Coming soon to a Lake near you: the world’s widest sidewalk

I really enjoy Lake Merritt. I I realize that isn’t a particularly interesting observation or anything, practically everyone who lives in Oakland would probably say the exact same thing.

Well, not everyone. I recently caught a ride downtown with two Oakland residents who had both lived here for like, 20+ years, and as we drove past the Lake, they were like “Oh wow, is that Lake Merritt?” “Gee whiz, I think it is!” “Jeepers, I forgot how pretty it was, it’s been like six or seven years since I’ve been down here.” “Golly, me too.” It was weird. But for people who don’t live in Oakland/Mars (the aforementioned couple had also never been to a taco truck and expressed stunned curiosity at all the Spanish-language signs along East 14th), this charming oasis in the middle of the city is one of those things that make Oakland such a special place to live.

For frequent visitors to the Lake, the last few months have been really exciting. It’s really nice to finally see some visible progress coming from all that Measure DD money. For those who can’t make it there all that often, John Klein has helpfully documented these improvements with a wonderful series of photo sets on Flickr.

On the downtown side of the Lake, progress on the boathouse restoration is moving along nicely, and I, for one, am very much looking forward to being able to eat mediocre and overpriced food at Lake Chalet there when it opens in August. (Okay, that might be a little unfair. Their chef has quite the resume. But I’m always suspicious of view food.)

Anyway, as nice as the new boathouse looks, I have to admit I’m more than a little concerned about the way the improvements in that area appear to be shaping up. The Lake is lovely not just because of the water, but also all the greenery surrounding it. I can’t imagine swimming pool Merritt would attract nearly so many picnickers. Unfortunately, greenery seems to be in short supply along this stretch of Lakeside Drive. Instead, we have a vast expanse of concrete to look forward to. The pictures below (courtesy of John Klein) show the current sidewalk alongside an absurdly large space for the new sidewalk. Check it out.





Compare this to the renderings the City had previously advertised here (PDF), which promised significantly more green space. I realize the City is strapped for park maintenance funds, but come on.

I walk along this stretch of the Lake pretty much every morning on the way to work (well, mornings I manage to get out the house early enough anyway), and I do think that the path could stand to be widened a couple feet to accommodate the heavy traffic. But this is freaking ridiculous.

49 thoughts on “Coming soon to a Lake near you: the world’s widest sidewalk

  1. dto510

    Before anyone opines on whether the sidewalk is to big, you should look at the plans. Maybe these marked-out spaces will include trees or a grass/flower bed buffer. Maybe this will replace the path right alongside the lake in this portion, and so needs to accommodate a lot of people. There just isn’t enough information to make a judgment.

    The “swimming-pool” comparison doesn’t make sense since these pictures are of sidewalk, not of the path next to the lake – there is quite a lot of “green space” between these sidewalks and the lake itself. Also, this really isn’t all that wide for a major urban sidewalk, it’s only a little wider than most downtown commercial-area sidewalks. It looks to be the same width as what’s planned for Telegraph, so that streetside tables and chairs can be accommodated along with bike racks, trees, benches, and pedestrians. It’s like a house – the rooms look bad when they’re empty.

  2. Patrick

    If they allow food/drink vendors to set up shop with cafe tables, I’m all for it. If it’s just a wide expanse of concrete to avoid maintenance issues – for shame.

  3. V Smoothe Post author

    dto510 –

    What information do you need? It’s insanely huge. You can see the poured concrete in the photos. You think they’re going to drill it up again and stick trees in the middle?

  4. dto510

    The first bit of info you need is, is there a lakeside path in this portion? Perhaps not, and so this portion is wider to accommodate both sidewalk and path foot traffic. The second is, are they pouring concrete with space for greenery or other uses? That looks possible.

    This really isn’t very wide. Oaklanders are just used to dinky little sidewalks.

