Dogs will be allowed year-round on two segments of trails city officials say do not offer adequate sidewalk space for dog walkers.
The city council Monday night considered four trail segments for expanded dog access. Two were approved for year-round accessibility.
Dogs will now be allowed year-round on a city trail segment from Prairie Knoll Drive to the Paw Print Park parking lot, including an extension to the Secretariat subdivision, on the city’s south side and a segment from the intersection of Lexington Drive and Mohawk Drive through Palmer Park to Rotary Botanical Gardens on the east side.
The extension to accommodate the Secretariat subdivision was included in an amendment from Doug Marklein, who said the area is visible for users and would aid residents requesting access.
Not approved were proposals to allow dogs on a segment from the intersection of Franklin Street and Mineral Point Avenue to the entrance of Riverside Park and a segment along Highway 11.
The city’s parks and recreation advisory committee recommended only approving the section from Prairie Knoll Drive to Paw Print Park because all other proposed segments are heavily used by bicyclists during the summer months, said Cullen Slapak, parks director.
Dogs are not allowed in city parks and trails from May 15 to September 15.
Council member Tom Wolfe supported allowing for dogs on the segment from the intersection of Lexington Drive and Mohawk Drive to Rotary Gardens because it allows a walking path for dog walkers to access the pet exercise training area at Palmer Park, he said.
That access is especially desired by hundreds of nearby apartment dwellers, Wolfe said.
The city does not receive many complaints about dog and bicycle collisions on city trails during times of the year when dogs are allowed, Slapak said. He acknowledged there have been some incidents in the past.
Resident Paul Murphy, an avid bicyclist, during a public hearing supported allowing dogs on the same segments the city approved, saying the other options were too dangerous of terrain for cyclists and dogs to coexist.
John Westphal, another avid bicyclist, during the hearing said he supports allowing leashed dogs on the section through Palmer Park.
Marklein asked city staff to provide proper signage along the trails to remind dog walkers that dogs are allowed only on certain segments of the trail.
This story has been updated to correct comments from John Westphal.