rec to designate a couple of hours early morning and late afternoon from M-F for off leash dogs. We have over 100 signatures already. Seems like this would be an acceptable solution for both sides.

    • +1 as well – great reply. We’re relatively new to the neighborhood and love the vibe and friendly embrace of all creatures – two or four legged.

  8. So, I like dogs a lot, grew up with a lot of them (in a more suburban environment). I have to say I dislike the inevitable piles of poo and having the entrance to every park smell like piss. I understand that really only so much can be done about these things and it makes me feel grumpy to say it bothers me. I also see dog poo far too often on Cortland. Actually I think SF should invest in cleaning up the sidewalk and parks *often* — it’s sort of the only solution I can see making an impact.

  9. What great journalism. I’m glad he stopped and interviewed so many people in the park to get their opinions on the matter.

    Maybe nobody wanted to talk to him? It’s always felt like “live and let live” to me regarding the off-leash situation in Precita so maybe he found a lack of angry people to get on camera?

    I guess his excellent camera skills make up for that. Sheesh.

  10. I had no idea that people watched KRON 4. I think the video on the Bernalwood website probably quadrupled their normal viewership. Similar to Hunan Chef, I don’t understand how KRON 4 stays in business with such a crappy product.

  11. This is a huge concern given that there are often small children playing in the green. I run around the park regularly and have been chased by dogs on 3 different occassions. All the times, the owner had to shout at his/her dog to retract. Fortunately they were not aggressive and were obedient. However I still think there is the danger of an attack just waiting to happen.

  12. I would like to see the overlap in owners who let their dogs play in Precita off-leash and folks who are up in arms about other people taking up “their” street parking.

      • Coincidentally, yesterday I confirmed that the neighbor on my block with parking issues is a fan of off-leash pooch frolicking in Precita. So, small sample size notwithstanding, the research suggests 100% overlap. ;-)

  13. I think the underlying issue, though poorly expressed by the “reporter” who has lazily dramatized the situation for “journalistic” effect, is that having a relaxed environment where people collectively decide not to follow the law can lead to negative consequences (not dog poop on your shoe exactly, but something more life-threatening, like another dog or a person being attacked and hurt). It does happen, and only one really serious incident with a dog can put winds in motion to make changes that affect everyone, but dog owners first, such as truly enforcing the leash laws.

    The “scofflaw” attitude regarding leashes extends to other parts of Bernal–even along Alabama street right next to Precita Park, which people regularly cross when going to and coming from the cafe as if there is some community-understood crosswalk, or a cloud they are walking on beyond the blur of the traffic. Plain and simple, that is very dangerous behavior, besides also setting a very bad example for children. That intersection can be very weird to navigate for vehicles–drivers need to look at several directions almost all at once–and people crossing leisurely are putting themselves at risk. It’s only a matter of time before an accident occurs there involving a pedestrian who could not take the crosswalk with their latte.

    • That is a weird intersection, for pedestrians and drivers both. The number of pedestrians crossing directly from the park side of Precita across Alabama (including me…) suggests that the traffic folks need to put their thinking caps back on. That whole zone should probably be striped as a crosswalk.

      • Well, I think pedestrians also need to put their thinking caps on, some perhaps for the first time when crossing that intersection; many pedestrians don’t even seem to look for cars and think they have a right-of-way privilege, which they don’t (not even in Bernal, much less on the far less friendlier streets in SF generally). Who wins in a fight, however accidental, between a car and a person?

        It’s indeed a very odd intersection–one place in SF where drivers (who already need to exercise a great deal of caution even without pedestrians illegally crossing the street) look to be on higher alert than walkers, who seem to act like the area is their own private oasis.

        The randomness and casualness of walkers in that area of increasing congestion are real issues, and clearly everyone in the area needs to be responsible. It’s not the area around Times Square, where it makes senses to close off in order to accommodate a lot of foot traffic.