  5. Karen Smulevitz

    This Friday, several hundred senior citizens will be walking these paths all around Lake Merritt as part of the annual Healthy Living Festival. The Walkathon benefits Bay Area Community Services (Meals on Wheels) and United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County. The party starts at the Garden Center and Bandstand, and seniors will enjoy demonstrations, resource booths, a healthy free lunch, and blues music to dance to. Fun for all ages, this yearly event is “for seniors and those who love them”.

  6. Ralph

    My first thought when I walked that stretch a few days ago – freakin’ wide. My second thought when I ran it a few days later I am guessing that there will be no room to run along the lake for that stretch. This insanely wide walkway will allow me space to manuever around those painfully slow 23 min/mi walkers.

    As they have been leaving cuts for greenery in other places, I assume this will be concrete. I just pray they do not have food stands on this stretch. Will there be valet parking?

    How long is this walkathon? I am trying not to knock over old people when I run.

  7. Dave C.

    As far as I’ve been able to tell from walking around the whole lake a few days ago, there are only a few small stretches where the sidewalk is so wide — specifically, the stretches where the lakeside path merges with the streetside path. Given the number of joggers, walkers, kids in strollers, dogs, and so on, you actually do need a very side sidewalk to accommodate everyone comfortably. Since the section of sidewalk in the photographs above will be handling extra foot traffic for the large crowds of people (knock on wood!) heading to Lake Chalet, the supersized sidewalk doesn’t bother me. It’s not like very many people are really going to want to have a picnic right next to the boathouse or its parking lot, are they?

    There may be a few portions of the new sidewalk that are a foot or two wider than necessary, but for the most part I’m happy with the widths myself. I can understand the concerns, but I don’t personally share them. Mostly I’m just thrilled that they’re finally making significant progress….

  8. Kevin Cook

    I for one look forward eating a Skates by the Lake when it opens in August. It’s exciting to see that they are going to focus on seasonal ingredients like the English Pea and Ham Hock soup garnished with crispy brussel sprout leaves. I’ve always loved that brief time in august when both brussel sprouts and English peas are in season.

    There’s a large lawn near that picture right between 14th street and the Historical Bldg. I pass by it nearly every day and sleeping bums seem to be the primary users of the space. This is because nearly every inch of grass around lake Merritt anywhere near the water is covered in goose shit which few of us want to picnic anywhere near. Until they solve that problem-which they won’t–we might as well have concrete.

    It’s been almost seven years and I still can’t boat from the estuary to the lake. Right now I’d be satisfied if I could just bike down Lakeshore without trying to avoid six inch deep potholes. Measure DD is the mother of all overpriced Oakland bond measures.

  9. PRE

    Sorry, but this just sounds too much like bitching and moaning to me. What’s going on around the lake seems like one of the very few things going right in Oakland these days, and personally I like a wide sidewalk.

  10. John Klein

    In the very last picture above, the one where the guy is jogging, the width is six feet. This doesn’t include the little dirt area to the left (which is the jogging path, btw). The large dirt area to the right is for drive-thru and parking. This is what has finaling pushed me over the edge. I had been feeling a little uneasy before now.

    What happened to the park? It appears that it is now an amenity to the restaurant.

    On Lakeshore, new walkways being put in are mostly 10 feet wide and in one area, they are 12 feet wide. One member of the Measure DD oversight committee I spoke with, however, thought the sidewalks were to be only eight feet wide. So, we have six foot, eight foot, ten foot, and 12 foot wide side walks. Which is the appropriate width?

    I support Measure DD whole-heartedly, but the walks should be only as wide as is necessary and not over-built. Similarly, I believe there are a number of connecting sidewalks (between the street and the water’s edge) that are unnecessary. Project managers have told me that some are more for appearance and symmetry than for need.

    All told, it seems the project is a bit “concrete happy.”

    I’d like to hope the planners are sensitive enough to take this feedback and look at the areas still to be worked on. Those include 12th Street and an additional long stretch of Lakeshore between 12th and 18th Streets. I’d hate to see newly-reclaimed park land at 12th Street sliced up and buried under too much unnecessary concrete.

