Designing, Creating, and Maintaining Safe Parks

Welcome to this week’s blog post! So far, we’ve covered the different benefits of parks and shared some fond memories from community members. However, we want to make sure that we address and concerns and hesitations our community may have about bringing parks to Columbia Valley. One common concern is that the addition of parks may increase unwanted or undesirable activity. In this blog post, we aim to alleviate some of those concerns and explain how we can bring safe community parks to Columbia Valley for all residents. 

There are crucial elements of park design that influence safety and security of community parks. The CVPRD commissioners are dedicated to designing local parks that are not only inclusive for all residents, but also feel safe and comfortable. With this, community involvement is a key element to success. In future blog posts we’ll discuss more about the park planning process and how we hope more community members become involved. For now, let’s go over some of the park design basics that will create safe park environments. 

Lighting is usually one of the first elements that comes to mind when it comes to increasing safety, and for a good reason. Smart, methodically placed lighting can sincerely help increase safety in parks at night. The article “What Role can Design Play in Creating Safer Parks” (linked below) mentions a technique called hierarchy lighting. Hierarchy lighting is a technique that is used to place lighting effectively. Depending on the park layout and elements, lighting will be placed where it is most needed. For example, lighting should be placed around pedestrian walkways and other activity areas to encourage traffic flow. Alternatively, if there are particularly dark parts of the park, we would also want to place lighting there to discourage any unwanted activity and increase the sense of safety and comfort. A well-lit park at night will drastically decrease the chances of any undesirable activity.

Park layout, placement, and sight lines also play an important role in park safety. It’s important to have parks in areas that will have regular traffic, even if it’s just residents passing by car. Within this, clear sight lines into and out of the park are important. Those in the park should stay visually connected to those passing by the park. This greatly increases the number of “eyes on the street” and helps create a safe and inviting environment. Park layout should also be easy to understand and never confusing. We’ll want anyone to understand a clear layout of the park from every entrance. This will not only make the park seem less intimidating, but it will be more welcoming to residents. A park with clear sight lines, an easy-to-understand layout, and that has regular traffic will attract eager park goers. The more residents that are happily engaged in the park, the less likely undesired activity will occur. 

Finally, another key aspect of safe parks is regular maintenance. There have been several studies that show that a well-maintained and frequently visited park is a safer park for residents. Within all of this is community involvement, a safe park is one that the community cares about and uses regularly. 

There is plenty of research and articles out there that helps inform us on how to make smart park decisions for our residents. By working together, we can bring safe, inclusive, and exciting public parks to Columbia Valley. If you’d like to learn more about safety in parks, feel free to check out the links below. As always, we’d love to hear from you if any comments, concerns, or questions arise – you can email us at and we’ll get back to you at our earliest convenience!

What Role can Design Play in Creating Safer Parks

Make Your Park Safer

Before Parks Go Bad: Safety Measures and Community Action Can Give Public Spaces A Makeover

How to Make Public Parks Safer

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