Today there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the renovation of the Lake Merritt Boathouse. It was built in 1909 to house a pumping station in the center; the boathouse and public pavilion in the wings were added later. The pumping station was to be an emergency water source in case of fires like those that devastated San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. The building had gotten somewhat run down in the last years, so was in need of some care.
Now it will house The Lake Chalet, a restaurant and bar run by the same people who run The Beach Chalet on San Francisco's Ocean Beach at Golden Gate Park. It's a really beautiful spot for a restaurant, looking out over Lake Merritt. (There's a nice ode to Lake Merritt over on monteskewed that Monte wrote recently.) I'm hoping the food will be better at the Lake Chalet than at the Beach Chalet; it's not bad, but with so many other great restaurants around Oakland, the Lake Chalet will need to have great food to compete, otherwise it'll just be a nice 'destination' restaurant, not a true gem.
I also checked out the newly painted bike lanes and restructuring work done along Lakeside Drive (Walk Oakland Bike Oakland has a nice post on it.) The new lane layout is nice. Instead of 4 lanes of cars, there are 2 lanes plus a bike lane. One thing that left me scratching my head though is the on sidewalk parking. There's a traditional row of parking inside the bike lane, but there were also spaces marked on the sidewalk, and a ramp at the driveway to Camron-Stanford House. It had temporary signs for press and VIP parking, so maybe it's just temporary, too, but the lines seemed permanent enough. Amusingly, two cars (including what I think was the mayor's) were parked in the bike lane with the hazards on, even though there was parking set aside for them that was closer. Another thing that I hope is only temporary was the lack of bike racks. On my ride around Chinatown and Downtown yesterday, I generally found places to lock up where I needed.