        The cafe also could put up a sign suggesting that crosswalks be used. It is so easy to access them, I wonder why someone would be so lazy and put their life at risk (and give a driver a heart attack) just because they want to avoid adding less than 100 feet to their commute. Not many people walked casually across the street in that way (at peak driving and weekend hours) when there was the liquor store where the cafe is, so this is a new phenomenon and a tragedy waiting to happen.

      • @Otis You are 100% wrong. Pedestrians do have a right of way at EVERY unsignaled intersection whether or not they’re walking inside the lines of a crosswalk. (CVC 21950)

        Really, though, it’s pretty clear you have some kind of problem. Even in a post about dog poop you motorheads have to start railing (for several paragraphs and two posts?!?) against those dratted pedestrians who have some sort of entitlement. Oh hey, wait a sec–you forgot to rant about cyclists, so are you going to post here again?

        Jesus criminy, this isn’t the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Mission–this is a little podunky intersection in front of a playground! Any increase in traffic you perceive is probably just a figment of your imagination, but maybe the larger point is–yeah, so? Do you want to live in a world where pedestrians (especially those with wiggly toddlers in tow) need to cower in fear at oncoming cars and obediently wait to pass TWO streets just to get a bite to eat at the Precita Park Cafe a few feet away?

        Get a grip. Seriously.

      • Mom, I walk with my kids and dogs down there and drive up Alabama daily and there is a crosswalk painted and everything.
        Those who cross directly across Alabama are J walking and do not have the right of way. Not only is it inconsiderate, of people in cars trying to get somewhere, it’s really dangerous. Hard for me to understand parents that will take the chance with their kids in tow.
        As for dogs, I’ve seen people in the playground with their dog and I think Stan was right
        “the rules just don’t apply to them”. This sort of entitled attitude is the root of the problem, some seem to believe they should be able to run their dogs, off leash, down there regardless of how many people are in the park.
        If people would be just a little considerate of others then the world would be a better place.

    • And this is the thing I love about SF is that pedestrians have the right of way. While visiting England and almost run over by a bicyclist (who come after cars for right of way) I was missing SF.

  14. I’d love to see Precita and Holly Park leash laws enforced so I can walk my foster dogs in peace. There are off-leash areas at the Hill and St. Mary’s. My foster dogs straight out of shelters need safe, controlled greetings with other dogs to get their bearings and adjust to city living.

    I was also a dog walker in the neighborhood for ten years, primarily doing on leash walks for our neighbors who had dogs that didn’t want to be in group walks or be greeted by every off-leash dog in Bernal. These were well managed dogs but ones that made friends slowly with thoughtful pairings and well managed interactions. These dogs didn’t learn to make friends any easier by being bombarded by off-leash dogs in every park and indeed on every street in the neighborhood. Every dog deserves to walk with grass under his feet now and again but off-leash users have claimed every park as their own.

    We’ve also got senior dogs and dogs in training in this neighborhood who could use a break from every inch of the neighborhood being treated like an off-leash park.

    As someone who has worked with dogs in this city and neighborhood for fifteen years, the off-leash culture of Bernal is as detrimental to a sizable portion of the dog population as it is to the dog-free human population and all our shoes.

    For more thoughts on a different culture for dogs, consider Jessica Dolce’s take at DogsInNeedOfSpace.com

    • I disagree that the current status of Precita is “detrimental to a sizable portion of the dog population”. So, people raise their dogs poorly by not socializing early and often and our well-trained dogs must bear the burden? There are piles of places in the city where owners abide by the on-leash guidelines. With so many people around the country not understanding the value of off-leash time for dogs, it’s disappointing to see someone in the dog community advocating for less. I’m always looking for queues for owners and dogs who might not want to be interacted with. It’s challenging. Some strangers are disappointed I steer my dog clear of them. Others are startled when my dog comes in for a sniff. What about using “rescue in training” vests similar to guide dogs for the blind? Or a hot pink collar? I applaud people in the rescue and foster spaces but it honestly gets tiring sometimes trying to figure out the correct behavior.

