Bay Bridge West Span Design Options Unveiled

Attendees at the Bay Bridge West Span Bike Path open house this past on January 20 sure were excited. At this meeting hosted by the Bay Area Toll Authority 60% of attendees said they would commute across the bridge and 100% would ride for recreation. We are happy to report plans are underway to complete the path all the way to San Francisco with a completion date in eight to ten years and an estimated 10,000 users per day.

As mentioned in our earlier post, the purpose of this feasability study is to find a design for the West Span bicycle and pedestrian pathway that would be politically feasable and could be built for under $300 million dollars.  This means that, instead of the previous design that was on both sides of the bridge, this path would be on only one side.

The design teams from Arup and HNTB groups have divided the bridge into three parts: the San Francisco landing, the two-mile bridge span, and Yerba Buena Island, with several options for each section. We liked the option for the path to follow the Fremont exit to touch down on Essex St (pictured below), combined with elevators for tourist to the Embarcadero.

Other options for the San Francisco touchdown are several designs that spiral down to the waterfront on the north and south sides of the bridge. Elevators at the Embarcadero could compliment any of these landing option.

For the main span, the path could attach alongside the upper deck or be suspended above the roadway. Noise and air quality were major factors in discussion of placing the path on the north side vs. the south side of the bridge. Options on Yerba Buena Island include routes above and below Hillcrest Dr, as well as a suspended path through the tunnel.

After receiving public feedback at the open house, the design teams will now focus on selecting the two best end to end designs. Here is the full slide presentation from this week’s meeting.

Concerns were raised from the group about whether the proposed 15 foot width for the path, the same as the East Span pathway, would be wide enough.  With 1,300 estimated users per hour during peak commute periods even with 15 feet of width the path could be crowded.  One of the consultants suggested that the long term plan would be for a second path on the other side of the bridge.

We are very happy to be working alongside our our partner across the bay, San Francisco Bicyle Coalition, to win access to bike all the way across the bay, from Oakland and Emeryville, to San Francisco.

Look for another meeting in September to learn about the final options and cost estimates. Check back on our campaign page at



Bay Bridge