EBRPD 2011 Survey Results

EBRPD Survey Results: The general public wants leash laws in most areas of the East Bay Regional Park District, particularly on multi-use trails shared by bikers, hikers and casual walkers, according to an EBRPD telephone poll in late 2010.

Of the 400 people polled, 61 percent thought the park district should change its dog policy and require leashes in most areas.

However, of the 6,294 people who took an online survey this past February and March, 73 percent wanted to preserve EBRPD’s off-leash policy.

Differences between the two surveys were highlighted by EBRPD Assistant General Manager Mike Anderson in a
presentation June 23 to an EBRPD subcommittee. The report was the first glimpse of what the Board of Directors will consider as it revises its Master Plan, which will drive policy for the entire park system for at least the next decade.

A presentation to the full Board is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 9. Workshops on proposed policy changes, if any, may come in November and December.

A survey summary can be found at www.ebparks.org/files/EBRPD_2010-2011_Community_and_On-line_Surveys_Report.pdf

The telephone poll asked the same questions as in the online survey. Anderson characterized the telephone poll as “scientifically valid” and it targeted people only living in Contra Costa and Alameda counties (where the parks are located).

On-line survey respondents represented a “special-interest” group and tended to “flood” the survey, skewing results, he said. Fifteen percent of online respondents didn’t even live in the two counties, he said.

While interpretation of the results are “up for debate,” the telephone poll is useful for determining the general public’s perception and attitudes toward the park system, while the online survey is useful for gauging the “park-user experience,” he said.

No park users other than dog walkers (for example, mountain bikers or equestrians) had specific uses questioned in the survey.

Other dog-related highlights:

  • Sixty-six percent in telephone survey thought the existing dog policy adequate in contrast to 75 percent from the online survey.
  • Fifty-nine percent of online respondents walked their dogs in the park as part of their routine exercise. Only 4 percent of telephone survey respondents reported walking dogs.