      • Dogs simply do not belong in a city. They belong in suburbs or rural areas with a lot of place to run. It is unfair to the dog to keep it cooped up all day and take it out once or twice a day. If people REALLY cared about dogs they would treat them properly. The problem in our society is that people treat dogs like the friends they wish they had.

      • @David – I agree that it’s ambitious to have very active dog in the city. They needs lots of off-leash time and it’s certainly been challenging for us. It’s been worth it as he’s turned out to be an amazing beast and can join us on all of our outdoor pursuits.

        But it’s naive to say dogs don’t belong in the city. Call dog breeding weird but that’s the beauty of the practice: some dogs were bred to warm laps and snuggle. It all depends on the beast.

      • We straight up disagree and you’ve misquoted me. I said that “the off-leash culture of BERNAL is as detrimental to a sizable portion of the dog population”. If there were any places in this neighborhood that were treated as on-leash, where folks like myself could walk our dogs in peace, I wouldn’t care at all how Precita is managed. I’d just avoid it, which I do now while also wishing it were on-leash as the Park Code contends. As is, the whole neighborhood is off-leash.

        And frankly, as someone who knows the parks and dog resources in this city like the back of her hand, you’re just wrong about there being “piles of places in the city where owners abide the on-leash guidelines”. I know some quiet spots but I could snap pictures of off-leash dogs at each of them on any day of the week.

        You’re definitely not hearing me if you think that I’m advocating for less for our dogs. I’m advocating for safer streets and for all dogs — not just those who are great off-leash — to have access to grass under their feet by having some parks where the leash law is respected.

        In terms of figuring out the correct behavior, that is very simple: Obey the leash law.

        Again, I highly recommend Dogs In Need of Space for some refreshing and even funny perspective. You sound like you enjoy your dog and that’s great. Consider giving others the space to do the same.

  15. Bernal Hill is so strong with dog urine and poop these days, I don’t know how anyone can stand it. There must be a solution.

  16. The dogs are not the problem or issue. The dog owners are the problem. They act with impunity and give dogs a bad reputation. Bernal smells like dog bathroom, especially with the lack of rain. Forget the poo, the piss is alone is enough to make Bernal smell like a bathroom. Bernal smells like the Tenderloin on a good day.
    There is erosion, and lack of flora and fauna, because there are so many dogs and irresponsible dog owners. I am also tired of the dog owner mantra of ‘he’s friendly’ or ‘he just wants to play’ I often don’t know the dog, or the owner. I do not bring my bring my children to the Hill or Precita Park because of the sheer number of dogs. Dog owners often feel that the Hill is a dog park, it is not…it is an open public space that allows dogs with responsible owners to have their dogs off leash.
    The Hill needs a break, I recommend banning dog (i.e. owners) from the Hill for a least a year. Bernal residents would be surprised how The Hill would thrive in the absence of the nuisance of self-entitled dog owners.

    • I am a responsible dog owner. I completely agree with you RR.
      Bernal Hill is no longer for humans! Ban or Restrict dogs!

  17. LICENSING AND FINES — that’s the solution. Since dog owners are responsible for the excrement they should have to pay for it. Charge licensing fees for ALL dogs in SF in order to raise money to pick up after dogs. Empower the cops to randomly check for dog registrations and give the owners a BIG fine if they don’t have their dog licensed.

    Well, what about the “innocent” dog owners who pick up after their dogs? Think of it this way: We tax people whether or not they use parks. We tax people with no kids for public schooling for the kids who do live here. We tax people for streetlights on streets they never visit. So, there would be nothing unusual in taxing dog owners for those owners who refuse to pick up after their dogs.

    WHAT ANNOYS ME even more is that even if the owner cleans up after the dog, the grass is still polluted with the dog crap that has stuck to the grass. More than once I’ve sat in dog excrement on a spot that looked clean.

    MY ULTIMATE SOLUTION would be to ban dogs from SF entirely, given that it’s unfair to the dogs to have to live in such cooped-up territory and to only be able to get exercise once or twice a day. But I know dog banning will never go anywhere, so licensing and fines are really the only way to go.