    I am very “concrete un-happy” at this moment.

  11. dbackman

    Those photos are deceiving because they don’t show what’s going on between the sidewalk and the boathouse. When I rode by yesterday there seemed to be a pretty healthy amount of landscaping in that area, though not as much as was indicated in that rendering, which neglected to show the auto access to the Lake Chalet. Nevertheless, this will be one of the broadest areas of the revamped lakeside park, which is good because currently this area gets very congested and will be even moreso once the restaurant takes off. A mix of wide pathways, hardscape and greenspace will ensure that there is room for all the different types of folks who use the Lake.

  12. Chris Kidd

    Creating a sidewalk too wide for its context can be just as harmful (or even more so) than a sidewalk too narrow for its context. It can leave pedestrians feeling too exposed and disconnected from their surroundings. I could see that certainly happening along sections of lakeside drive: with the low (55 ft.) buildings across the street, a wide thoroughfare, and a very wide sidewalk that looks to have no trees/landscaping, you could definitely be creating a pedestrian unfriendly place. That might sound a little too psycho-babble for some, but the layouts of sidewalks and pedestrian space can have a very strong subconscious effect on the person-on-the-street. Sometimes small changes can make or break a successful pedestrian area.
    Dto does make some good points about possible mitigating factors. There could be trees/landscaping in the sections that haven’t yet been paved, there could be street vendors or other placeholders that enliven the street and buffer pedestrians from traffic, it could be a conjoining of the lake trail with the sidewalk. We’ll just have to wait and see what its real effect will be.

    Far more important to me, however, is all of that goose poop. For reals. I know that there’s a ‘save the geese’ group out there, but these Canada Geese need to be dealt with. They’re essentially flightless at this point and have become a huge public nuisance. I think we need to start distributing goose condoms and get their population under control.

  13. Patrick

    Is it definitely going to all be impermeable concrete? Pavers would allow some rainwater to filter before entering the lake and would be an attractive alternative. Not too easy to rollerblade on, though. The only concrete I’m a sucker for is that sparkly stuff.

  14. Ralph

    goose condoms – all i can say is thank god i was not drinking at the time i read that or my keyboard would be useless. thankfully it was just saliva on the screen.

    i was tempted to ask a geese hunting friend of mine to come do us all a favor, but i know he is ethical in his pursuits

  15. Colin

    No offense, V, but this is the most crotchety post you’ve ever written. “This sidewalk is too wide! That restaurant is going to suck because it has a view!”

    Really? Is this all you can find to grumble about today?

    Yes, the sidewalk is wide. People run there, stroll with their kids – it’s a place people like to use. And considering that there’s 100 feet of grass between the sidewalk and the water, I think it’ll be okay. It gets crowded in the evenings, and the extra room will be used. I know more than one person who doesn’t jog down there specifically because there’s too much dodging going on in the evenings.

    The restaurant will have seating well removed from the lake, so if you condescend to go there, you can avoid being distracted by the lake you so love. Or, sit with your back to it. That’ll truly show ‘em. As for it being mediocre and over-priced, well, we’ll see. Or I’ll see and let you know. Chef spent time at Michael Mina and French Laundry, so I’m willing to give him a fair shake.

  16. PRE

    What happened to the park? It appears that it is now an amenity to the restaurant. – Means there might actually be other people in the area beside bums sleeping on the grass in the park behind the Camron-Stanford House.

    One member of the Measure DD oversight committee I spoke with, however, thought the sidewalks were to be only eight feet wide. – The same group of people who complained about “everything” associated with this project slowing it down by years.

    Colin – couldn’t agree with you more!

  17. John Klein

    PRE: I am with you 100% on keeping Measure DD. You are right, it is the ONLY public bright spot in Oakland now. This is no reason to let the quality slide for fear of “tarnishing” that bright spot, though.

    The changes being made are permanent. Therefore, we should look at them very closely when we have concerns or questions about them. This will be the best way to ensure we get an end result that pleases the most people.

