West Oakland’s Cypress Street Viaduct, also called the Cypress Freeway or Cypress Structure, was a 3-mile (or 2 kilometer) elevated section of the Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880) between 7th Street and 34th street, which collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17th, 1989.
The magnitude 6.9 earthquake caused the upper tier of the two-deck highway between 18th Street and 34th Street to fall on to the road deck below, with some parts collapsing entirely to the ground. The collapse crushed cars and their occupants, killing 42 people, two thirds of the total San Francisco Bay-area death toll from the earthquake.
It was not rebuilt, and the entire structure as far as 7th Street was demolished and the Nimitz Freeway rerouted. Cypress Street was renamed Mandela Parkway in honor of Nelson Mandela, and a landscaped median strip was created where the viaduct once stood. The Cypress Freeway Memorial Park honoring the victims is located at 14th Street and Mandela Parkway.
In the early hours of April 7th, 1982, a collision in the third bore of the Caldecott Tunnel involving a tanker truck carrying gasoline caused a devastating fire.
The road tunnel, carrying westbound traffic from Orinda to Oakland, acted as a chimney during the fire with the natural draft moving smoke towards oncoming vehicles. Seven people died in the accident, two due to collision injuries, and five killed by smoke and fire. It is thought that the death toll would have been much higher had the accident occurred during the heavier traffic of daytime commuting hours.
The fire-damaged bore was closed for several months to enable over $3 million of repairs to be made. New regulations introduced following the fire restrict the transport of explosive and flammable substances by tank trucks or trailers through the Caldecott Tunnel to between the hours of 3 am and 5 am.
Curb colors in Oakland, California, indicate the following parking restrictions:
Red curbs: no stopping, standing or parking at any time.
Yellow curbs: between 7 am and 6 pm, stopping restricted to loading and unloading of passengers and materials for no more than 3 minutes unless the vehicle has commercial plates. Yellow curb restrictions do not apply on Sundays and parking holidays.
White curbs: between 7 am and 6 pm, stopping restricted to loading and unloading of passengers for no more than 3 minutes. Exceptions apply in front of hotels and hospitals, where white curb parking restrictions are in effect at all times. And in front of a place of public assembly, theater, or hall, white curb parking restrictions are in effect at all times unless the venue is closed. In which case, parking is limited to one hour or less.
Green curbs: no standing or parking for longer than 12 minutes between 8 am and 6 pm. Green curb restrictions do not apply on Sundays or parking holidays.
Blue curbs: parking for persons with disabilities with vehicles displaying a valid disability placard or license plate.
Parking restrictions at curbs with faded paint are still enforced. Always observe posted signs for any additional restrictions.
Oakland, California was named after the oak groves growing in the area, particularly until the mid 19th century.
Spanish settlers referred to the area spanning present-day Emeryville, Piedmont, and parts of Oakland, as Encinal de Temescal, derived from encina, the Spanish word for the evergreen oak.
Oakland was incorporated as a town in 1852 and as a city in 1854.
You can ride a bike across the eastern side of the Bay Bridge from Oakland as far as Yerba Buena island only. As the Bay Bridge Trail bike path runs along the new east span only, at present you cannot ride all the way across the bridge between Oakland and San Francisco. The bridge cycle path is open daily from 6 am to 9 pm, with access points opposite the IKEA store at Shellmound Street in Emeryville, and at the Bridge Yard building at 210 Burma Road in Oakland, where parking is available.