Volume 21, Number 29 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Nov. 28 - Dec. 4, 2008
State smells its mistake at dog run, and avoids obedience lesson
By Julie Shapiro
Jaws dropped last Wednesday night when the state Department of Transportation presented old designs of the W. Thames St. dog run to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee.
The committee had fought nearly two years ago for the D.O.T. to change the design for the dog run, and they eventually reached an agreement for a larger run that made everyone happy. But Wednesday night, when the D.O.T. gave an update on the dog run, they showed the old designs few had liked.
“It was certainly distressing to a number of committee members,” said Jeff Galloway, co-chairperson of the committee. “We put a lot of work in, and to have it essentially overlooked…no one wanted that.”
As it turned out, the display of the old designs was nothing more than a mistake. The graphic shown last week was just a placeholder and does not reflect the final design, which is the one the community had agreed on, said Adam Levine, spokesperson for state D.O.T.
“We’re working with the community board and the Battery Park City Authority to get the exact dog run the community is looking for,” Levine said.
The dog run will open at the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010, Levine said. It will take about two months to construct, and the D.O.T. will work with the community on finding a place for the dogs to go during construction. The dog run is part of the state’s larger Route 9A reconstruction, which includes park space alongside the road.
The state unveiled the first dog run designs in January 2007. C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee objected to the size of the 5,000-square-foot run — the D.O.T. had cut out a large chunk of the existing run for an ornamental grasses garden. Community members worked with the D.O.T.’s architect to come up with a 6,000-square-foot design that absorbed the ornamental grasses space into the run and extended the large-dog portion to the entire length of the run.
During Wednesday’s presentation, the D.O.T. at first referred to the new dog run as “temporary,” but they then said it was being built to last for a long time, Galloway said. The dog run or surrounding parkland could be a future landing place for a bridge over the West Side Highway in southern Battery Park City, once the Rector St. bridge comes down in several years.
Galloway questioned whether it would be worthwhile to give up the dog run or park space to build a bridge, and he said it’s time for the community board to start weighing that tradeoff.
“Now the future is close enough that we seriously need to ask about that,” he said. “Everything comes with positives — you have to look at what you’re giving up.”
Galloway said the W. Thames dog run is the most heavily used in Battery Park City, partly because many Financial District residents bring their dogs there as well. On a recent frosty night, Galloway noticed that Battery Park City’s many parks were all but empty — but the dog run was full and bustling.
Galloway is a dog owner and has been one of the community board’s leading voices on dog issues, but it turns out he won’t get any direct benefit from the new run.
“My dogs don’t like dog runs,” he said.