What I thought would be a joyous occasion for me and my dogs turned into an immense disappointment for myself and half a dozen dog owners yesterday as the new Mesa Lane Steps were opened to the public.

The metal strips on the bottom landing and lower steps, similar to an industrial walkway, which were put in at great expense, are torturous and hazardous for dogs to walk on. I would not be surprised if eventually some child or adult has their toes slip through and get caught. This would result in a serious lawsuit and expense, which would serve the city right. Or maybe a dog will hurt itself.

The design causes dogs’ toes to slip between the strips which means that the metal painfully hits the soft, tender flesh between the toes. Further, one lady said that her Chihuahua’s leg slipped in and he almost broke his leg. My dogs were extremely reluctant to walk across this surface and one dog was coaxed to come back onto the steps only with great difficulty. Some dog owners had to carry their dogs across the lower part. As noted, I talked to other dog owners and they had similar experiences.

How could the design process for this project ignore such an important design issue at an entry to this popular leash-free beach? One solution at this point is some kind of material covering the mesh, such as indoor/outdoor carpeting or astro-turf style permeable material.


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