    –david kaye

    • You do know that not only does San Francisco have dog licenses, but they are mandatory?

      Enforcement is extremely lax, but I’m willing to bet most dogs in Precita Park are legally licensed (and therefore ‘taxed’) in San Francisco.

      Your ultimate solution is a joke.

      • THEN, (1) the license law is not enforced, (2) the fees aren’t high enough to pay for staff to keep things clean or to pay officers to enforce the law. That said, I have known dozens of dog owners and I don’t know a single one who has a dog license. In fact, in all my adult life I haven’t known anyone who has licensed their dog.

  18. If people are concerned about the offleash dog situation in Precita Park, please reach out for the appropriate SF Park & Rec dept contacts and make your voices heard: Bob Lotti, Park Patrol Manager (bob.lotti@sfgov.org), Marcus Santiago, Head Park Patrol Officer (Marcus.Santiago@sfgov.org) and Sarah Ballard, Director of Policy And Public Affairs (Sarah.Ballard@sfgov.org).

  19. Only a matter of time before another mauling of children will take place by aggressive dog(s) and like mass shootings, people will ring their hands and nothing will be done. Only a matter of time before the large dogs allowed onto MUNI vehicles fight and bite and MUNI will be served with a big lawsuit and people will ring their hands and nothing will be done. Only a matter of time before an elder will be tripped up by a dog on a leash that she did not see in a grocery store and a broken hip will lead to complications and then death and Safeway will be hit with a big lawsuit and *maybe* something will be done (also more hand-wringing). The rescue “movement” is great, but why is there an endless flow of unwanted/abused pets? Perhaps because “up-front” there are no free out-reach services by van to do neighborhood sterilization as they do in Los Angeles? And for those on the front line of humane solutions, do you condone pet ownership by homeless, whose pets are outdoors in the cold/rain/sometime filth and often tethered for hours at a time (not to mention that these dogs are usually the ones who are laying a stream of poop in the Mid-Market St. area? Affluence seems to breed the belief that more dogs owned is cool and they can be afforded. But dogs left alone in an apt. all day is not humane. How about seeking ways for an excessive number of pets not to be born in the first place.
    It’s almost as though the rescue movement encourages the proliferation of dogs to keep the wider industry (such as the pet food stores) growing.

  20. I pray to Jesus every day that He will take care of the real problem here – there are just too many people in our dogs’ park. We should commend the neighbourhood dogs attempts to somewhat quell the filthy hipsters and masturbating, mentally-ill substance abusers in the park. These dogs serve our community, all while getting along great with the kids.

    Let’s be real, the weekend crowds are getting to be ridiculous with the construction over at Dolores Park. Our lab-pup really gets way too excited and winds up in an absolutely manic state once he catches sight of all of these disgusting non-Bernalites. Clearly the best solution is to have the city charter some busses to ship this hipster trash over to Oakland where it belongs. I say, let them come back when they can afford to live here, and only then will they earn the privilege of hanging out with our dogs.

    The video is cute though; even if Stan did do a pretty lackluster job of showcasing his discovery of our completely out of control dogs, children being savagely attacked and people glued to their Ipods stepping in mountains of fresh, steaming dogshit.

    Why did he focus only on the dogs on Xanax? Me thinks that despite this error in the editing booth, Mr. Robert’s job over at KRON is safe.

    So, Hi-5, Stan. 2 Thumbs up, and thank you for your public service.

  21. For those new to the neighborhood, a lot of kids have indeed been bitten by off-leash dogs in Precita Park over the last ten years. There is a also a long history of children being de facto excluded from the park, because it is actually the case that small children running and playing with balls do not mix well with off-leash dogs, these are not compatible uses of park space because dogs are joyful creatures that like to play and will therefore chase children and balls. Dogs don’t have to bite a kid in order to ruin a kid’s efforts to play. Dogs are never the problem, dogs are wonderful and bring happiness to our lives. People are the problem, and yes, it is bad behavior to ignore rules that have been established in order to make the park enjoyable for everyone so that you can put your desires first. It is bad behavior to tune out, explain away and disregard the voices of parents who tell you that your behavior is harmful to their family because what those parents are saying is not what you want to hear or what you find it convenient to believe. There are some neighbors who try really hard to be respectful of kids and to make space for kids in the park by actively managing or even leashing their dogs when kids enter the space, I commend them for that, and I wish that more dog owners followed their good example.

