June 30, 2022 By Christian Murray
A dog run officially opened in Travers Park today after years of local advocacy.
The new run is the first to open in the heart of Jackson Heights and comes in response to a surge in dog ownership. There is an existing run under the BQE on 69th Street, but it is privately operated and not central to Jackson Heights.
The new dog run, which is free to enter, is approximately 4,500 square feet, with 2,500 square feet for large dogs and 2,000 square feet for smaller pooches.
The run is located near the handball courts on 77th Street, in an area that the Parks Dept. describes as multi-play space.
The run incorporates the existing asphalt surface but is newly fenced and includes a water supply, a “mutt mitt” poop bag dispenser, and a storage area.
“Every member of our community deserves access to restorative public space, and that includes our dog owners,” said Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, who represents the district and is chair of the city council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation.
Krishnan, who was sworn into office in January, said that local dog owners have waited far too long for a run, and added that dogs are more than just pets but are family members.
The dog run will operate as a pilot program for one year, and if it proves successful, will be made permanent. Local volunteers will maintain the run, with guidance from the NYC Parks Dept. The run will be open during regular park hours.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy our wonderful greenspaces — those on two legs and four legs alike,” said Queens NYC Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett.
“We thank Parks Chair Krishnan for his advocacy for this run, and we’re proud to launch this pilot here in Travers Park to explore expanding recreational access for the Jackson Heights dog-owning community.”
Local dog owners have been calling for a dedicated space for their pooches for year.
In 2019, a local group of dog owners launched a petition calling on the city to allow their pooches to run off-leash during specified hours in a fenced off section of Travers Park.
The petitioners at the time said that there were no suitable places for their pups to run, noting that the JH Crew Dog park located under the BQE on 69th Street was unsatisfactory.
“The dog owners of Jackson Heights are thrilled that the Travers Dog Run [is] open,” said Layna Patel, Communications Lead for Canine Social Club of Jackson Heights. “We are grateful to Councilmember Krishnan and Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dockett for listening to our collective voices and creating a safe and fun space for our beloved family pets to run and play.”