Here's the picture: You're playing fetch with your awesome dog and he/she gets excited and goes sprinting off like dogs do...straight toward busy Riverside where there's a 2 ton moving vehicle that's being driven by someone who's looking at the round-a-bout like it's a three-headed woman while texting, tweeting, chatting, LOL'ing, face-booking, reaching for their Los Lonely Boys CD in the back seat, and wiping hot coffee off their crotch.
Got it? MMkay.
Here's the deal: Auditorium shores is a multi-use/high volume city park with an OLA (off-leash area) - not a dog park. You are required by the Off Leash Area Advisory Committee to have control over your dog at all times, be respectful of other visitors, and you are required to immediately remove your dog when behaving badly (those are just the ""big"" rules).
I love Austin. I was born and raised here, and Auditorium Shores is a beautiful park for sure. I have been jogging in this area for years. I love this area so much that I live - literally - a block away. I go through this park EVERY SINGLE DAY - and I have some serious issues with the no-leash thing. Serious issues. Don't get me wrong - I'm a HUGE dog lover. I have dogs of my own and I understand their needs...so, please...just hear me out:
In case you haven't actually been to this park I'll fill you in. The park is bounded by Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake), Bouldin Creek, 1st St, and Riverside Drive. Both 1st St and Riverside Dr are BUSY city streets - the OLA ends at the curb - and there's NO fence.
Issue #1: Dogs are fast. Dogs can be unpredictable. You guys can't even imagine how many dogs I've seen run across the park area only to continue running ACROSS Riverside Drive and just barely miss being hit by a car. You can't even imagine how many times I've had to slam on my breaks to avoid hitting a dog. Have you ever actually seen a dog get hit by a car? I have - it's traumatizing. And don't tell me, ""Well, people should pay more attention while they're driving."" Have you driven down 35 lately? OBVIOUSLY people should pay more attention while they're driving - but when you take your dog off the leash in this park, you are basically saying that you TRUST that motorists will be watching out for YOUR dog when it goes chasing after that hot poodle on the other side of the street. Good luck with that one!
Issue #2: As a jogger/cyclist you get harassed by dogs. I don't run ""aggressively"" (...if that's even possible), but I've been bit 3 times on my heels (we're talking blood, people) while running through this OLA. Also, I don't attempt in any way to play with the dogs there, yet I've come home so many times with dog paw prints on my chest that my husband has started referring to them as souvenirs.
So. Yeah, your dog is beautiful and I'd love him/her for sure and I'm sure you're a ""good"" person...but I don't care if you think your dog is the most obedient dog on the planet - in this park the dogs are overly-stimulated by the other dogs, joggers, cyclists, squirrels, and cars to actually listen to their owner's frantic ""COME HERE"" shouts as they sprint toward the busy street, or harass a jogger/cyclist.
I don't know. Maybe you'll have to have that feeling you get when your dog goes sprinting toward traffic and your heart jumps into your throat and your stomach falls out your a** before you think to yourself, ""Hey, self...maybe Redbud Isle or West Austin Park would be a better option. And, I know how we hate driving...but Emma Long is a really awesome place where our dog wont end up as a hood ornament.""
This no-leash thing in Auditorium Shores may sound awesome, but it's not safe. End of story.