If dogs run free...

Speaking of Ottawa and silly walks, I have a beef with park planners. City, National Capital Commission, doesn't matter -- they all like to draw designs that they think look pretty in aerial photos, insteada planning functional spaces. Take Confederation Park, at the corner of Elgin and Laurier, f'rinstance. Please. Nice space (we coyotes always approve of open green space dotted with lotsa hiding places), dumb pedestrian plan.

Contrary to what some might say, we coyotes walk and think in fairly straight lines. But here, some well-papered plannerly type thought long and hard, then drew a long, carefully arced sidewalk from the entrance just across the street from city hall, to the stairs that take you up to the Mackenzie King Bridge. Then them pesky pedestrians ignored this pretty sidewalk and walked on the grass, bee-lining straight from entrance to stairs, because they could see their destination, and the un-curved distance was shorter. Imagine that.

What the NCC's control freaks did next, rather than admit its planners are less than demigods, was plant a buncha unsightly shrubs across either end of this straight line, to try to passively force people back onto the sidewalk. Didn't work. Bipeds continued to wear a long, straight path through the shrubs, across the grass. Imagine that. Since that proved unsatisfactory, the NCC planted even more unsightly snow fences in the middle of the two shrub beds to make 'em harder to traverse. From my lurking lair I still see people stomp down snow fences on occasion. Imagine that.

One of the smartest park planners I ever ran across had no fancy planning degree, but a lotta horse sense. Entrusted with a big new park, he seeded it to grass, and left it that way for a summer. In fall, he looked at where walkers had worn the heaviest paths in the grass, and had all his sidewalks put right there, along the lines that people were walking anyway! Then they all pretty much stayed on the sidewalks, unless they were playing pick-up frisbee. With coyotes they thought were just plain ol' domestic dogs. Imagine that...!

1 comment:

The Independent Observer said...

Maybe the NCC could place some ice sculptures along the edge of the path this summer to keep people off the grass. (They could install giant fans on the lawn to cool the statues.) .... Nah, way too sensible by NCC standards.