OAKLAND (KPIX) — Oakland’s weekend parking ban around Lake Merritt appeared to be working and preventing some sunbathers and party-goers from showing up Saturday.
Parking officers handed out dozens of tickets on Lakeshore Avenue and Grant Avenue but some people got away with parking next to the lake at least for a while. That was because people ripped down many no-parking signs.
Parking enforcement officers told KPIX no signs, no tickets since the citations wouldn’t hold up in court. By early afternoon, Oakland police officers had to tell drivers directly about the parking ban.
“Now that the signs are down, I think it was a protest for people to say ‘no signs, you can’t ticket me,'” said Oakland resident Denise Williams-West.
Earlier in the morning, when the signs were still up, parking enforcement officers made the rounds and gave out a lot of tickets, including one to cyclist Mavis Scanlon-Marble.
“I took some pictures because there’s no sign indicating that you can’t park right here. So I’ll protest the ticket for sure,” Scanlon-Marble, an Oakland resident, told KPIX.
Oakland city leaders decided to ban street parking adjacent to Lake Merritt because they were fed up with large parties and a lack of social distancing.
Food trucks were also banned but the owner of one taco truck said he was struggling for money and would stay put even though parking officers asked him to leave.
“The parking (enforcement officer), they were going to give me a ticket,” said chef Alberto Avramow, the food truck owner.
Some neighbors supported the ban.
“When the sun came out, it got kind of crazy the last couple of weeks. It felt like there was no corona going on in the neighborhood,” said lake neighbor Warren Wilson.
Others disagreed, saying they were being punished over some individuals’ bad behavior.
“I still feel it’s unfair for the people that are abiding like myself. We’re using our masks. We have our gloves,” said Williams-West.
The tickets and the police presence seemed to work. Much-smaller crowds around the lake compared to previous weekends turned out on Saturday.
By the late afternoon, the city had replaced the vandalized no-parking signs and parking officers were back ticketing cars. The fines are $70 and the city will continue to enforce the street parking ban adjacent to Lake Merritt on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the month of May, including Monday Memorial Day.