  22. This brief tome is for SF Mom and her thoughtful, yet hysterical and vituperative, reply. Speaking of getting grips, please take yours from your high-octane coffee cup. The self-entitlement is oozing out via your brass knuckles. It doesn’t make for a good read.

    Your attitude exactly mirrors that of anyone who will ignore leash laws since–oh, just because they don’t want to obey them, and all others who care can just get out of their way and, as you may say in your mom-jeans parlance, “take a chill pill.” So we have your libertarian blinders to thank for my third comment. (It’s my pleasure, by the way, and thanks for the evite.)

    Exercising common sense and safety should be everyone’s concern, not just those who care to discuss the issue. It is not mainly fear but generosity, intelligence, objectivity, understanding, experience, and empathy that lead people to make safe choices when living in a community where unintended things can happen. This goes for the leash laws as well as being a good driver or pedestrian.

    I walk in the area around the park and cafe more often than I drive there, and I am careful no matter how I get about. I’ve lived within 2 blocks of this confluence of increasing activity for 15 years. I take the crosswalks (especially when I have a small child with me) since I am not lazy, don’t want to surprise drivers, and don’t want to risk lives. I don’t assume cars or people will stop or look when they should. I find that drivers, in general, are overly cautious around that area when there is any action around at all–and one of the reasons is that walkers are not as careful as they should be, perhaps fueled by your incorrect reading of the law. Stop passing out e-flyers on Bernalwood.

    You are incorrect about the right of way for pedestrians directly crossing between the park and the cafe–the riskiest path to take but still the one, unfortunately, most traveled by, Ms. Frost. Such leaps of faith are not at intersections; they are diagonal to the cafe, or just constitute crossing the street outright (if between the park and the island). The law only relates to crosswalks or areas where crosswalks could be–in other words, an intersection, which those specific locations are not. As you likely know, the actual intersections in that immediate area–all of them–are marked very clearly by stop signs and/or painted crosswalks.

    Thanks for bringing up the law, since now you can finally read what it says: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection…” Of course, they should do so–and they will also try not to hit anyone who is taking an ill-advised march across Alabama, so help me, Selma.

    More reading for when you take the test, since this defines “intersection” and other terms: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/right_of_way.htm

    But let’s leave behind the legal argument though, since you seem to think it’s just silly for people to worry their heads over any of this. Honestly, as a self-labeled mom–as a mother, a mother–wouldn’t you want to use the crosswalk if you are with a small child? Would a wiggly child–get a grip, indeed–really make one want to run across a street rather than take two marked crosswalks that have stop signs and screaming yellow paint? What about when the kid is going across the street (or any street) by him/herself at age 10? What would you advise, Mom? Would you be able to “get a grip” if your child–or anyone’s–were struck by a vehicle in part due to the risk inherent in crossing a street (illegally) in any location?

    I think exercising good caution–and not thinking that the world is going to stop for you, even though many in Bernal today may feel it will–is better than being cavalier about how one functions in a community, even when laws exist that are intended to help protect them. The law won’t stop a 2-ton vehicle from running you over if you simply don’t care to look around you.

    All parties should be careful, as it is more needed than ever around the park, what with all the activity. The traffic there has certainly increased a lot–both car and foot. The now-safe and welcoming park and the cafe have naturally attracted throngs more people to enjoy the area than just a few years ago (you can get a whiff of this when peeking at property values–and checking out the designer shades, threads, and shoes among the cafe’s faithful). This level of social life has created–besides a lot of satisfaction–far more congestion and some emerging risks. As yet another example, cars are regularly parked along that small island across from the park, making navigating and seeing around that area more difficult than before–at the same time that far more people are walking across the street…in violation of the law.

