Oakland councilmembers could soon add parking meters to Lake Merritt

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland councilmembers are having a virtual meeting decide the fate of parking for those driving to Lake Merritt. Some residents believe adding two miles of meters around the historic landmark could have a negative impact in the community.

"The park should be accessible and affordable and parking meters could be cost prohibited," said Oakland resident Alex Wolf. "We have all sorts of ranges of income and background here. The park is for everyone."

In March of this year, the council approved adding parking meters to two miles of the lake including all of Lakeshore Avenue.

Then a survey by the Oakland Department of Transportation found that 79 percent of Lake Merritt visitors don't want parking meters.

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Councilmembers are making a decision during Tuesday's meeting.

"I think it's an embodiment of a bigger issue that is happening in Oakland," said Wolf.

Parking along the lake is currently free. Adding parking meters to the area could take the city months and cost about $250,000, according to their report.

"We really pay taxes to keep up the park, pave the streets," said ," said Oakland resident Hamid Fathollahy. "Additional parking meter is really a big hit to our economy."

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The proposal points to parking meters as a way to improve traffic flow.

Dennis Earby drives to the lake to exercise five times a week. He says instead of charging visitors the city should address the need for housing with many parked on the street for days.

"People come here," he said. "They park for two, three, four, five, six days. Maybe weeks. They think that by adding meters is going to help stop the people from illegal parking. That's not going to stop."

If it goes through, the city could use the parking meter revenue to help low-income resident who want to park at the lake.

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