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Drones & Other UAS at Bedwell Bayfront Park

From: domainremoved <"cb.tdsnyder_at_>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 12:59:30 -0700

> Dear Mayor Cline, Mayor Pro Tem Keith, Council Members Carlton, Mueller, and Ohtaki,
>> We are writing to urge you to permanently prohibit drones and other UAS vehicles at Bedwell Bayfront Park as well as at all other City parks. Such motorized craft without a doubt fall within the definition of motorized vehicles already prohibited in our parks. We also urge you to re-establish regular ranger service at Bedwell Bayfront Park to enforce park regulations.

>> We commend our city's staff for recommending these actions as well.

>> We have lived in Menlo Park since 1974 and raised our family in the home where we still live. We have always been proud that our city has a passive, undeveloped bayside park, the realized vision former City Manager Mike Bedwell had for this unique place. He described it well:
>> "The future use of the site is intended to be a Bay Front park for passive recreation including nature walks...picnicking, day hiking and meadow sports, as well as just plain enjoyment of the silence, the fresh breeze and the view."
>> We enjoyed the peace and quiet at Bayfront Park from the day it opened, walking quietly with our children and our dog and later recording hundreds of wintering shorebirds, as well as sizable flocks of sparrows and other passerines during our Audubon Christmas Bird Counts. Our most treasured sighting was a Burrowing Owl, a species of special concern in California.

>> In the past few years, however, we have become increasingly dismayed at the noisy and unsettling flights of radio-controlled aircraft and drones flown over the meadows, the hills, and the trails. We have been forced to abandon our quiet walks because of the irritating, persistent UAS noise and frankly a great unease at being anywhere near them.

>> They shatter our treasured tranquility, they threaten wildlife both in the Park and in the neighboring Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, they represent a real danger to aircraft using both Palo Alto and San Carlos airports, and they pose physical danger to all park users.
>> They represent fire danger to the grasslands. How would the Fire Department be able to respond to a major fire in the far reaches of the park? Even an experienced pilot could lose control or experience an equipment failure, resulting in a fiery crash. Certainly any one of the legion of untrained or careless could cause serious damage.
>> We urge you to join the many other national and local jurisdictions that have realized the negative impacts of drones on cherished passive-use open space and have moved to protect those special places, including the National Park Service, California State Parks, City of Daly City, East Bay Regional Open Space District, MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District, and indeed San Mateo County.
>> We have heard the ill-conceived idea that a portion of the park be reserved for drones. Absolutely not. All of its precious passive values apply to all of the Park.
>> We have heard a Parks Commissioner say that if residents want tranquility they can "go to the redwoods." Absolutely not. Why deny citizens the close-in and completely unique passive bayside experience the Park offers? We sadly wondered if that Commissioner has read the Park's Master Plan or actually visited Bedwell Bayfront Park.

>> Remember that UAS hobbyists do have other options in the Bay Area.

>> Here is some very useful information from an organized R/C club in Redmond, Washington (http://www.mar-c.org/content/attention-new-drone-flyers ) that describes plainly what can go wrong:

>> "A drone can give you the false sense of safety since it does some amount of the work of flying for you. But keep in mind that anything that has spinning propellers on it and some amount of weight to it can be a danger to the people or property around it, if it gets out of control. And as you learn to fly, it will most likely get out of your control as you make mistakes. Even when proficient at flying you also must understand that these aircraft are filled with complex sensors which can fail at any time. That doesn’t happen as often, but it does happen, and when it does if you are in the wrong place bad things can happen."

>> Now is the time to live up to the vision set by Mike Bedwell and his far-sighted generation of civic leaders. Now is the time to affirm our City's commitment to stewardship of our natural world and the public's indispensable need to relish it peacefully and quietly.
>> Now is the time to permanently prohibit drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park and indeed at all City Parks.
>> Trusting you to agree,
>> Tate and Curtis Snyder
>> Menlo Park
>> Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park
Received on Tue Aug 23 2016 - 13:05:46 PDT

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