Monday, September 5, 2011

Mr. Hubbard's Neighborhood:
The new road on the south side of Lake Merritt

There's a lot of construction taking place in my neighborhood. The first project started well over a year ago, the redesign of the road that borders the south side of Lake Merritt, the stretch where 12th Street turns into East 12th Street and 14th Street turns into International Blvd., formerly known as East 14th.

Due to superstitions, there is no 13th Street.

No matter what they call it, East 14th Street or International has had its share of bad luck.

This is a shot from my corner of 2nd Street and East 12th looking toward downtown, the first thing completed in this build, a temporary road that lets drivers get from downtown to the district known as Eastlake, my neighborhood.

This had the effect of widening East 12th and making the corner where I live a traffic nightmare. Until they put up a three way stoplight, no one knew what to do and there were a lot of accidents. Now, a new way to get from Eastlake to Downtown is available, but it's also causing accidents as well. If that red car was going straight, it would lead down to the next picture's location.

Here is the start of the current maze with traffic coming from and heading to downtown, about a half block away from my apartment building. The overpass in the middle of the picture now has both a pedestrian lane and a car lane, but that is just temporary until the road and sidewalk nearest the lake are rebuilt.

Across from the lake is the Kaiser Auditorium, which hasn't been used for several years. Part of the idea of this new road is to have easy pedestrian access from the Auditorium side to the lakeside.

This is not as much of a Road to Nowhere as it may sound. The newly redesigned Oakland Museum is next to the Auditorium, and Laney College is right behind it. Plenty of chickens need to cross this road, and we'd prefer not playing chicken with eight lanes of high speed traffic.

I took this picture by taking an about face from the position from the point of view of the picture above. In about a month, the construction workers have quickly torn up the road and sidewalk nearest the lake.

This sign explains to people coming from the downtown side what they have to do if they want to head toward Eastlake.

The first couple hundred yards of the new pedestrian path is ridiculously thin, especially because it is used by walkers, runners, cyclists and skateboarders.

As a local, I consider easy pedestrian access to the lake from my side of the street A Good Thing. Technically, there always was pedestrian access. Somewhere in that pile of rubble were the entrances to two thin tunnels that went under the eight lanes of busy traffic that used to be the connection from 12th Street to East 12th Street.

I'm not afraid of walking around my neighborhood but I never used those tunnels and I never saw them used. They were dank and stinky and I think even any muggers would have been worried about the rats.

It's all supposed to be done in a half a year or so. I'll report back then.

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