With all the hub bub in the papers the past month or so about dogs running off leash I thought I would put in my two cents.
For me, much of the controversy boils down to common sense and good manners. I think people have forgotten basic good manners.  
Have you noticed how often you may be at a check out counter and witness a customer chatting away on the cell while the cashier is cashing them out? I find that to be extremely rude. While I may not feel like engaging in conversation with every check out person I encounter, I at least give them the courtesy of my attention during the transaction. The cell phone chat can certainly wait 5-10 minutes until I am done. It's just good manners.
I'm guessing most people don't even consider the above scenario to be rude. I think that's part of the problem. Good manners and common courtesy have been forgotten.

Good manners applies to dog ownership as well. When I am out with my dogs and see an approaching person/people/dogs/babies/children, I move up the nearest driveway or piece of grass. I ask my dogs for a sit/wait until they have passed. Then I continue on my walk. I have yet to do that and not have the "passer-by" say thank you or give me an appreciative head nod.
To me, it's just good manners. I realize for those of you in crowded urban areas this might be more challenging. You might not have the ability to move anywhere or there is a constant parade of people. You can still teach your dog to walk closely beside you and pass politely.
Off leash dogs have been a hot button lately. I must admit I allow my dogs off leash in non off-leash parks. I do that when there is no one around, at odd times of the day when I am not likely to meet others. I am constantly scanning the area. The moment I see a person or dog or child, my dogs are put back on leash. Even if I see people that I know, my dogs are called back, told to wait. They are not allowed to greet until released to do so - and only if it is safe. It's just good manners.

In the park last week I witnessed a cyclist get knocked off a bicycle. Why? Because a dog was off leash and ran after him. Here is where common sense disappears. Moments before, the owner had said to me "he's tied to the bench because if I let him off, he'll run away". Why then, was he allowed to be off leash at all? If you know your dog is not trained well enough to have off leash privileges, why on earth would you allow him off leash? This, I might add, was also at a time when children were playing in the playground and there was lots of activity all around.
I am still stunned at the lack of common sense displayed by that owner. That is the kind of dog owner who gives responsible dog owners a bad rap.
I do understand that there are leash laws for a reason. I also think common sense and good manners and good judgement should prevail. If you are out when there is not a sole around plus your dog is under control, I think it should be okay for that dog to be off leash. If your dog runs after moving objects at the drop of a hat - common sense dictates the dog should be on leash. The presence of oncoming dogs should also dictate the leash be on. Not all dogs like other dogs. That again, to me, is common sense.
Nobody should allow an unleashed dog to run up to another dog. It's rude. It's potentially dangerous. It's poor manners.