There’s a dog park under the I-5 interstate in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood. It’s here on a map. Many dog lovers hate it. It’s been called sketchy, dystopian, horrifying, and so on. But it’s not all bad. This post describes it a bit.
As you’re entering you’ll see a bit of graffiti, ripped up Amazon boxes, and assorted garbage. This has come and gone over the last few years but is fairly common today.
After a brief climb, you’ll find the entrance
It has a gravel surface that gets a bit dusty, and it’s also fully covered by I-5. So it does stay dry in the rain!
It has a weird shape that pinches in a number of times, making it really inconvenient for e.g. frisbee throwing and long running for active dogs. I cannot tell you how many times my frisbee has hit a column and then fallen outside of the fence range, causing me to have to climb the fence and hop over.
There are rarely any other dogs here, but when there are, it gets fairly dusty quickly. The neighbors have formed a whatsapp group that is used specifically for coordinating when people are going to this park, because it’s less fun with no other dogs, and many people don’t feel safe here alone.
There is a little pavilion with some info
And a bowl with water
The park is long and skinny and goes on for a while with different terrain.
There are occupied tents near the south side of the park, including some within the fences of the dog park itself. I’ve never had any trouble with people living in them. The lady in the one in the dog park just zipped up her tent as the dog and I went by today.
Here’s the south entrance/exit
At least it says they like dogs
Overall an interesting park. Better than nothing, but it could use improvements, such as:
- Lighting at night so it can be used more safely after 4pm (in winter)
- Change the fences to avoid pinch points so we can play fetch
- Some dogs feet are hurt by the surface. Consider a rinsed turf section or something?
As you can imagine, it’s pretty noisy under there from the traffic. I made recordings in there and at a nearby location (Rogers Playfield) for comparison:
You can clearly hear the difference, but we can also quantitatively measure how much louder the colonnade is using a frequency analysis.
That’s roughly 10 dB less, across a broad and noisy gamut of frequencies. As you may know, deciBel’s are a logarithmic scale, so this means that the colonnade is 10x louder than somewhere down the street a bit away from the highway. Ouch.
- the Yelp reviews for this park.
- A few years ago, the city replaced all the gravel with smaller gravel. I’m not sure what the intent of this was.
- You can street view the park a bit here for more perspective.
Related dog park study
The city recently ruled out other nearby and vastly more popular but unsanctioned parks for consideration in a dog park expansion study, partially because of proximity to this park under I-5. Many dog lovers are frustrated by this because this colonnade park does not feel safe or usable to them. Rogers Playground in particular was ruled out for consideration due to:
- Proximity to this park (minor)
- Accessibility (minor) (what)
- a “No Significant Vegetation” criteria (major) (this one is a real head-scratcher to me)
The TOPS school near Rogers playfield has announced that the city has announced that Rogers Playfield will be closed for the rest of the summer, though the actual city announcement is harder to find.
Updates: Rogers Playfield was locked off at noon on July 20th.
The graffiti pictured in this post was painted over by July 18th (though it always comes back).
Sidenote: here’s a notional park map from a sign in there showing the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park.