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Can Runners, Cyclists and Dogs Coexist on Auditorium Shores?

Proposed changes to Auditorium Shores – and specifically, changes to the area available to dogs and their owners – have people talking.

As part of a $3.5 million renovation, the city’s proposed moving the off-leash dog area closer to the Lady Bird Lake shoreline – and away from joggers and cyclists using the trail. And while the change would shrink the current off-leash area, it would also restrict dogs entirely from the largest portion of Auditorium Shores – the so-called “Event Lawn.” (See a map of the proposed changes in the slideshow above.)

With the trail along Auditorium Shores hosting a multitude of different users – runners, cyclists, dog folks and more – KUT News recently paid the area a visit to see if peace could be achieved between its users, and to get a read on the proposed changes. (The consensus? Most people would prefer to keep allowing total park access for dogs.)

Credit Jorge Corona

The Dog-Walker

Name: Marc Morrison

Age: 52

Occupation: Photographer

Neighborhood: Central Austin

How he uses the park: Morrison and his girlfriend use the park for mountain biking, running and other outdoor activities with their dogs.  

Thoughts on the proposed changes: “I’m not terribly excited about that. It’s been like this for so long. Everybody kind of knows this one little section is ‘slow down’ so you don’t have to worry about running into the dogs. We’ve talked to people all around the world about this park … It’s very well-known, it’ll be a sad day to see if it goes away.” 

Credit Jorge Corona

The Yoga Instructor

Name: Carlina Muglia

Age: 20s

Occupation: Law firm researcher, CrossFit instructor and yoga teacher

Neighborhood: South Austin

How she uses the park: Muglia does cross-fit and yoga exercises at the park three to five days per week. She often brings her dog.

Thoughts on the proposed changes: “Ultimately, one of my most favorite things about this area, dog-park-wise, is that there isn’t a fence. Barriers and dogs don’t really work. I would still use the park to workout, but it wouldn’t be the same because I would have to dedicate time specifically to ‘dog-park time’ versus ‘workout time.’ Right now, I can just do both at once.”

Credit Jorge Corona

The Cyclist

Name: David Jenkns

Age: 32

Occupation: Traveler 

Neighborhood: North Austin

How he uses the park: Having moved back to Austin, Jenkns uses the park for mountain biking, but brings his dog often.

Thoughts on the proposed changes: ​“I like to keep my dog in the water, and out of the sun as much as possible. … It seems like the dogs around here are use to each other and they get along with each other. I wouldn’t see any reason why to leash them up. If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” 

Credit Jorge Corona

The Runner

Name: Adam Carduff

Age: 26

Occupation: Restaurant server

Neighborhood: South Austin

How he uses the park: Carduff comes to the park about once or twice per week to go running. He often brings his dog.

Thoughts on the proposed changes: “I don’t really think [closing part of the park to dogs] is necessary. I haven’t seen any dogs attack anybody or anything. It seems like [dog-owners] have it under control for the most part. … I’ll still come here as much as possible. I think it’s a beautiful park to run in.”

Credit Jorge Corona

The Dad      

Name: Nathan West

Age: 37

Occupation: Stay-at-home parent

Neighborhood: French Place

How he uses the park: West has come to the park nearly every morning for the past eight years.

Thoughts on the proposed changes: “I don’t think it’s enforceable. This is still a public park, people have been bringing their dogs off-leash here for decades. And Austin is a dog town … I think the stipulation of no dogs whatsoever, even on-leash, is not cool. I didn’t realize that our parks were for sale.”

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