Friends of Pastorius prefer alternative to dog enclosure

Regarding the concept of introducing a fenced dog area in Pastorius Park, FoPP, as stewards of the park completely support and hold true to the original vision and design of the park that has endured for nearly a century: a passive green space, made possible by the generous support of George Woodward and his family and heirs (including Quita Horan, FoPP’s first president), all of whom have contributed a great deal of money, resources, and the land itself to create the park as designed by local landscape architect Frederick Peck.

The Friends of Pastorius Park cannot support any effort that would change that vision and will oppose any introduction of fencing and other invasive structures which would alter Pastorius Park’s open landscape. Instead, we would consider advocacy for a less invasive and more balanced approach to dogs at the park, such as that implemented in Rye, NY, which seems to be very successful.

Tracy Gardner
Friends of Pastorius Park


Fighting like cats and dogs

Why is it that if you even suggest that you dislike dogs you are treated like some deranged psychopath, yet cat hating is almost a national pastime?

People love their dogs. I get it. They often treat them like their children, sometimes even better than their children! In recent years, dog ownership and pampering has become this mega industry. As a result, there are many more dogs than when I was growing up. I believe in freedom. Dog owners should be able to buy their dogs the best food, fill up their Instagram with cute pics of Fido, outfit them with fashionable sweaters, treat them to doggie spas – it’s their right. However, dogs are not people, and I believe that people come first.

The conversation regarding off leash dogs in Pastorius Park seems to be reaching a fever pitch after multiple attacks in the last few months. Many have suggested a dog enclosure, but having lived near two such enclosures in Philadelphia I wanted to give my perspective. In both instances, the enclosures where “fixed” to existing parks that had a similar polarization of desires. In both instances the traffic to the parks went off the charts. The wear and tear, overflowing trashcans, foul smell, trash, poop baggies, smaller pups being mauled etc. increased significantly.

Over the years I have routinely asked people at the park “where are you from?” and (anecdotally) the answer is usually from Montgomery County. I’m guessing that, if only dogs from Chestnut Hill / Mt Airy frequented Pastorius, this would be much less of an issue, as most Hillers seem to be super responsible with their pooches.

In a recent letter “A suggestion for Pastorius Park dog owners” by Jordan Bastien, he made the following suggestion:

“From 6-9 a.m. every day, dogs can be off-leash in a very large, defined section of the park. Owners who want to use the park this way pay a $25 fee to register their dogs with the township. Dogs must be current on all shots to be registered, after which they get a special license for their collar. Any dog can visit on-leash at any time. Signs about the system are posted prominently in the park, and rangers visit every once in a while to check that all off-leash dogs are registered. “

I believe Jordan’s suggestion should be looked at closely by the FOPP. I believe this plan, or one similar to it, will keep many dog-owning Hillers happy.

Lastly, we all need to enforce the laws already in place. Ranting on the internet or getting into shouting matches in the park is not going to accomplish anything.

Some helpful suggestions:

I was told that 911 is for reports of people breaking the law – any law – which includes the leash law. It’s not a waste of their time.

Write your congressmen. His name is Dwight Evans.

Contact the Friends of Pastorius Park at and give them your opinions.

Contact Yelp, Google, Bringfido etc. which list Pastorius as “off leash friendly” and contribute to 100s of non-local dogs weekly.

If you see a dog on leash, thank the owner for abiding by the law and being a great neighbor.

Joe Brown
Chestnut Hill


Lawn signs

After reading Pete Mazzaccaro’s editorial on suburban lawn signs [June 15] and the reply in the June 22 letters section, I am compelled to offer this comment. Perhaps each person’s reason for posting a “Hate has no Home Here” sign is as unique as the individual. In my neighborhood one family’s lonely sign stood for a week or so before I got mine. It seemed appropriate to do something in solidarity with these neighbors, who happen to be Jewish, at a time when there were several instances of desecration of Jewish sites.  Now 12 signs grace our small development.

Elizabeth Gavula


Say no to Vision Zero

I urge you to oppose Vision Zero and their anti-automobile agenda. Their goals sound nice but are not grounded in reality. Safety on Philadelphia’s highways depends on people taking responsibility for their actions, not unfairly punishing and demonizing a certain group of travelers Vision Zero don’t like. The Vision Zero supporters see anyone who opposes their Utopian projects as a threat to humanity.

To try to take advantage of a recent tragic, fatal accident to push Vision Zero forward is beneath contempt. Vision Zero could not have prevented that accident, just as it will not deliver the highway safety utopia their proponents claim.

Promote mobility in Philadelphia: discard Vision Zero. Thank you.

Tom McCarey
Member, National Motorists Association


Close the doors when AC is on

Having been born and raised among the ever changing shops of Chestnut Hill, I feel a fierce attachment to the charming boutiques, cafes and markets that line Germantown Avenue. As an outdoorsman and environmentalist, I feel an even fiercer attachment to the earth.

Recently on a walk, I couldn’t help but notice in this 90-degree heat that local retailers are desperate to keep both themselves and their customers cool. Many opt for open doors and fans to generate circulation; others prefer air conditioning.

What concerns me, however, is the stores that take a dual approach and blast their AC with the doors wide open. This is unequivocally a move to attract patrons and lure them into the refreshing air in hopes that they’ll peruse and ultimately buy goods.

