Downtown doggies have a new place to pee

That baying you hear in the distance is a thousand downtown doggies howling in celebration over a brand new, off-leash dog park in the shadow of the Bay Bridge.

The Rincon Hill Dog Park at Bryant and Beale debuted over the weekend with a “soft” opening, ahead of a grand opening February 22. Pooches pent up in their condos all day can now look forward to something other than that same old tree box, day in, day out. It’s got to look pretty tired after a while.

Tucked on a gentle hillside abutting the enormous western mooring of Bay Bridge, the park offers striking vistas unique to urban doggiedom. The more wide-open settings of McLaren Park or Fort Funston have great views for dogs and owners too, but require a car ride and can be sketchy after dark.

The park’s lighting system still isn’t complete, so it’s daylight-hours only until the kinks are worked out. Water fountains should come on line soon, but the poop bags have come in and everybody is, ahem, encouraged to use them.

The park has been built by Caltrans, but maintenance and upkeep will be funded and conducted by the Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association under the fiscal auspices of SFDog. The group says fundraising is going “well” for the $8,000 they project will be needed to run the park annually.