Lake Merritt is Oakland’s crown jewel, a place of extraordinary beauty where everyone feels at home. It’s a refuge for people and wildlife alike. And lately, it has become very crowded. It’s time to give the Lake a break!
We are still in the early months of a global pandemic, and COVID-19 cases are spiking across California and the country; in Alameda County, COVID-related hospitalizations are on the rise.
The City of Oakland is reminding residents that: if you need to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise, which is important for our physical and mental health, check out Oakland Slow Streets for good options in neighborhoods throughout the city. Or visit a nearby park. But please, find another alternative to Lake Merritt.
On weekends, crowded conditions at Lake Merritt have become unsafe in two ways: 1) overcrowding could accelerate the spread of COVID-19, 2) traffic and parking congestion have become hazardous, and have prevented emergency access and response.
With the need to provide more opportunity for physical distancing as people flock to Lake Merritt for exercise and recreation, coupled with significant traffic and parking congestion that has developed as a result of the Lake’s summertime popularity, on weekends the City will be implementing additional measures to improve traffic safety and expand opportunities for physical distancing.
Traffic Management, Parking, and Closures
On Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 7:30am and continuing until 11pm:
- Lakeshore Avenue
- o Closed in the southbound direction from MacArthur to Hanover.
- o Center lane closed.
- o Northbound will remain open.
- o No parking will be permitted on the southbound side.
- Lakeshore Avenue cul-de-sac—access will be restricted to residents living on the cul-de-sac or people accessing the church.
- El Embarcadero—closed in both directions
- Lakeview Library parking lot—closed.
- Bellevue Avenue –no parking will be permitted on the Lake side of from Perkins to Grand.
- Parking restrictions will be enforced on both Saturday and Sunday—no parking on the Lake side of any street abutting Lake Merritt will be allowed, including Lakeside Drive, Grand Avenue, and 12th Street.
These closures and restrictions will improve traffic safety and allow for greater access for bicyclists and pedestrians around this narrow section of Lake Merritt. They will also allow for emergency vehicle access when needed.
Park Ambassadors, firefighters, and municipal code enforcement officers will be present on both days to engage with the community and remind them of the importance of wearing face coverings and staying six feet apart.
Together we can stay healthy and beat COVID-19.