More Options, Not Less on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

February 5, 2019

Six years ago - following two decades of advocacy work - Bike East Bay, together with many of our partners, won support for a biking and walking path on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Recently members of the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) took action to reduce the availability of the path: shrinking the pilot program from four years to six months, potentially converting the path into another traffic lane.

Nearly one year ago to the day, Bike East Bay stood up to pressure from officials who sought to limit multi-modal options and reclaim the path for cars. Now we are back at the table again, with the support of Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, and Bike East Bay members like you, to ensure this project continues to move forward.

Through the years, Bike East Bay has helped reshape regional transportation goals to no longer prioritize moving more people in cars as fast as possible. We know that more traffic lanes incentivize more driving, which means more air pollution, unnecessarily dangerous streets, and a poorer quality of life for communities along freeway corridors—including Black and Brown communities in the Iron Triangle of Richmond. This project is about more than a one-way flow of traffic. It is about the neighborhoods that feed into, and are literally fed from, crossing the bridge everyday.

This project is about bicycles, pedestrians, commuters, and the reality of what it costs to commute to, but not live in, Marin. More workers are crossing the bridge because they can’t afford to live in Marin County, and the toll plaza in Richmond will continue to be a traffic bottleneck regardless of how many new lanes are opened up to vehicle traffic. Whether there are two car lanes on the bridge or ten, congestion will continue to grow if Marin County doesn’t address its woeful lack of affordable housing.

Plans are still on track to open the bicycle-pedestrian path on the bridge, and bike lane connections in the surrounding areas, by Bike to Work Day this year (May 9). We can’t wait to celebrate the opening of a new, multi-modal option for crossing the Bay, which includes bike lanes, ferry access, and a bridge path - and finally ride from Richmond to San Rafael with you - this spring. Sign up for updates on the bridge path opening, and support Bike East Bay’s work by becoming a member today.