    I’ve asked the council member and the project manager what procedure might available to the public when a mid-project review of design features might be warranted.

  18. V Smoothe Post author

    I can think of plenty of other things to complain about Colin, but this was all I had time for today since I had a lot of other work to take care of over the weekend and didn’t manage to get up in time to spend several hours researching and writing a more typical post before work this morning.

    But since you ask, I don’t think Lake Chalet is going to suck because it has a view. I think it’s going to suck because I read the description of their menu they provided in their press release. But that fiasco was covered pretty well in Kevin’s comment above, so no need to go into it even more now.

    I find it sad that so many people here are jumping on the overly wide sidewalks bandwagon. As Chris pointed out above, making sidewalks too wide (and honestly, this is approaching a point where you can’t even really call it a sidewalk, plaza is more like it) is bad for the pedestrian experience and is widely understood to inhibit vibrancy and use of public space. I agree that the existing path should be a little wider, but a twenty-plus foot sidewalk in recreational space is simply not good design. Plus, when you’re passing along Lakeside and can see nothing but concrete, it looks damn ugly.

  19. dbackman

    Yes, overly wide sidewalks can create unpleasant conditions in some circumstances, but I this pretty clearly isn’t one of them. The overall cross-section between the street and Lake ranges from over 200 ft down to around 100 ft at Lakeside and 17th. This cross-section contains a variety of surfaces and programs. If the walkway is taking up 10% or less of that section, that’s not so bad. Given that the majority of the Lake’s users are in circulation (biking, walking, running) for most of their visit why shouldn’t the pathways be sized to accomodate them? As Colin mentioned, this specific stretch is one of the most annoyingly congested areas in the whole park and a wider sidewalk here will relieve that. And if this area gets used as a plaza because of its width, that’s a good thing, not a negative.

  20. Karen Smulevitz

    Ralph, the old folks will be walking the lake from 10:30 to 11:30, except for a few who jump the gun so they can be first in line for the free lunch, and those who take longer because they only go 23 miles per minute. Thanks for trying to dodge us. It’s really hard getting back up after being bowled over.

  21. Christopher

    I was walking Lake Merritt just this weekend. This new sidewalk is unnecessarily wide and yet the rest of the path is TOO NARROW. The path should be at least four shoulder-breadths wide: enough room for two couples to pass each other side-by-side. Walking single-file behind joggers or other couples is annoying.

  22. Patrick

    Let’s call it a “promenade”. Plaza reminds me of a 50′s era outdoor shopping mall.

    Maybe there are plans to have planters a la Cannes?

  23. navigator

    There’s way too much concrete around Lake Merritt. The Lakeshore side is especially bad. They left very little room for vegetation. You have the very wide sidewalk merging onto the jogging path on the Lakeshore side creating a huge concrete border around the narrow part of the park. Also, who in the world approved of what looks like a concrete shed with a tin roof near the Boat House on Lakeside Drive? That use to be one of the most scenic views as you looked across the Lake from Lakeside. What are they thinking? They need to bulldoze that ugly structure. Does anyone have any sense in this town?

  24. Colin

    V –

    What would you consider an ideal width for the sidewalk? Yes, it’s academic now, but I’m curious. Keeping in mind the utility of the situation (runners, walkers, kids in strollers all have to share the space, as well as the shopping cart brigade), what would be the ideal width?

    I’m in the psycho-babble camp regarding Chris’ comments. While I do think the width of sidewalks is somewhat significant, I don’t think that a sidewalk that’s too wide is worse than one that’s too narrow, or causes pedestrians to feel disconnected. The width of a sidewalk may be a factor in feeling disconnected, but it certainly isn’t the cause.

    When I go to the salt flats I don’t feel exposed or disconnected. When I go to the Embarcadero area around the ferry terminal over in SF, I don’t feel exposed or disconnected. I feel just fine. I like it.

