'People can't self-regulate': Oakland to crack down on Lake Merritt crowds Easter weekend

"There's trash everywhere, they're parking everywhere, driving on the sidewalks and medians, peeing in peoples yards. It's overly crazy."
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Lake Merritt is often touted as Oakland's crown jewel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it's become particularly popular on weekends.

"I like the energy and activity and multicultural and everybody in Oakland using the lake, but on the other hand, it gets out of hand, people can't self-regulate," said nearby resident Warren Mead. "There's trash everywhere, they're parking everywhere, driving on the sidewalks and medians, peeing in people's yards. It's overly crazy."

RELATED: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says of out-of-town vendors at Lake Merritt 'pisses me off'

Triple parked cars have blocked emergency vehicles. Churches say loud music has interrupted outdoor services. So now, the Oakland City Council has decided to beef up enforcement starting this weekend to make sure rules are followed around the lake.

"Every week, we're really trying to maintain order and start always with education, start with communication. Enforcement is the last resort and it will be resorted to when necessary," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

Park ambassadors were deployed last year to encourage masks and social distancing. This year, this weekend, they'll be out to remind people to pick up trash and keep noise levels down.
RELATED: Expert issues warning after parties, social gatherings blamed for coronavirus spike in Oakland

Some Lake Merritt residents revel in the joyous crowds. Others welcome some intervention.

"It's been very lively, a nice place to be. But for sure the trash has been building up," said resident Summer Johnson.

RELATED: Oakland to prohibit parking at Lake Merritt, city parks starting Friday amid COVID-19

It's a balancing act for the city to maintain civility and safety but also support local vendors and families looking for a place to hang out.

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