What's going on around Lake Merritt?

If you work downtown like me, or you live near Lake Merritt, the construction has surely impacted your car or bike commute.

In a few months, you'll be able to bike around Lakeside Drive and Harrison Street on new protected bike lanes. Oakland Department of Transportation told Bike East Bay it expects the area to be rideable by August.

The Lake Merritt improvements stem from Measure DD, a 2002 bond measure that set aside $198 million for work around the park. We've enjoyed the first phase, which included new pedestrian bridges around 11thStreet, an amphitheater and improvements around Lake Chalet, for a few years now. This next phase brings even more improvements to the area.

Workers recently completed a new concrete path on Lakeside Green, the former gravel path that runs alongside Children's Fairyland. Other improvements near Fairylandinclude a pedestrian promenade and rain gardens with drought-tolerant landscaping.

The protected bike lane project, approved by the Oakland City Council March 6, will add concrete planted medians to separate car and bike traffic. The medians not only enhance bicyclist safety, but also add 35,000 square feet of recreational space, according to Bike East Bay.

The city also plans to "calm" the dangerous intersection of Harrison, Lakeside Drive and 20thStreet to allow safer pedestrian access from Snow Park. Snow Park itself will also get a much-needed facelift.

The Harrison-Lakeside bike lanes are one part of a larger project to add more bike lanes around Grand Avenue and Harrison. By 2020, the city plans to add protected bike lanes all the way to 27thStreet, to Bay Place near Whole Foods, near the Fairyland entrance and on 20thto the 19thStreet BART station.

Kudos to Bike East Bay on its efforts to give Oakland more protected bike lanes. The improvements will allow commuters, families and others to bike around and near the lake more safely.

Where do you ride? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Oakland Department of Transportation

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