    I hate urban canyons like NYC. They are directionless, claustrophobic, and extremely disorienting. I’ve been told that narrow streets surrounded by big buildings are considered ideal urban pedestrian environments, but I’m not convinced, I’ve yet to see any factual study makes this anything more than speculation. It also ignores the utility of the sidewalk.

    But your argument isn’t that it will make people feel disconnected, it’s that “greenery seems to be in short supply along this stretch of Lakeside Drive”. There’s 200+ feet of greenery between this sidewalk and the water. I’m not sure what your complaint is. You’ll be able to see exactly as much of it from Lakeshore as you would be able to with a 2′ sidewalk: it’s a hill sloping away from the road, so not much.

    Guess I won’t be buying you a drink at Skates by the lake. I’ll agree that they can’t write a press release or design a website, but I’m not going to damn them without giving the food a try. It very well could suck. But I’ve eaten at Michael Minna’s when he was there, and the French Laundry does a lot to train staff, so I’ll give Gallagher a fair shake. People who know him say he’s the real deal, and I trust them. But it’s his first step up from sous, so either his ambition will carry the day or he’ll bomb out. I’m along for the ride.

  25. Ralph

    Thanks Karen, given my disdain for the stroller pushers, the 3 and 4 abreast, and the slow walkers who fail to yield the left despite my multiple warnings, I try to arrange my runs to take advantage of the slow periods on the lake.

    And on the width, for the reasons mentioned above, I think the narrow width in some areas is going to be a bigger problem.

  26. John Klein

    Colin,

    We will probably never reach an agreement on the ideal sidewalk width. There are objective standards for this stuff, including ADA requirements. In the quick research (Google) I performed, I found the ADA requirement is “greater than five feet” for most areas. In Central Business Districts, the “recommended” (not required) width is 10 feet. Lakeshore Avenue is not in the Central Business District.

    Interestingly, though, the new sidewalk running in front of the Essex, which IS in the CBD, is only six feet. Please go figure….

    All things taken into consideration: what the City of Oakland must defend, what the moms need for their strollers, and what green-grass fanatics like me want, an ideal width on Lakeshore Ave. is closer to eight feet. Now, we have 10 and 12 feet widths over there.

    I’m hoping for a lighter touch on the next go-around of sidewalks.

  27. East Lake Biker

    All that sidewalk space might bright some creative uses, 70′s style disco skaters come to mind.

  28. gem s

    Since the architectural drawings appear to no longer be online anywhere (booo, oakland.net ), I was forced to walk a block and a half to the lake for research purposes. That strip of concrete is thirty feet wide, which is way too wide for a sidewalk, but it’s not for people anyway; it’s for cars. It is more parking and a drive through to drop people off for the restaurant. Considering there is already a new parking lot right next to the boathouse, I’m pretty disappointed that these improvements are starting to seem more like a land grab for cars.

    (Call it nit-picky, but “200 feet of greenery” that includes a a big concrete thing, like say, a boathouse, and 3-4 sidewalks is not my idea of a pastoral vista down to the water.)

    I think the Lake Chalet will suck because the Beach Chalet and Park Chalet are all about separating tourists from their money at the expense of good food. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, though. I’m not holding my breath.

  29. MIke Spencer

    V., you mindreader you. I was just jogging around the Lake on Sunday when I thought what a nice job they are doing. I’m sure a big part of it is letting people with mobility problems enjoy the lake, nice smooth rolling surfaces. Dare I say, it looks spiffy in places.

    Also, I noticed a ton of landscaping and plants going in opposite the Essex. Every time I passed a goose I thought, “Wow, so those are the suckers that bring down jetliners.” Wonder what the landscaping end of things costs.

  30. dbackman

    Here is the plan:
    http://www.oaklandnet.com/cedahome_com/SiteData/cedahome/InetPub/wwwroot/main/docs/1546.pdf
    The large amount of parking here is a lot bigger issue than a few feet of extra sidewalk paving. There is certainly more paved area in construction than was initially indicated, so I understand some folks’ frustration. But still, why should it be a pastoral vista? This is an urban park that accommodates a variety of uses and users. It’s not meant to be some rolling green lawn down to the murky water. A great park is more than just green space. While this generous sidewalk could certainly use some street furniture and planting to fill it out, I think we will be surprised at what takes root here once this section of the park reopens.

