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.