Business Owners Say Oakland Parking Hikes Will Kill Them

East Bay city decision to extends meter hours has outraged some

A move by Oakland to help bridge a budget gap has led some to say the city is going to kill of one of its more vibrant shopping districts.

The East Bay town extended the hours of operation for parking meters across the city from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. as one of its many moves to close an $80 million hole in Oakland's wallet. The parking rates were also raised from $1.50 to $2.00 an hour.

But some Lake Merritt business owners claim the move will be the final nail in the coffin for their struggling businesses hard hit by unemployment.

The neighborhood features a blend of mega stores -- such as Safeway and Starbucks -- mixed in with locally owned bookstores, cafes, restaurants and antique dealers.

The always vocal Grand Lake Theater, which is notorious for putting up politically charged messages in its marquee, has already posted a sign protesting the move for harming local businesses.

Parking around the busy Lake Merritt area has long been a challenge.

One of the only non-metered parking lots in the area is already closely monitored to ensure drivers not shopping at Trader Joe's and Walgreens are not parking there.

Some residents are also complaining the changes were made without notification and others are upset about receiving parking tickets after 6 p.m.

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