Oakland, CA – 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 over the past few years, especially on warm days and during summer months, it has become very crowded.
The dramatic increase in visitors has caused parking, traffic safety, and noise issues; attracted unauthorized commercial vending, including alcohol and cannabis sales; generated large amounts of litter impacting the Lake; and placed an outsized burden on City resources. Of greatest concern, the sheer number of vehicles that are double and triple parked on Lakeshore Avenue have impeded access for emergency vehicles.
In the summer and fall of 2020, the City launched a pilot street vending program, implemented street closures, restricted parking, and enhanced public outreach and enforcement activity. These measures proved effective, so starting this weekend and continuing through November, the City will be implementing additional measures to address the impacts of large crowds at the Lake on weekends. Addressing these complex issues will be a process and may take some time, so we appreciate the community’s patience as we implement these changes.
Traffic Management, Parking Restrictions, and Street Closures
On Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 6:00am and continuing until 10pm:
- Lakeshore Avenue
- Closed in the southbound direction from MacArthur to Hanover.
- Center lane closed.
- Northbound will remain open.
- No parking 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 to allow room for vendors
- Lakeview Library parking lot—closed.
- Bellevue Avenue, Ellita, and Staten Avenues –no through traffic.
- Parking restrictions will be enforced on both Saturday and Sunday—no parking on:
- Lakeshore Avenue between MacArthur & East 18th, lake side
- Grand Avenue between Bellevue and El Embarcadero
- Bellevue Avenue on the lake side from Perkins to Grand.
These closures and restrictions will improve traffic safety and allow for greater access for bicyclists and pedestrians around Lake Merritt. They will also allow for emergency vehicle access when needed.
Food vending, alcohol and cannabis sales, and amplified sound will not be permitted. Imminent fire/life safety hazards will be directed to cease immediately.
Merchandise vendors will be encouraged to contact the Oakland Black Vendors Association to apply to be part of the future permitted market.
Park Maintenance and Sanitation
The City will deploy additional parks maintenance crews and will empty litter containers more frequently. Additional portapotties and handwashing stations will also be installed near the Cleveland Cascade, at Astro park, and at Bellevue and Grand.
Fire inspectors and municipal code enforcement officers will be present on both days to engage with the vendors and remind them of park rules and staying safe.