City of Oakland Prepares for Large Crowds Celebrating the July 4th Holiday Weekend

Date Posted: July 1st, 2021 @ 11:29 AM
Last Updated: July 1st, 2021 @ 2:02 PM
4th of July Lake Merritt traffic closures 2021 map

Oakland, CA –With the long July 4th holiday weekend approaching, the City of Oakland is implementing temporary safety measures where many gather to enjoy 4th of July festivities: Grizzly Peak, where people gather for a great view of Bay Area fireworks, and Lake Merritt, where thousands of people are expected to celebrate the long weekend with picnics and summertime fun in the sun.

Grizzly Peak: Road Closures in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone

The Oakland Fire and Police departments continue to work in partnership with neighboring jurisdictions on actions to mitigate fire risk in the Very High Fire Severity Zone and throughout the city during the July 4th holiday.

In response to significant regional concerns about fire safety and emergency vehicle access, Grizzly Peak Blvd. between Skyline Blvd. and Centennial Dr. will be closed to all thru automobile traffic along the following roads from 5 am July 4th through 5 am July 5th. Additionally, the following intersections will have electronic signage and personnel on hand to prevent thru traffic from entering:

  • Grizzly Peak / Centennial Dr
  • Grizzly Peak/ S Park Dr
  • Grizzly Peak/ Lomas Cantada
  • Grizzly Peak/ Claremont
  • Grizzly Peak/ Skyline

The City of Oakland is coordinating with the City of Berkeley, East Bay Regional Parks, UC Berkeley, Moraga/Orinda Fire, Alameda County, Cal Fire, and Caltrans regarding the closure.

This corridor was closed over 4th of July for the last two years with great success. There were no confirmed fires, and significantly reduced crowds and illegal parking at the lookout points, thus allowing first responders to efficiently travel along the ridgeline to respond to 911 calls.

Lakeshore Avenue at Lake Merritt: Partial Closure

Lake Merritt is Oakland’s crown jewel, home to the nation’s first wildlife refuge, and the heart of the city. This holiday weekend, the City expects several thousand visitors to come to the Lake to enjoy the long holiday weekend.

On summer weekends, particularly on holidays, traffic and parking congestion along the narrow Lakeshore Avenue has become a safety concern. Cars are often double- and triple-parked from MacArthur Boulevard to E. 18th Avenue, creating significant traffic jams and, of greatest concern, impeding access for emergency vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances. Quite simply, there are too many cars in too little space and the temporary closures are intended to help deliver any needed emergency services to people at or around the Lake as swiftly as possible.

During the summer months, the atmosphere at Lake Merritt has naturally evolved into more of an unofficial festival, and to keep things safe, the City is implementing the same kinds of road closures used at festivals to facilitate emergency vehicle access and keep cars away from crowds of people.

“The Fourth of July holiday presents a unique opportunity to make choices that will mitigate potential hazards and enhance the overall safety and enjoyment for Oakland residents and visitors," Oakland Fire Department Chief Reginald Freeman said. "The decision to limit vehicle traffic along key corridors proved successful last year along Grizzly Peak where fire danger is extremely high and roads are narrow, and we expect similar results this year. Oakland Fire supports any traffic planning strategies that will enable firefighters and other emergency responders to efficiently plan for and respond to emergency incidents in our community, especially events where large crowds are expected."

Road Closures/Parking Restrictions

On Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 4 am and continuing until 12 Midnight:

Lakeshore Avenue

  • Closed between MacArthur Boulevard and East 18th Street.
  • Lakeshore Ave. Exit from 580 West will be closed. The Grand Ave. Exit will remain open.
  • No parking will be permitted
  • The following streets will be closed at Lakeshore Ave: Beacon St., Boden Way, Brooklyn Ave., Wayne Ave., and Hanover Ave.

El Embarcadero—Closed

Grand Avenue

  • Closed between Macarthur Blvd. and Bellevue Ave. (east) Open only to Children’s Fairyland ticketholders and local residents.
  • No Parking will be permitted.
  • Bellevue Ave. Loop and its cross streets will be closed except to residents and Fairyland ticketholders.

These closures and restrictions will improve traffic safety and allow for greater access for park visitors, bicyclists, and pedestrians around this narrow section of Lake Merritt. They will also allow for emergency vehicle access when needed.

(Full size map available at https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/4th-of-july)

Visit the Black International Marketplace of Oakland

The Black International Marketplace of Oakland (BIMOO) and the City of Oakland invite micro and small businesses to participate in the marketplace. Located between El Embarcadero and the grass in front of the pergola columns,

BIMOO provides a legally permitted space for vendors to gather and sell products and services. The marketplace takes place at Lake Merritt every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm and hosts more than 50 food, retail, and artisan vendors and organizations, providing community information and commerce for micro-businesses.

Want to be a vendor? Register at www.bimoo.org. Early registration is encouraged.

Media Contact

Michael Hunt
Chief of Staff
Fire
mhunt@oaklandca.gov
510-238-7167