Bay Area Cyclists Will Get Their Bike Path Over Bay Bridge, but Not Soon

Bay Area bicycle path 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from Google Maps
It’s one thing to ask people to leave their cars at home and thus free up traffic, and it’s a completely different affair to actually offer them viable alternatives. That’s what separates good local administrations from bad ones.
Provided there’s the right infrastructure, using a bicycle as a means of transportation is often the best solution. It’s quiet, it’s ecological, it’s beneficial to the rider and it’s reasonably fast - that last part is really up to each cyclist in particular. However, if the city lacks the dedicated bicycle lanes, those on bikes become something of a nuisance for the drivers (not that it’s their fault in any way) while also exposing themselves to a host of dangers.

The Bay Area has long been scheduled to receive a bicycle and pedestrian path that would link the Yerba Buena Island to the western side of the Bay, thus making it possible to cycle all the way from Oakland to San Francisco. The reason it has taken so long (and it’s still far away from completion) is because the project raises a lot of difficulties for the engineers.

With the Bay Bridge in place, it makes perfect sense that the new path would make use of the already existing structure, yet it’s not that simple. The bridge would have to be taken apart, have some new bits installed and then put back together. To put it into Rafael Manzanares’ words, one of the engineers involved with the project being quoted by Richmond Confidential, “it’s surgical work.”

KQED News says the Bay Area Toll Authority (if you read “Troll” the first time it’s OK, so did I) thinks the construction won’t be open to the public sooner than 2025. However, when all the technical bits have been solved, and the structure is finally put together, this new route is estimated to be used by about 10,000 cyclists daily, not counting pedestrian traffic.

As you can imagine, building such a structure that spans over 2.9 miles isn’t going to be cheap. In fact, one other thing holding the project back is the attempt to find ways to complete the project without spending more than $300 million - a lot less than the initial estimates.

Once all the administrative, political and technical hurdles have been cleared, the construction itself is estimated to take anywhere between three to five years. Considering the late scheduled opening in 2025, that would suggest they don’t expect to settle the bureaucratic matters too quickly.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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