Although the Bay Bridge technically has a bike and pedestrian path that opened along with the new span in 2014, it only crosses half of the bridge. This week, complicated new designs for a path that would stretch the whole way to San Francisco from Oakland were revealed by engineering firm Arup. However, don't expect them to become reality any time soon; the path would take 10 years and $300 million to complete.
There are plenty of things that make getting bicyclists and pedestrians across the bridge a complex affair, and two of them are how to enter and exit San Francisco. As the entrance gets closer to the waterfront, the pitch of the ramp becomes steeper. Options presented this week include a long incline that ends at Essex Street or a set of spirals that would land near Bryant and Beale streets. A third option would travel sharply down to the Embarcadero.
Then, there's the whole issue of actually attaching a new span to the Bay Bridge itself, which would require partially taking apart the bridge to integrate the new path. However, adding that new weight would cause the bridge to actually sink six to eight inches, which could be addressed by tightening the suspension wires.
According to KQED, up to 10,000 bicyclists would ride across the bridge every day. That includes new residents who will move into the massive development planned for Treasure Island. Expect to hear a lot more about these plans in coming years.
· SFOBB West Span BPM Bike Path [Bay Area Toll Authority, PDF]
· Engineers Zero In on Design for Bike Path on Bay Bridge Western Span [KQED]
· Bay Bridge Bike Path on Track--to be Finished in 2025 [Richmond Confidential]