In an effort to reduce fire hazards and to keep traffic from blocking emergency vehicles, key Oakland routes are closed to vehicles for the July 4th holiday on Grizzly Peak Boulevard and around Lake Merritt.
Grizzly Peak is a popular spot to watch fireworks but is a very high fire hazard zone, fire officials said. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic between Skyline Boulevard and Centennial Drive from 5 a.m. Sunday through 5 a.m. Monday.
Oakland is coordinating the Grizzly Peak closure with Berkeley, East Bay Regional Parks, UC Berkeley, Moraga/Orinda Fire, Alameda County, Cal Fire, and Caltrans.
The corridor has been closed over 4th of July holiday for the last two years, and city officials said there were no confirmed fires and reduced crowds and illegal parking at the lookout points.
"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 Department Chief Reginald Freeman said.
Intersections along Grizzly Peak that have electronic signage and personnel to prevent through traffic are at Centennial Drive, S Park Drive, Lomas Cantada, Claremont Avenue and Skyline Boulevard.
The closures on Lakeshore and Grand avenues near Lake Merritt are prompted by concerns about access for emergency vehicles, which are impeded by traffic and parking congestion on holidays, according to a release from the Oakland fire Department. The lake draws several thousand on holidays and cars often double- and triple-park along narrow Lakeshore Avenue, city officials said.
The closures and restrictions on the July 4th holiday will allow for greater access for park visitors, bicyclists, and pedestrians around Lake Merritt, according to the city. They will also allow for emergency vehicle access when needed.
The closures, which went into effect Saturday and continue Sunday, start at 4 a.m. and continue until midnight:
- Lakeshore Avenue between MacArthur Boulevard and East 18th Street
- Lakeshore Avenue exit from 580 West. The Grand Avenue exit remains open
- Streets closed at Lakeshore Avenue are Beacon Street, Boden Way, Brooklyn Avenue, Wayne Avenue and Hanover Avenue
- El Embarcadero is closed
- Grand Avenue between MacArthur Boulevard and Bellevue Avenue (east). Open only to Children's Fairyland ticketholders and local residents