And while there is no shame in wanting to promote business, the environmental impact of this, particularly in a time of great global concern, is astronomical and unethical. I encourage shop keepers to follow in the footsteps of thriving cities such as NYC that mandate a “closed door policy” when the AC is on. Not only will this practice reduce massive amounts of wasted energy in what is sure to be a long, hot summer, but it will drastically reduce the electrical bill for store owners.

We are all responsible for climate change, and if it takes placing a welcoming and well-decorated sign outside your doors to draw shoppers in, I’m happy to recruit talented chalk artists for the job. Until all the avenue shops are taking steps to reduce environmental impact, I’ll keep hobbling in to encourage, if not insist, on change.

Avery Stern
Chestnut Hill
English teacher at The George School


Group travel article ‘useful’

I really enjoyed reading Frank Burd’s take on group travel (“At age 70, local guy a convert to tour company travel,” June 15). As a single woman in my 60s, I’ve wondered about this. It was a fun read and useful as well.

I also, as always, loved Tom Utescher’s sports photos. I’m not a big sports fan, but I always get a kick out of the composition and dramatic tension in his work. He has a great eye.

Rosalind Warren
Bala Cynwyd


  • LinuxGuy

    Agree 100% on a NO to Vision Zero. Instead of using best-practice engineering and ticketing, we are headed more and more towards poor engineering and predatory enforcement. Red-light cameras, speed cameras, it never ends. Tickets to safe drivers, and errors can occur with these devices. Many times, more crashes also occur. This is all about money and getting people to stop driving!

    • Joe

      And what’s bad about reducing the number of cars on the road? Isn’t that the environmentally sound thing to do? As I walk or ride my bike around Chestnut Hill, I often see some houses with 3, 4 or even more cars – is one of those houses you?

      In truth, I didn’t know much about Vision Zero – so I researched it. It appears that in most cases it has reduced fatalities and unnecessary death. Is the argument – but I enjoy driving… and I have a lot of money, so I choose to own 5 cars despite its effect on the environment… and I like to drive fast even though statistically it causes more accidents?

      Not trying to be a jerk (maybe a little)… but I can’t see anything good about opposing vision zero.

      Bike lanes are good, less cars on the road is good. Less accidents is good.

      • LinuxGuy

        It is not the government’s business to tell people how many cars to own. They pay for the roads you use, right? Vision Zero is a flop and has not worked in NYC. I found several media stories with the same conclusion. You are looking to cause more crashes, ticket safe drivers, and maybe the wrong ones. Poor engineering and predatory enforcement. Again, not your business how many cars people have. Electronic gadgets harm the planet, do you have any? Obviously you do, if you are writing here. Driving at an 85th percentile speed is the SAFEST speed to drive at, and this is backed by engineering. So no, normal driving does NOT cause crashes. Bike lanes will lead to more crashes, congestion, delay EMS vehicles, eliminate parking, and eliminate loading and unloading truck zones. Not so good. You are eating up the propaganda being served up by many people who hate cars or wish to make a ton of money from them.

        • Joe

          I don’t agree. I think you are cherry picking facts because you like cars and feel it’s your right despite what adverse effects they have on the community, others safety and the environment.

          For anyone reading this I encourage you to research vision zero on your own and come to your own conclusion.

          • LinuxGuy

            I did research Vision Zero and read news stories, and it is a flop. I also have been involved in driving issues for decades. I know the engineering well. If you want to see cherry-picking, look at anti-car people. They have been called out for doing this.

            Cars have no adverse effects upon the community. They are engine that allows people to have mobility to live their lives. Drivers also pay for the roads that other users freeload off of. If correct engineering and ticketing is used, safety is a non-issue. You should look up how bicyclists and pedestrians break lots of laws too.

          • Joe

            It’s kinda pointless arguing with you as you are convinced of your “facts”.

            ” Cars consume a lot of energy before they ever make it to the open road. … Most of an automobiles’ environmental impact,
            perhaps 80 to 90 percent, will be due to fuel consumption and emissions of air pollution and greenhouse gases that climate scientists say are driving global warming.”

            Are you actually trying to claim that cars don’t adversely impact the environment? If so, speak up as I would like you to discredit yourself, publically. Are you a global warming denier?

            I’m not saying do away with cars, but less on the road is a good thing imho.

            We need… more car sharing, more economical/green cars, autonomous cars, more bikes, better public transit, more toll roads etc.

            But again, convincing you would be like blowing a train out of the way…

          • LinuxGuy

            Believe what you wish, I had enough. The sky is blue, whether you admit it or not.

  • Jill

    For a laugh… look up Tom McCarey on the Internet. Dude definitely has an agenda… he seems to hate bikes (and poker bears).

  • Aggravated Father

    While at Pastorius the other day I saw a man with 2 pitt bulls off leash. When I approached him and politely reminded him that all dogs need to be on a leash he said “oh I know, I don’t care”. I told him that my kid was knocked into the pond a while ago by an off leash dog. He responded “then you should keep your kid on a leash”. I got angry and took a picture of him and then he said he was “going to cut my f’ing throat” so I called 911.

    Here is a pic of him:

    • CH

      Wow…that is the portrait of a world-beater right there. Sad you had to go through that.