Oakland enacts weekend traffic, parking measures to address Lake Merritt crowding

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 3: A group of young people sit together at Lake Merritt during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, April 3, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. The nation has strongly urged people to practice social distancing and to be at least six feet from

Oakland, concerned about crowding and traffic at Lake Merritt during an increase in novel coronavirus cases, has enacted measures to manage traffic and parking that will be in place weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

"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," officials said in an announcement. "Or visit a nearby park. But please, find another alternative to Lake Merritt."

Along with the potential spread of COVID-19 due to overcrowding, traffic and parking congestion at the lake have become hazardous and at times prevented emergency access and response, the city said, prompting weekend traffic and parking measures from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Southbound Lakeshore Avenue will be closed from MacArthur to Hanover and the center lane will also be closed. The northbound direction will remain open. No parking will be permitted on the southbound side.

Access to cul-de-sacs from Lakeshore will be restricted to residents and people accessing the church.

El Embarcadero at the north end of the lake will be closed in both directions and the Lakeview Library parking lot will be closed.

Parking will be prohibited on the lake side of Bellevue Avenue from Perkins Street to Grand Avenue and no parking will be allowed on any street abutting Lake Merritt, 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," officials said. "They will also allow for emergency vehicle access when needed."

Park ambassadors, firefighters, and municipal code enforcement officers will be in the area to remind users of the area to wear face coverings and stay six feet apart.