Planning Underway for New Bay Bridge Bike Path, and a Second Transbay BART Tube

In a distant and expensive future, there are two new ways to get across the San Francisco Bay without a car. One will have a much better view.
November 19, 2018, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Long the holy grail for cycling advocates in the Bay Area — a bike and pedestrian path spanning the entire length of the Bay Bridge, offering unparalleled views of San Francisco and a carbon-free alternative to soul-sucking traffic — has, for decades, remained tantalizingly out of reach," writes Erin Baldassari.

That holy grail is one step closer to becoming a reality, however, after the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional planning agency spanning nine Bay Area counties, revealed a new study of the Bay Bridge West Span Bike Path last week.

The recent report narrows down six design alternatives created and presented to the public in 2016 to a preferred design alternative. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission website set up to promote the project, "[the preferred design alternative] features an alignment running along the north side of the West Span with a touchdown in San Francisco at Essex Street (parallel to First and Second streets, between Folsom to the north and Harrison to the south). The recommendation for the Yerba Buena Island connection joins the East Span path via Southgate Road along the east side of Hillcrest Road. The path would share architectural features will the East Span path, providing continuity of experience along the entire crossing."

According to Bladessari, the new report is the closest regional planners have come to "understanding the full magnitude of construction and its associated costs" (which, by the way, are estimated at $341 million to nearly $429 million).

But wait, there's more non-automotive transportation planning news from the Bay Area: BART has also announced a new planning process for a second transbay tube

Adam Bronklow reports: "The possibility of a second tube—BART’s official announcement suggests that 'tube' may not be the correct term for whatever the agency ends up building, instead stressing the term 'second crossing'—has floated around the Bay Area for decades, but this is the first time BART appears to be planning concrete measures for it."

The BART website set up to promote the planning process includes a list of opportunities and objectives for the project. Among the objectives, the ability to double BART bay crossing capacity.

Brinklow's coverage provides context of the growing popular and political support for the crossing.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, November 19, 2018 in The Mercury News
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