  31. LazerCat

    Wide, smooth cement sidewalk alongside a lake? Looks like it has PRIME roller-skating potential!

  32. John Klein

    Dbackman: yeah, the plan you post is pretty accurate except the parking area seems larger as-built. Really though, the drawing seems accurate but it doesn’t convey a good sense of how “crowded” the whole area seems now with all the new elements. I mean you can’t just walk across the lawn any more. You have to use the sidwalk or go through the parking lot.

    It’s not that is should be a pastoral vista. It’s really more that it WAS a pastoral vista, but that is now gone. What used to be very much open space simply isn’t like that any more. Try going out there and throwing a football around next to the parking lot and plantings. Or, how about flying a kite or a lazy, quiet day in the sun. Not any more because, well you’ll be next to the parking lot of a (hoping) busy restaurant.

    Not sure why pastoral vistas need to be relegated to the “scrap heap” just because they are in town.

  33. gem s

    “While this generous sidewalk could certainly use some street furniture and planting to fill it out, I think we will be surprised at what takes root here once this section of the park reopens.”

    Street furniture? Cars will be driving and parking on that slab of 30 foot wide concrete. There are two lanes of parallel parking (one is not actually part of the newly poured concrete, but on Lakeside drive), with a single lane to drive through the center.

  34. rob

    in general, the concrete that’s replaced the dirt path around the lake is disappointing, and a parking lot where a green space existed is a shame. and a really huge cement sidewalk to make up for that loss of green, well, kinda sucks. ah, progress. i would have thought that jerry b, who was king when these plans were drawn up, would’ve made sure the whole thing would be more runner friendly, given that he’s jogging around the lake on the regular. in the end, it’ll be good for the orthopedic knee specialists, and maybe we’ll see a revival of skating here in oakland.

  35. Naomi Schiff

    Pastoral vistas vs geese. I’d point out a contradiction. Plantings of grass attract geese, so one approach is to landscape with other types of low cover that geese don’t like to munch (and could be drought-resistant, perhaps). The geese do love chewing on that lawn.

    Park staffers have been oiling goose eggshells so they won’t hatch, in recent times, to lower the population of resident geese. The migratory geese come through in the winter, don’t breed here so much.

    To my mind, this goose poop problem is a grass-caused conflict. Any landscape experts reading this: please correct if I am wrong about this.

    Some cities use dogs but then you have that other poop issue. And theoretically, although since Jerry Brown observed only in the breach, we have a No Dogs in Parks rule.

    Of course the geese long predate the humans. This is the Pacific Coast Flyway. Originally the marsh that became Lake Merritt would have been surrounded by taller reeds, brackish-water-tolerant species, and native grasses, such as you might see at Drake’s Estero and other northern Calif. inlets. We are contending with the large manmade alteration to the “lake,” more than a century later. The birds keep coming through on the flyway, and I hope they will continue to do so, because if they stop it indicates environmental disaster has occurred.

    I can’t wait for the 12th Street alterations that will give us 2 or 3 acres of new Measure DD park, and a walkable path around that end of the lake.

  36. navigator

    The 12th Street part of the project is really exciting. This will transform that part of Lake Merritt from a concrete jungle to a bucolic 4 acre park with pedestrian bridges, an arched pier, acres of grass and awesome views.

  37. publicadministrator

    Reading these comments… For the public servants it is tough to make decisions for the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while still following legal limitations, design standards and conflicting user groups. But given the blogosphere where a restaurant’s food is judged before it’s even opened its doors? Oy! Please, people we’re on your side!

    Yes, the mock up of what the sidewalks from CEDA were wrong, very wrong.
    I didn’t work on DD but visualizations often give a false expectation, that in this case was way off.

