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History of Bike Access on the Bay Bridge

Author: bcomadmin

Date: August 29, 2013


December 13, 2011 Update:

MTC and Caltrans unveil design details of the West Span Pathway of the Bay Bridge The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), in partnership with Caltrans and the City and County of San Francisco, has developed several thorough design alternatives for a bicycle/pedestrian/maintenance path project on the West Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. At an open house on December 13, 2011, the public was shown the pathway concept on the bridge, as well as several different design options for the touchdowns of the pathway both onto Yerba Buena Island and into the City of San Francisco. Project materials have been posted to West Span Pathway Project.

Key challenges include minimizing the weight added to the West Span, which can be accomplished by replacing the heavy decking on the bridge; the touchdown onto Folsom Street or into the Transbay Terminal; and the touchdowns onto Yerba Buena Island. Another challenge of course is the cost, estimated within the range of $500-$550 million. However, MTC did offer some potential cost savings by combining the pathway project with a bridge deck retrofit, providing a pathway only on the north side of the West Span, and shortening some of the touchdowns. The Bicycle Coalition believes there may be additional cost savings potential in the designs and will pursue these with MTC and Caltrans, as we move into the next phase of the project, which is completion of the Project Initiation Document (PID) for what will be formally known as the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Bicycle Pedestrian Maintenance Path Project.

The PID is intended to update the feasibility study performed in 2001. Read Streetsblog’s report of the December 13 Open House The proposed pathway project would extend the bicycle/pedestrian path already being constructed on the Bay Bridge’s new East Span by taking it around Yerba Buena Island and across the bridge’s West Span into San Francisco. In addition to providing a continuous bike/ped route from Oakland to San Francisco, the path project also would provide improved bridge access for Caltrans maintenance crews, thereby reducing maintenance closures on the bridge. Please note that these are preliminary designs and that funding for this project has not yet been identified. Project materials have been posted to West Span Pathway Project.east bay express logo

Fantasies of bicycling and walking between San Francisco and Oakland along the Bay Bridge are slowly inching their way toward reality. The Bay Bridge Bikeway Project, a joint venture between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans, hopes to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between the two cities along the full span of the bridge. If approved, MTC officials said it would be the largest engineering feat of its kind in history. Full Story on Biking to the City in this week’s East Bay Express

  • Update: August 18, 2010 SB 1061 was held in Assembly Appropriations, which effectively stalls the bill for the current legislative session.  While this is an unfortunate setback, we still have the legislative analysis that authorizes spending current toll revenue from all sources except RM2 tolls on the West Span Pathway.  EBBC is discussing with the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition our strategy to move the project forward and find funding for the next steps in the planning process for the pathway.  We are tracking the Project Study Report, currently underway, that is updating cost estimates and refining designs for the touchdown in San Francisco. In addition, we are strategizing our fundraising opportunities to develop outreach materials and strengthen the grassroots campaign to complete the shore-to-shore bicycle access across the Bay Bridge. Gateway Park Project Read about the exciting plans for a new Gateway Park Project at the touchdown of the new East Span of the Bay Bridge.Bay Bridge West Span Bikeway
  • Update: June 21, 2010 The Assembly Transportation Committee approved SB 1061 on June 21 by a 7-3 vote. Senator Loni Hancock was on hand to introduce the Bill and explain the need for it to the Transportation Committee as well as answer questions. Andrew Casteel, Executive Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, told the Committee about the benefits for maintenance and the popularity of the new Bike/Ped/Maintenance Pathway, and Dave Campbell, EBBC Program Director, spoke about the MTC’s vision of shore-to-shore access between San Francisco and Oakland and of all the exciting developments happening in the area, such as development on Treasure Island and the new Gateway Park planned for the Oakland touchdown of the Bridge. The Assembly Appropriations Committee takes up the Bill next and your Bicycle Coalition will be rounding up more letters of support for the Bill Stay tuned. SB 1061 will provide the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) with express authority to allocate funds to the construction of the West Span Bicycle/Pedestrian/Maintenance Pathway. We are grateful to State Senator Loni Hancock for introducing this bill, and are very excited about the future prospect of a bay bridge that serves all users.
    Will this pathway ever reach San Francisco?

    Temporary end of East Span Pathway

  • Supporting Organizations Include:

    • East Bay Bicycle Coalition
    • Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition
    • San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
    • Bay Localize
    • Breathe California
    • Friends of Bus Rapid Transit
    • Bay Area Bicycle Coalition
    • California Bicycle Coalition
    • Citizens for East Shore Parks
    • Ecocity Builders
    • California Bicycle Coalition
    • Friends of the Earth
    • Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates
    • California Association of Bicycling Organizations
    • Marin County Bicycle Coalition
    • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
    • Transform
    • Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)
    • Sierra Club California


  • Update: March 2010 We are currently working to promote legislation to authorize funding for the West Span Bicycle-Pedestrian-Maintenance Pathway to complete the pathway under construction on the East Span and approach. We need written support prior to the March 23rd hearing before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
    In 1998, the Governor signed AB 2038 supporting a toll expenditure to construct the West Span Pathway.
    Justification for West Span Bicycle-Pedestrian-Maintenance Pathway
    SFOBB Resolution supporting the BATA toll increase adopted for all seven State-owned toll bridges …but it failed to address the West Span safety pathway!
    Planning is underway for a “world class” bridge pathway approach and Gateway Park. For more information, please see our Bridge Access summary.

