A walk in the park

Our view : Robert E. Lee Park shouldn't go to the dogs

July 24, 2008

Most of the traffic along the footbridge in Robert E. Lee Park is of the four-paw variety. But recently discovered structural problems in the bridge have put the walkway off limits, barring canines and their masters from their oft-used route into the greater expanse of the park. This development has given a whole new meaning to the saying "dog day afternoons."

And mornings and evenings.

But lest all despair, the faulty bridge offers an opportunity to settle the future of the 400-acre enclave that lies in Baltimore County but is owned by Baltimore city. That distinction has been part of the problem in resolving the park's twin dilemmas - providing safe access for all and ample parking for the many dog walkers. The miles of trails in Lee Park are so popular with dog lovers and their mutts that it's become one big doggie bathroom with soil content to prove it. That's complicated efforts to find other suitable entry points (for man and beast) because of neighboring residents' concerns.

But here's a municipal park that's green and spacious and in demand. The city and county should team up and share the cost of repairing the footbridge, but also explore opening a new pathway into the park near the light rail station, which also could help resolve the parking issues.

And dog owners should be mindful that some two-legged creatures would prefer a solitary walk in the park, far from the madding cur.

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