Woodland Park installed gates on roads leading into the park over the summer and early autumn. The gates sat idle for some time after installation, but I noticed the gates recently being locked overnight starting in late September.
However, the gates seem to be closed with no regard for the presence of cars in the parking lots. Most mornings, I walk by the lots on the south side of the park just east of Aurora and half the time cars are in the lot including large motor homes. By being locked in, it seems to be providing extra security to the car campers rather than precluding their entrance.
I also find it interesting that the gates do not follow the posted hours of the park. The park is posted as being closed from 11:30pm – 4:00am. I sent an email to the city parks department and they stated that the gates will open between 6:00am and 7:00am each morning. It strikes me as odd that we have posted hours of operation for a park in general, as I hope no one is actively patrolling for trespassers overnight. I had assumed the hours were posted to provide a straight forward means of dispersing people overnight if police suspect nefarious activities. It would seem logical that the gates would therefore following the posted hours. Why post hours for a park that are not followed by the gates restricting access?
I think gates are a reasonable, low cost step to help minimize camping in Woodland Park, and I support the gates. I am just a little confused on why it became so complicated in implementation. Unless I misunderstand, and it is designed to lock people in. Then I do not support it, and wonder why some nights they forget to lock people in. Whatever the purpose of the gates, it seems the current process is less than optimal.
This feels like a metaphor for some other projects in the city, and I would like to think the parks department is secretly viewing this as an elaborate self-reflective art installation.