Saturday, July 10, 2010

07/10/2010 - Arlington Park Kayak Launch Quandary

Arlington Park Kayak Launch Quandary

1) I checked out the kayak launch at the new Arlington Park now that it is finally opened. Because of the height of this ramp, you'll have to hoist the kayak overhead to make the 90 degree turn to the left.

2) When you make the two 180 degree turns at the bottom of the ramp, you might be blindly knocking people down. There are 3 tall pilings in the way on the small floating platform. This kayak launch design is dreadful and puts kayakers and the public at risk for injury.

3) No tall railings on this kayak ramp in Florida. The park even provided carts to use for single person hauling of loaded (heavier) kayaks. This launch facility was well designed and even included wider areas on the ramps for people to move out of the way to as a kayak passes by.

4) Here is a kayak launch site near Spanish Fort, AL - an old boat ramp. No maintenance necessary and several kayaks can setup for launch at the same time. There are a lot of cheap design options for a functional kayak launch site. Then there is Arlington Park - one expensive blunder, just like Five rivers. No kayaking today.
The Arlington Park designers neglected to consider that some kayakers haul their kayaks on trailers. There is not a single parking space for a car with trailer. Where do I park? Looks like if I use this facility, I'll be moving a wheelstop to put the trailer in the grass.

According to the plans, Arlington Park was designed by an out of town engineering company called Moffatt and Nichol, headquartered in Baltimore, MD in conjunction with Alabama State Port Authority. I'm trying to ascertain who did the actual design. Whoever approved the kayak launch design should be fired in my opinion or at minimum, should redesign the launch site and rebuild it properly, at their own expense. Really, it is pitiful to create a ramp design that prohibits transporting the kayak by use of standard kayak handles or standard kayak carts.

(Update: I did complain to the engineer in charge and he said the kayak ramp was designed this way due to the drop in elevation and the need for the ramp to meet ADA design standards. Wonderful! Not only can't a challenged person get his or her kayak down the ramp, thanks to the stupid ADA rules, the kayak launch is difficult for an unchallenged person to use. What happened to common sense? They could have designed a ramp that starts further to the north (lower elevation) and stayed close to the ground so rails could have been eliminated. This would allow a kayak to be carried by the handles...) You end up with crap when you hire an out of town engineering firm that does not consult with the people who will be using the facility...

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