Friday, July 9, 2010

Panhandle: The Neighborhood Park Needs Some Help

Panhandle draws neighbors from north and south of the park

Panhandle Park Stewards earlier this year
Dale Danley (far left), Guillermo, park gardener, )second from left)

Over the long July 4th holiday weekend the Panhandle Park became a neighborhood magnet for picnickers, sun-seekers, and people walking, biking, and watching. Several large groups of fifty or more sprawled on the grass appreciating one of NOPA's greatest assets. Dale Danley, leader of the local Panhandle Park Stewards, has noticed a continuing increase in Panhandle users. "Our neighborhood park is thriving this summer, more popular than we have seen in years," he recently wrote to the other volunteers.

Danley also noted that basic maintenance and improvements become even more important with the surge in visitors. BIKE NOPA reader Nick observes, as many others have, that the Panhandle multi-use path on the north side gets very crowded and more difficult to negotiate for people walking or on bikes or pushing strollers. One thing he'd like to see is a fresh coat of yellow reflective paint -- or thermoplast -- for the divider. He also suggests new directional arrows on either side of the lane. "They might be helpful to prevent the problems of peds and bikes acting like salmon." Although the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) faces huge cuts in its operating budget, Nick wrote that the pedestrian path on the south side of the Panhandle was recently painted.

The Municipal Transportation Agency has been installing bike racks and larger bike corrals in neighborhoods around the city. Now RPD needs to take its turn and add more bike parking. Commenter Nick suggests bike racks at the relatively new restroom located in the western half of the Panhandle would be especially welcome.

Nowhere to park and lock a bike near Panhandle's restroom

This upcoming Saturday the Panhandle Park Stewards will host another workday to help the park's gardening staff keep the paths, flower beds, and open areas in good shape. Stewards leader Danley welcomes neighbors and all park enthusiasts to help provide TLC to the park beginning at 9am. Meet at the bulletin board near the playground. Tools and gloves are provided, but he suggests volunteers might want to bring their own gloves and wear sturdy shoes.

One more Panhandle news note: the Neighborhood Park Council (NPC) will recognize Danley and other local park leaders next week in a celebration at Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley.

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