CarMageddon! New exhibit at Oakland Zoo spikes attendance but brings traffic nightmare

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A popular East Bay attraction is facing some tough growing pains. The Oakland Zoo has become so popular, it's created a parking and traffic nightmare that's all too real for neighbors.

Christopher Ransom says he's had it with people parking illegally on Golf Links Road, headed to the Oakland Zoo on weekends.

It's gotten so bad, he's put out traffic cones, and put up these signs in front of his home, telling zoo goers, Don't even think about parking here.

"I don't like people parking in front of my house, they don't care," said Ransom.

One neighbor shared cell phone video of cars stacked up on his street and pedestrians headed to the zoo, using the street as a sidewalk.

And then there's the epic traffic backup on I-580.. with cars, trying to exit at the zoo.

"It's bad, it's real bad (Sic)-- it's backed up down 580 in San Leandro," said neighbor Jaylynn St. Julian.

There was a standing room only crowd at a meeting with neighbors and zoo staff Monday, The zoo says it underestimated the popularity of its new California Trail Exhibit and gondola. Just In the past year, attendance has spiked 30 percent, parking lots fill up by midday on weekends.

The zoo is exploring solutions.

"Now when people park, they pay going out rather than when they arrive at the zoo," said Oakland Zoo President, Joel Parrott.

Shuttle buses into the zoo and better traffic management are also being used on weekends.

But up to 900 new homes will soon be built near the zoo on the site of the old naval hospital, expected to bring more traffic.

"Part of the plan, mitigate the west and eastbound 98th Avenue exit," said Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid.

Councilman Reid wants Caltrans to FastTrak the widening project.

In the meantime, neighbors fear someone could get hurt.
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