    Yes, and cyclists should stop at stop signs and red lights–again, for everyone’s safety, since not doing so brings with it dumb risks. (Thanks for reminding me.)

    To conclude, I have just been informed that you are in the running for SF Mommy of the Year. Your self-assured truculence and the revolving of the world around your immortal soul likely make you the front-runner. I will vote early, and as often as they will let me.

  23. The grassy area is huge in this park and mostly unused. Why not fence off a dog run area like most parks in NYC? I’ve seen a nice dog run in Mission Bay. I don’t have a dog, so I’m not sure what the dog run scene is like elsewhere.

    • I’d be willing to bet money that if there were a dog run, you’d still have dogs in the “people” area.

      • You don’t even need to bet on this one. Heron’s Head Park in Hunters Point has a perfect dog run with lots of space, cyclone fencing, etc. People STILL let their dogs run free without leash outside the dog run, where they chase birds, dig up turf, crap on the walking paths, etc.

  24. My biggest pet-peeve (har) is that we have huge parks with cages for our kids. Holly park and precita park, kid cages and land mines surrounding the child cages.

    It’s made me really dislike dogs. I know it’s not their fault their owners don’t clean up after them, but it’s the result of that inaction. I don’t like dogs. Especially off leash dogs – the little ones the most of all because their owners think their poop is small therefore lacks the significance of picking up. “My dog’ scrap doesn’t smell lady.”

    It’s no wonder people with kids take off.

    • NOT ONLY THAT, but even if the owner picks up after the dog, there is STILL a remnant of dogshit on the lawn. It’s not visible, but it’s there if you’ve ever accidentally sat in it and seen the stain in your nice clothes or smelled the smell after it’s already too late.

    • Bernal Glen, you are missing the point entirely for having a fenced in area for kids. Calling it a “cage” illustrates your misunderstanding. Please see comment below queenie’s doggerel.
      ps, knowing it’s not the dog’s fault but rather the irresponsible owner’s should inform an adult opinion–instead of a knee-jerk “I don’t like dogs” reaction.

  25. Here’s a doggerel: DOGS. Unleashed from leash, sheesh, these blackjacks are back from the track and lookin’ to bite, fight, piss, pack, bark in the park until the dark, piss on the lawn till the breaka breaka dawn. Leap at a flying disc, find a tree, take a leak. Shit on a shoe. What are you gonna do when you’re a poo shoe magoo? Got nowhere to turn now that the green has turned brown. Cage for kids, lawn for dogs, the world’s turned upside-down.

    • Cute doggerel, queenie.
      Just wanted to point out that parks in all cities and all over the world have fenced in areas for kids. It’s not upside-down, it makes total sense. A fence around the playground allows parents to “relax” a little, knowing their toddler isn’t going to run into the street. It’s for the sake of the parents and the kids’ safety. Calling it a “cage” is completely wrong missing the point. I would guess that you don’t have kids.

  26. On weekdays after work, almost all of the people on the west end of the park are there with their dogs. There is a nice, responsible community of neighbors and their dogs, and yes, the dogs socialize with each other off leash. Precita Park is a rare public space in Bernal to meet and communicate with neighbors, facilitated by our dogs, which has made the neighborhood a safer and more friendly place.

  27. As a dog owner, the anti-dog sentiment on here is disheartening, but the frustration is certainly understandable. I do wish that all dog owners would encourage their dogs to go on the curb between parked cars, and not on the sidewalk (especially the rogue owners that don’t pick up). When I was a new dog owner, I was prompted by a sign I saw in Noe Valley or Glen Park that said “Curb your dog” followed by wording that seemed to suggest that this was law. I started to curb my dog and within a few days, he’s learned to always go on the curb. The once-a-week street cleaning keeps the curbs clean, but not the sidewalks.

  28. Pingback: Precita Park and the Civic Politics of Drones | Bernalwood

  29. Reading through the majority of these comments feels like eavesdropping on a scary tea party where the guests include Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

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