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Lake Merritt Residents Seek Solutions to Noise, Sideshows

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Many of the antics around Lake Merritt are creating a dangerous and precarious situation for the neighborhood’s residents, including those that reside at 1200 Lakeshore.

Late-night partying and vehicular antics are not new to this area but have alarmingly increased with the onset of the pandemic.

To be sure, everyone is sick and tired of being on lockdown and not having the ability to socialize and enjoy their friends and neighbors. People want to get out. But residents say that is not the problem. On the streets around the Lake, people are participating in semi- sideshows, and performing dangerous doughnuts in the cul-de-sac and the streets right outside the buildings where people live. Residents report that people are playing loud music throughout the night that is sometimes so loud it shakes the glass of apartment windows 18 floors above the street.

These activities place senior citizens in danger of being hit by speeding cars and deprive residents and children of sleep at night. Now, residents who are on lockdown like everyone else, complain that they suffer from sleepless nights and dangerous conditions when they walk across the street to the park.

Last week, over 60 residents from 1200 Lakeshore and the neighborhood met with City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas and city staff to voice their concerns and demand remedies to the pervasive problems that plague their neighborhood.  They wanted to know what the Council Member and city staff was going to do about sideshows, noise and garbage thrown into the street.

Over a two-hour Zoom session, Council Member Bas fielded comments from frustrated residents. She and city staff promised some solutions and further work on other issues.

“You have our attention,” said Joe DeVries, from the city administrator’s office. On the issue of traffic violations and doughnuts in the cul-de-sac in front of the building, he and the Department of Transportation committed to install speed bumps.  “We are going to speed that process up and cut through bureaucratic hurdles.”

Residents were pleased until they received a follow-up email that said “speeding up the process” meant the speed bumps would be installed in the Summer of 2021.  Residents are asking what they are to do until then.  Every day of delay is a day that residents feel their lives are threatened by dangerous drivers.  Bas responded that the Department of Transportation would do what it can to finish the work sooner, but she added, there is a 19-case backlog of other speed bump projects.

“These issues are more than an inconvenience, but are also health and life safety concerns, especially to elderly residents,” said Greg McConnell, a spokesman for the property.

McConnell said he hopes to continue working with Bas to craft a slate of interim measures to mitigate dangerous driving until more permanent solutions can be put in place and to resolve other issues.

Council Member Bas also promised to work with Public Works department officials to increase the number of garbage cans and increase garbage pick-ups in the area.

Other ideas in the works include the creation of a volunteer ambassador program manned by neighborhood residents to foster stewardship, clean up, and maintain great relations between neighbors and visitors to the lake.

But the most vexing problem that remains unresolved is the late-night blaring music that disturbs the sleep and peace and quiet of residents of the apartment buildings that line the street across from the lake.

“Lake Merritt is an Oakland treasure, and everyone has the right to enjoy it” said McConnell.  “But waking people up at 2, 3 and 4 in the morning to loud music is not right. We look forward to coming up with solutions that work for everyone.”

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