This week the Park District finally got around to re-surfacing and painting lines in the parking lot adjacent to the new ramp to the dog beach. Ever resourceful dog beach goers had been using the parking lot to the fullest, and parking as many cars as possible in every space possible. Having access to the little parking lot made parking much easier. Parking on the street during the busy summer months is always challenging, as we are competing with people who camp out at the park all day. Our little "one hour" lot made parking a cinch. But all good things must come to an end, and the little lot that more closely resembled a parking lot outside a kegger has now been designated with 7 handicap spaces, and 6 regular spaces. We've received many angry emails about the lot, and we too were surprised how few regular spots there are. Before you send your angry emails and calls to the Chicago Park District (not the city government as many people are assuming) please take this into consideration. The New Ramp to the Dog Beach was proposed by the Park Districts ADA representative, and was paid for with ADA grant money. The ramp plan Mondog had been working on for several years with the Park District was scraped in favor of opening up the boat launch as a new entrance. For years this had been ruled out as undo-able or too expensive, but changes in the status of the boat launch made it posable to re-open it for our use. The new ramp was envisioned as a completely handicapped accessible ramp, so that all people of any age or disability, and especially wheelchair bound folks could finally have access to the dog beach to watch their pooches play. The ramp is wide enough for two wheelchairs to pass, and there is a wheelchair pad at the bottom of the ramp for beach viewing. There would also be more lighting in the boat launch for safety reasons, open space in the launch, the required DFA double gated entrance (still to come), and the parking lot would be opened up for some handicap parking, and some regular parking. Since Mondog had been having trouble raising the funds to pay the outstanding bill for the fence, and had not been able to raise the amount needed to start construction on the ramp, the ADA offer seemed like a good deal for everyone. Remember, building anything in the Park costs about 4 times as much as what you could build it for at your house. We needed to raise half of the money, $32,500, just to get work started. The ADA offer was very generous, and would benefit every dog beach user. Since the lot was opened, we had been parking with a center isle, and on every edge. There's no way that would pass parking lot safety codes and regulations. The lot was originally built with enough space to maneuver a boat trailer up to the ramp, not to park cars. It's just not big enough for many more legal spots. To our knowledge, there was never any ramp for disabled parking spaces deal made, opening up the lot was just part of the improvements, and since we had only street parking before, even a couple spots seemed better than nothing. But really, isn't having a safe accessible entrance that we didn't have to pay for a fair trade for some parking spaces? If you still say no, please at least be informed when you send those angry emails.