Saturday morning, the neighborhood scrubbed after Thursday's wind storm, which cleared trees and other plants of loose branches and liberated part of our backyard fence from its moorings. Something about a fence that wants to blow over. I walked down to Peter Shire's studios with my daughter and my friend Paul Bowers to the neighborhood council open house, where our suggestions for public improvements were being sought. Peter made cappuccino, which he served promptly to each new adult arrival. We all stood -- and some of us played -- amid the striped pots and the dozens and dozens of metal angel sculptures, which hang joyously from the rafters. Paul put in a request for better wheelchair access to Elysian Park. He lives near the park and finds it to dangerous to enter the well-used western trail by any of the unofficial entries that are used by hundreds of people every day. (The dirt trail itself is wheelchair-usable.)
As coincidence would have it, later the same day, I received an email from Emma Rosenthal, who is new to the neighborhood and wrote that she had found Chicken Corner (dot com) while searching for information on Elysian Park. On separate sites, Emma blogs about politics, art, and about life as a wheelchair user. She said:
I use a motorized scooter and am looking for a walking trail that is accessible to a wheelchair/scooter. A quick drive through the park was quite infuriating as was a trip to the dog park in Silver Lake, which is not wheelchair accessible. Dogs, no gimps allowed!!! I need a space for my dog to run. I used to hike, but can't anymore. A nice path for me and my dog would be great, but most of the trials, though they have a terrain that is accessible, are blocked off to vehicles, including wheelchairs. I was wondering if you knew a well traveled path in the park where i could take my dog off leash and roll along with her.
We exchanged a couple of emails, and she added:
Some of the trails could be made accessible by simply making the entrance level. All it would take is a shovel.
I should say here that it's illegal to walk dogs off-leash in Elysian Park, though it's common practice. Every now and then a dog walker gets a nice fat ticket when the ranger comes through. So far, I've been lucky in that regard. Haven't had to pay the price for my doggy's free trots.