Shell Road Trail - Dog Off-leash Areas

Larry Pamer <pamer@...>

I've attached the letter that the Richmond Community Cycling Committee
has sent regarding this issue.

I'll let you know what happens.

<File attached: Dogs on Shell Road Trail.doc>

On Saturday, April 6, 2002, at 01:19 PM, Francis van Loon wrote:

Hi Marion, Larry, Colin and VACC-Richmond Community Cycling Committee,
I'm forwarding to you a letter from a couple of concerned cyclists
about a local Richmond issue.  I hope you will be able to direct them
through the appropriate channels.
----- Original Message -----
From: Francis van Loon
To: Michael and Rhondda Plumb ; ccarlile@... ;
dsemple@... ; gbarstow@... ;
mredpath@... ; parks@... ;
Cc: bccc@...
Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: Shell Road Trail - Dog Off-leash Areas

Hi Michael and Rhondda,
I will forward your concern to our member-organization, the Vancouver
Area Cycling Coalition (VACC),  and the VACC - Richmond
Bicycle Committee.
The VACC handles all local and regional issues in the Vancouver Area.
You will be in good hands with them.
The VACC-President is Marion Orser, you can reach her by e-mail at: 
president@...    or  
via their general e-mail address:  vacc@...
Thank you for contacting the BC Cycling Coalition, and please be sure
to contact me if you do not receive a response.
Best regards,
Francis van Loon
BC Cycling Coalition

Francis van Loon
President  British Columbia Cycling Coalition
Chair  ICBC Cycling Advisory Committee
Co-Chair  MoT Provincial Advisory Cycling Committee
Spokesperson  CRD Regional Cycling Advisory Committee
tel: 250-370-0428    fax: 250-370-5236
e-mail:  fvanloon@...
BCCC e-mail:  bccc@...
BCCC website:
"The Unbearable Rightness of Cycling"  - R.C.1998


----- Original Message -----
From: Michael and Rhondda Plumb
To: ccarlile@... ; dsemple@... ;
gbarstow@... ; mredpath@... ;
parks@... ; infocentre@...
Cc: bccc@...
Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 11:12 AM
Subject: Shell Road Trail - Dog Off-leash Areas

We have written in the past to express our concern about the decision
to turn a popular cycling and jogging trail into an off-leash area for
dogs.  We did this not long after the trail was turned into an
off-leash area.  We received no response to our concerns, possibly
because our emails were not directed to the appropriate department.  We
are therefore sending this email to any department which may have
responsibility for off-leash areas.  If your department is not
involved we would appreciate it if you would forward this email to the
correct person.
To Whom It May Concern,
We are writing to you again to express our concern about the Shell Road
Trail in Richmond being made an off-leash area for dogs.  It is not
appropriate for a number of reasons.
We realize that you may not be cyclists.  As non-cyclists you are
perhaps not aware that bicycles and loose dogs are a potentially
dangerous mix.  Also, as non-cyclists you may not be aware that the
Shell Road Trail is marked on the Commuter Cycling Map as the main
north-south connection on the east side of Richmond.  The trail is used
by people going to and from work and school on their bikes.  This trail
connects the industrial areas around Cambie Road, Alderbridge and the
Oak Street Bridge with Ironwood and areas south of the Steveston
Highway.  It also links up with east-west routes along Williams
and Westminster Highway.
If you have only looked at the trail on a map, you may not be aware of
how narrow the trail becomes in certain places.  In some places the
path is barely wide enough for one person and one bicycle to pass each
other safely.   With the thick undergrowth, there is no room for loose
dogs.  There are also no signs reminding dog owners of their
responsibility to be in control of their dogs at all times.  On the
contrary, the signs placed half-way along each section seem to depict a
pedestrian warning a cyclist to get out of the way of his dog.  The
message of this cryptic little design is that it is up to cyclists to
get out of the dogs' way.
This would not be a problem in itself if all dog owners behaved
responsibly.  Unfortunately, as you know full well, many do not. Many
owners seem to think that when they take the leash off their dog they
have no reponsibility for its behaviour and that it is up to everyone
else to get out of the dog's way.  We have even experienced owners
standing back to watch while their dogs try to knock us off our bikes. 
Some people even seem to think that the Shell Road Trail is for the
exclusive use of off-leash dogs, and that cyclists are there either
illegally or on sufferance..  
One wonders who would be liable in law if a cyclist or pedestrian were
injured by an uncontrolled dog. Your signs certainly do not provide the
city with any legal protection.  
With the increasing daylight and the warmer weather, loose dogs are
again going to become more and more of a problem for those of us who
use the trail regularly.
We would suggest that perhaps an area in the new park at Granville and
Garden City could be set aside for dogs and that the Shell Road trail
be returned to the use of cyclists, walkers, joggers and people with
leashed dogs.  In the meantime, while you are debating this issue, at
least change the signs along the trail to show the true
responsibilities of all trail users, especially dog owners.
Yours truly,
Michael and Rhondda Plumb
PS On the north side of Westminster Highway there are a couple of signs
for Richmond Trails, telling people the proper use of the trails.  The
signs are on the section of the trail where there is a separate path
for cyclists.  It is also placed at the beginning of a largely unused
section of the trail.  In the eight years we have been using the Shell
Road Trail to commute to and from work, we have only once seen anybody
on this section of the trail..

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