By Thomas K. Pendergast
An off-leash dog walking area in Golden Gate Park, west of Spreckels Lake and near the
intersection of Fulton Street and 40th Avenue, is slated for a $2 million makeover
sometime this year.
The SF Recreation and Park Department (RPD) and the mayor’s office announced that
District 19 Assemblymember Phil Ting has secured $6.5 million of state funding to
improve San Francisco parks, of which $2 million will go into the renovation of the dog
park. The rest of the money will be used to restore the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse
and improvements around Lake Merced.
Money for the dog park will go to upgrading the park by adding benches, dog turf and
better fencing. A community planning and design process is now underway.
“My constituents and I deeply appreciate Assemblymember Ting’s timely and much
needed contribution for our city’s parks,” said District 1 Supervisor Sandra
Lee Fewer, whose district includes Golden Gate Park.
“Our 38th Avenue dog play area has been neglected for decades but I am glad that our
neighborhood’s recent organizing efforts around this important resource have been so
successful and will result in a gem of a dog park. This money provides our district the
ability to renovate the dog play area in a manner that will make it a state of the art
facility once the project is finished. We still have a ways to go before we have an agreed
upon design and I encourage all of the dog lovers in our district to contact my office to
learn how they can participate in this exciting process,” Fewer said.
“San Francisco’s parks are valued by its residents and visitors, and we want to
keep it that way,” Ting said. “With $6.5 million coming in from the state, the
enhancements, restoration and improvements that will be made to the Geneva
Car Barn, the new Golden Gate Park Dog Park and Lake Merced will go a long way
in preserving San Francisco’s rich history while increasing accessibility for years
Mayor Edwin Lee, who recently passed away, also supported the effort.
“To help keep our residents in San Francisco, we need to create more amenities
for our families and this funding finds innovative ways to make that happen,”
Lee said. “We will soon be developing more public open spa es and transforming
our existing facilities into thriving community
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, as the sun struggled to break through a gray
overcast sky, about a half dozen dogs roamed around the dog training area while
their owners threw balls and chatted with each other.
With his Airedale Terrier “Bam Bam” nearby, Ulysses Vinson compared the dog
area to one he had recently used in South San Francisco called Centennial Dog Park,
which he thinks is much n icer.
“They have stretches of grass turn there, so your dog wouldn’t have to be in
the mud when it rains ,” Vinsen said. “They also have agility features for dogs
to jump over.”
He is in favor of spending money to upgrade the off-leash dog area in Golden Gate Park.
“There’s a lot of need and room for improvement,” he said. “This time of year the sun
goes down earlier but there are no lights out here. Sometimes, we put the headlights on
from our trucks to light it up so we can walk the dog.”
He also thinks the water fountain for the dogs is poorly designed and needs to
be replaced, the fence around the area could be higher and a hose would be good
because some dogs prefer to drink from a hose, rather than the shallow pan in the
current water-fountain design.
Daniela Sawicki was watching her Toy Australian Shepard running around playing
with a couple of much larger dogs. She would like to see a separate area within the dog
park for smaller dogs, because her dog “Beans” sometimes gets trouble from the larger
“Beans is so small that sometimes the bigger dogs think ‘squirrel’ and they go into
predator mode,” Sawicki said. “So, it would be nice to have a separate area
where small dogs can be more safe.”