OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Grizzly Peak Boulevard and several streets around Oakland’s Lake Merritt were closed to traffic Sunday in an effort to reduce fire hazards and keep the large July 4th crowds under control.

Grizzly Peak Boulevard is a popular spot to watch fireworks, but it is also nestled in a very high fire hazard zone with very narrow roadways. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic between Skyline Boulevard and Centennial Drive from 5 a.m. Sunday through 5 a.m. Monday.

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Oakland is also coordinating the Grizzly Peak closure with Berkeley, East Bay Regional Parks, UC Berkeley, Moraga/Orinda Fire, Alameda County, Cal Fire and Caltrans.

The corridor has been closed over 4th of July holiday for the last two years, and city officials said there were no confirmed fires and reduced crowds and illegal parking at the lookout points.

“The decision to limit vehicle traffic along key corridors proved successful last year along Grizzly Peak where fire danger is extremely high and roads are narrow, and we expect similar results this year,” Oakland Fire Department Chief Reginald Freeman said.

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Intersections along Grizzly Peak that have electronic signage and personnel to prevent through traffic are at Centennial Drive, S Park Drive, Lomas Cantada, Claremont Avenue and Skyline Boulevard.

The closures on Lakeshore and Grand Avenues near Lake Merritt are prompted by concerns about access for emergency vehicles, which are impeded by traffic and parking congestion on holidays, according to a release from the Oakland fire Department.

The lake draws several thousand celebrants on holidays and cars often double- and triple-park along the narrow Lakeshore Avenue.

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The Lake Merritt closures start at 4 a.m. and continue until midnight:

  • Lakeshore Avenue between MacArthur Boulevard and East 18th Street.
  • Lakeshore Avenue exit from 580 West. The Grand Avenue exit remains open.
  • Streets closed at Lakeshore Avenue are Beacon Street, Boden Way, Brooklyn Avenue, Wayne Avenue and Hanover Avenue.
  • El Embarcadero is closed.
  • Grand Avenue between MacArthur Boulevard and Bellevue Avenue (east). Open only to Children’s Fairyland ticketholders and local residents.