When getting started with stations in your community, selecting the more effective location is paramount. The ultimate goal is to make it easy for dog walkers to pick up a bag at the beginning of their walk and easy for them to dispose of it mid-walk or at the end.
Start by considering the density of homes in the community and areas where dog owners tend to congregate, play or walk. Once potential station sites are identified on a map, the next step is to put feet on the pavement and walk the community to see if the proposed sites make sense on the ground. At this point, you are looking for areas that are convenient for dog owners while having a low impact on adjacent homeowners or amenity users. For instance, there may be a site that is absolutely perfect for dog owners, but happens to be next to a community playground or in a homeowner’s immediate line of sight from their front door, bay window or backyard deck. In these cases, placing a station in one of these areas may well lead to conflict.
In our experience, many suburban communities are designed as a loop. Naturally, dog owners in these communities will follow the circular path when walking their pet. As such, you should look to place stations at the beginning and the end of community loop, as well as at convenient intervals throughout. The idea is to make sure there is always a place to pick up fresh bags and drop off soiled ones within a few minutes walking time. If stations are few and far between, pet owners will be less likely to go the extra mile to use the provided equipment, instead leaving the waste on the ground. Convenience is key.
Finally, it is best to place stations along sidewalks and on both sides of the street. Stations should be positioned far enough off the sidewalk to allow foot traffic to continue moving while dog walkers stop to deposit bags of waste. Remember – not everyone is comfortable interacting with dogs; placing stations slightly offset from the sidewalk helps to minimize any such unwanted interaction. Finally, consider adding stepping-stones to prevent grass from wearing down and muddy shoes during inclement weather. This addition can greatly improve the functionality and aesthetics as well.