    Sidewalk width can influence pedestrian experience and no one in planning is blind to that. The tough thing is this section serves many purposes… a general purpose sidewalk for the block, part of the circumference walk around the Lake… and yes (sigh) curb parking and the allowance of car doors to swing out. For what it’s worth, I agree the damn thing is too wide.

    Let’s keep this in a little perspective… its about an 800 foot section of sidwalk we’re talking about. And thank you to those that pointed out that the revisions to the 12th street bridge will do a lot to improve a walk around the lake.

    Hey V, how about an update on the Central Estruary Planning process? Now there’s a waterfront neighborhood with a lot at stake. Chris Kidd might be able to guest blog… hint, hint.

  38. Chris Kidd

    I’d be more than happy to guest post. Before calling me out, however, the city should make sure the existing conditions reports that the 3rd meeting info was drawn from are actually available on the city’s CESP website. There’s not really much point in me talking about all the stuff I saw at the meeting without anything to show for it. Without any of the documents for existing conditions, there just isn’t much to say.

    In other words: simma down, I’ll guest post when I’m good and ready =P

  39. Oh Pleeze

    1. Geese & greenery. Yep. Geese eat grass around the lake. Since Oakland slashed gardening staff, the geese do lawn trimming, aeration and fertilization, all free of cost, especially since all are these services beneath the notice (and skill set) of city’s white shirted desk jockeys. We should extend Oaktree Volunteer medals to the geese for quietly providing real budgetary savings and tangible productivity beyond the wildest conjurings of our elected officials, though I’m surprised the unions haven’t protested the lost jobs going to birds.

    2. Chris is correct. DD planners promised us 4-people-wide sidewalks during the public meetings. DD’s execution of Lakeshore’s 4-people-wide sidewalks, however, appear based on calculations taken from anorexic physiques in the pages of Vogue, rather than from Oprah (and Oakland) realities.

    3. Street Furniture, as in the benches DD promised us? The concrete sarcophagi rimming Lake Merritt’s western edge aren’t street furniture?

    4. Ref: (Rob) “…concrete that’s replaced the dirt path…” (Lazercat) “Wide, smooth cement sidewalk alongside a lake.” Guess again: It’s the old asphalt (that used to ring parts of the lake) with the gaps filled in and skim coated with more asphalt that’s powdered with decomposed granite to *look* like concrete.

    Me? I’m fed up with being forced to walk in Grand and Lakeshore auto traffic on my way to and from work, the Farmer’s market and shopping because construction crews routinely remove pedestrian walkways. I’m also irked that trees barriers are routinely removed so construction crews can park their cars and portapots in the shade, while I have to walk through construction debris, without shade. Why are we paying city staff to monitor a project that isn’t providing what we were promised? Our esteemed planners promised pedestrian barriers and a nominal nod to saving a few trees, but they don’t budge from their desks to monitor their promises.

  40. Karen Smulevitz

    The Healthy Living Festival went off without a hitch. At last report, no senior citizens were knocked down by joggers or anyone else on the paths. Thanks Ralph, for avoiding us.
    As to concrete, why isn’t a green city like Oakland considering permeable surfaces?

  41. Ralph

    Glad, it went off without a hitch. I saw them when I drove down Grand. Thanks for the heads up.

  42. rob

    @ oh pleeze, that’s really cool about the re-use for the path. i would’ve still preferred a dirt path ringing most of the lake, but love hearing that people are being creative like that.

  43. Robert

    So it looks like the world’s widest sidewalk is not a sidewalk afterall, although it is not clear what exactly it is intended to be. It looks like it might be for small scale street vendors.

  44. John Klein

    Hi Everybody, here’s a Measure DD Update. El Embarcadero pictures and videos on Lakeshore and the El Embarcadero. http://tinyurl.com/ltetok

    I’ll post an update about the Boat House in a few days. Btw, the restaurant is taking job applications and interviewing people this week.
    John