No. 49: Laney College

Laney College's small park straddles the estuary that feeds Lake Merritt.

Laney College’s small park straddles the estuary that feeds Lake Merritt.

“It’s beautiful out there, if you just accept the fact that it’s raining,” was how my partner summed up the morning. As the wettest week of the year drew to its close, I sought out a short, paved route: the small park that straddles the estuary feeding Lake Merritt.

Start on 10th Street, between the Laney College tennis courts and the child  care center. The half-mile loop drops below sidewalk level and follows the estuary, snaking past the art center and pool building. Landscaping is casual, but turned bright green by the rain. At Eighth Street, you’ll take a short detour up to street level, cross the estuary, and come down again next to the baseball court.

Several frankly generic pieces of modern sculpture guard the path on this side, and a complex of park benches in a stand of trees would be a shady spot to have lunch or take a break from class. The Lake Merritt trio of seagulls, coots and Canada geese is browsing in the grass; the coots, alarmed by the pedestrian, take off in a group, their stubby wings working frantically.

Once construction on 12th Street is finished, it should be easier to extend this walk along the lake. Future work on the channel will provide a better connection to Estuary Park and the Bay Trail.

Getting there: Laney College is on 10th Street near Oak Street. Bus and BART serve the campus, and street parking is free on Sundays and easily available when class is not in session.

More information: On the Laney College page.

Cool stuff in the neighborhood: The Oakland Museum of California is across the street; Chinatown is within easy walking distance.

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