      Right now, support the passage of SB 1061 and a complete pathway:

      please download our template letter.

    1. Update: February 10, 2010
      Join or renew today and get a special book
      Our campaign for a Bicycle-Pedestrian-Maintenance Pathway across the Bay Bridge continues, and your membership keeps us going. We had an amazing turn out at the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) meeting on January 27. At the meeting, EBBC and our Coalition partners united for a strong showing.  Our efforts were supported by a standing-room-only crowd packed with our members and other bicycle advocates (see photos here). The nearly 800 letters sent to BATA commissioners in the weeks leading up to the meeting bolstered our message: Bridge the Gap! Thanks to all of you who sent letters and turned out for the meeting.
      The outcomes represented the latest milestone in EBBC’s 12 year campaign to provide non-motorized access to the Bay Bridge via a Bicycle-Pedestrian-Maintenance Pathway.
      There’s still lots of work to be done, and EBBC will persevere until the pathway is complete. In the coming weeks and months we will be working locally with BATA on project oversight; in Sacramento on necessary state legislation; and at the federal level to build support and funding opportunities to further our campaign so that West Span Pathway is funded and built quickly.
      In celebration of our successes, we’ve got a special offer for you. The Bike the Bridge cartoon was generously contributed by world renowned artist Ken Avidor, creator of a flattened rodent called Roadkill BillThe first 10 people who join or renew their membership at the $50 level will receive a free book of Avidor’s Roadkill Bill Comics. And, if you’re still looking for something for your sweetheart, don’t forget, EBBC membership makes a great Valentine’s gift.

    2. Senator Loni Hancock Introduces SB 1061
    3. Update: January 29, 2010 East Bay Bicycle Coalition and other bicycle advocates were out in full force at the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) meeting on January 27 at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The outcomes represented the latest milestone in EBBC’s 12 year campaign to provide non-motorized access to the Bay Bridge via a Bicycle-Pedestrian-Maintenance Pathway.At the meeting, the Coalition united for a strong showing. Representatives of EBBC, Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, Bicycle Friendly Berkeley Coalition, TransForm, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition spoke in favor of strong action to move forward with West Span Pathway. Our efforts were supported by a standing-room-only crowd packed with our members and other bicycle advocates. The nearly 800 letters sent to BATA commissioners in the weeks leading up to the meeting bolstered our message: Bridge the Gap! The meeting outcomes advanced the West Span Campaign… BATA’s agenda focused on raising bridge tolls to fund seismic retrofits for the Anitoch and Dumbarton bridges, and EBBC originally advocated for a portion revenues from the proposed congestion pricing tolls for the Bay Bridge to fund the construction of the West Span Pathway. However, BATA officials determined that state law does not allow the toll increases to be used for the West Span Pathway. Still, we pushed the Pathway campaign forward: Berkeley Mayor and BATA Commissioner Tom Bates asked for an analysis of BATA’s authority to fund the path be done by the state counsel, and asked state Sen. Loni Hancock, D- Berkeley, to introduce a bill that would again allow tolls to be used for a West Span Pathway. January 27, 2010 MTC Board Meeting EBBC’s Bay Bridge Pathway campaign continues with pressure on the MTC and progress in Sacramento on SB 1061 EBBC is pleased with the new progress towards the completion of the West Span Path. We are now working with Senator Hancock’s office to address this issue, as outlined by BATA. There is no better time to continue to move forward with funding the West Span Pathway. The Alexander Zuckermann Pathway on the East Span is nearing completion, and the first steel deck pieces of the Bay Bridge’s new eastern suspension span arrived from Shanghai on January 21st. Furthermore, the latest designs for the development of Treasure Island suggest as many as 20,000 new residents will be relying on the Bay Bridge to get to San Francisco and the East Bay – an easy walk or bike ride on the once the Pathway is completed — in addition to the many at each end of the bridge in need of transbay equal access.

    Why fund a Bay Bridge Pathway? A complete pathway from the East Bay to San Francisco will provide benefits to many types of users, not only bicyclists. Local pedestrians as well as tourists, will enjoy use of the Pathway. The pathway also offers a safe refuge for motorists who break down – the Bay Bridge is the only remaining state toll bridge in the Bay Area lacking a shoulder for drivers. Maintenance costs and traffic congestion will be reduced as the pathway adds an alternative to lane closures – maintenance and emergency vehicles will have access to the West Span Pathway. Due to easier access for inspections and spot repairs, the bridge will be safer. A study from UC Berkeley found that the path will significantly increase seismic safety, helping assure the integrity of the bridge and the safety of its travellers in an earthquake. Lastly, a complete Bay Bridge Pathway provides environmental benefits to the entire region, allowing for a new carbon-free (and cheap) option to cross the Bay Bridge instead of driving. An average cyclist can cross the 4.5 mile span in just 20 minutes, while many motorists are still waiting at the toll plaza. Media Coverage A great investigative piece ran in the SF Public Press. Our efforts have also garnered media attention in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Examiner, Streetsblog and the Oakland Local. We extend our thanks to all of you who wrote letters and attended the BATA meeting. EBBC will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf. Please check back for the latest on our campaign to Bridge the Gap, and if you would like to get more involved, please email carrie (dot) harvilla (at) ebbc (dot) org. Looking for background documents and our Jan. 27 campaign page? Click here for more information on the background of the campaign leading up to the BATA meeting.


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