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  1. #1
    Senior Member rafiki530's Avatar
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    New bay bridge bicycle span.

    What do people think about it.
    How long did it take you.
    Path conditions.
    Anything to look out for.

    I'm considering a trip soon to go and ride the new portion of the bay bridge and would like some feedback before I go, I did view the previous thread about the 15,000 or so but didn't want to deal with the hassle of all that. Any suggestions on where to park or start would also be helpful.

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    I rode onto the span yesterday, Saturday, 9/7. I started in Moraga. My route went like this: Pinehurst to Skyline to Tunnel to Domingo, and then almost all the way down Russell which is a Berkeley "bike boulevard". Then some side streets right and left on Acton, 66th, Idaho, 65th, and then a left on Shellmound where there is a narrow bike lane past all the commercial shopping development and then a right onto the start of the past across the street from the Ikea store.

    What do people think about it.


    Other than the fact that it doesn't go anywhere, I think it's a good start. I think the big issue that will hinder the path from becoming popular is accessibility both for pedestrians and cyclists. For pedestrians, you have to walk over 2 miles from the start of the path just to get to the bridge. That, plus a mile or 2 walk out onto the span and the walk back and you're talking about a 6-8 mile hike. That's beyond the capability of your casual sightseer so I think that will limit the subset of people checking it out. For cyclists, you need to plan your route to the start carefully as the start is in the middle of "the maze" and surrounded by urban hell with no direct route from anywhere to the start. I used Google maps bike directions and it correctly took me onto Russell and some quiet side roads. I still needed to use all my urban riding skills as the route I took was probably not appropriate for your family bike ride with the kids.

    How long did it take you.

    For me it was a 41-mile round-trip and it took me 3 and a half hours ride time. Much of that was going very slow on the path and walking the bike a few times.

    Path conditions.

    The 2 mile path leading up to the bridge is freshly paved with a center stripe and has some nice landscaping of mostly wood chips and a some plants with resting benches every once in a while. The scenery is less than stellar as you're basically riding under or alongside freeways the entire time. Either that or next to the waste-processing plant or the Port of Oakland container yards. There are no fixed restrooms but there were some porta-potties at various points. There is a dirt portion on the side where the pedestrians are supposed to walk. They don't know that yet so they were all over the place. Once on the bridge, the pedestrians are supposed to stay on the section closest to the water and the bikes have 2 lanes closest to the traffic. Again, the pedestrians haven't got the memo yet so they were all over the place.

    Anything to look out for.

    Yes, watch out for clueless pedestrians, kids on bikes, joggers, or any of the aforementioned who might be stopped in your lane. On Saturday when I went, it was hot everywhere in the bay area and it was the first weekend day the path was open so I'm guessing the crowd was about as large as it's ever going to be. The speed limit is 15 MPH for bikes but I was rarely able to achieve that speed, nor would I want to as you may find your lane suddenly occupied by someone stepping back to get a better angle on the group shot of their entire family standing by the rail.


    Any suggestions on where to park or start would also be helpful.

    From what I was seeing, it seemed a lot of people were parking in the parking lot at the big Ikea store and then walking across the street to where the path starts. I don't think there is any special parking just for the path anywhere. I suppose if too many people start parking at the Ikea lot, then Ikea might do something to dissuade people from parking in their lot and not buying a piece of crap furniture or something. There is another entrance to the path from the Port of Oakland and it gets you maybe 1/2 mile closer to the bridge but I'm not sure there is any public parking on port property.
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    Last edited by ztmlgr; 09-08-13 at 12:15 PM.

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    What is the best way to bike to the bridge from BART (any BART)? Thanks.

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    Lost in Nostalgia
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    I haven't been keeping up on all this new bay bridge thing. Are they going to have a path from SF to Yerba Buena and all the way to the east bay?

    knotty

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    Quote Originally Posted by knotty View Post
    I haven't been keeping up on all this new bay bridge thing. Are they going to have a path from SF to Yerba Buena and all the way to the east bay?

    knotty
    I wouldn't count on seeing it any time soon. This has been lobbied for and there will no doubt be even more lobbying now that the east half is in place, but there are significant challenges, not the least of which is the fact that adding a bike path to the west span would cost somewhere between $300M and $500M, money for that isn't forthcoming, and an idea of collecting it by raising tolls isn't likely to fly with voters. If and when money is found and the project is started, it would take on the order of 10 years to complete.

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    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knotty View Post
    I haven't been keeping up on all this new bay bridge thing. Are they going to have a path from SF to Yerba Buena and all the way to the east bay?

    knotty
    The Eastern Span is in need of some earthquake retrofits as well, although obviously not as urgent as the Western Span since it already broke once. Any bike lane addition to the Eastern Span will probably be lumped in with a much larger improvement on the bridge over all... as noted, likely not anytime soon.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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    Senior Member 12mphflatout's Avatar
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    I drove across the new span for the first time yesterday. I was surprised to see so many pedestrians and cyclists on the new path. I am in the process of moving from San Francisco to Walnut Creek, and once I get settled, I want to take a trip out there and see how the new path rides.

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    Senior Member rafiki530's Avatar
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    thank you this is all very helpful, I figure that some of the pedestrian traffic will subside in a few weeks, due to the route just recently opening and people wanting to check it out. The path itself looks very nice very smooth, fairly wide. With some more planning I could make my ride into a metric century.
    Last edited by rafiki530; 09-08-13 at 04:49 PM.

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    Lost in Nostalgia
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    The Eastern Span is in need of some earthquake retrofits as well, although obviously not as urgent as the Western Span since it already broke once. Any bike lane addition to the Eastern Span will probably be lumped in with a much larger improvement on the bridge over all... as noted, likely not anytime soon.
    hamster
    : "I wouldn't count on seeing it any time soon. This has been lobbied for and there will no doubt be even more lobbying now that the east half is in place, but there are significant challenges, not the least of which is the fact that adding a bike path to the west span would cost somewhere between $300M and $500M, money for that isn't forthcoming, and an idea of collecting it by raising tolls isn't likely to fly with voters. If and when money is found and the project is started, it would take on the order of 10 years to complete.
    Sure would be nice. I'd even be happy to pay a good toll to cross from SF to EB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    The Eastern Span is in need of some earthquake retrofits as well, although obviously not as urgent as the Western Span since it already broke once. Any bike lane addition to the Eastern Span will probably be lumped in with a much larger improvement on the bridge over all... as noted, likely not anytime soon.
    I think you're confused. The Eastern span is the one that broke in 1989. It has been completely replaced with the new span (with the bike path) and all that remains is to demolish the old bridge, which will probably happen in 2015. The Western span already went through seismic retrofitting.

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    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I think you're confused. The Eastern span is the one that broke in 1989.
    Well, not confused... just stupid! Of course I was discussing the potential bike lane on the Western span in the future. Got my info from this story:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier...ks-4784492.php


    With the east span finally open, planners are already at work on the next mega-Bay Bridge project - a $1 billion-plus makeover of the western span that would include a $500 million hanging bike path.

    The idea would be to create a hanging lane that would not only accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, but bridge maintenance vehicles as well.

    The project, however, has significant engineering challenges. For starters, an MTC feasibility study found bike lanes would be needed on both sides to keep the bridge's weight balanced.

    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post


    The project, however, has significant engineering challenges. For starters, an MTC feasibility study found bike lanes would be needed on both sides to keep the bridge's weight balanced.

    That's not a "challenge." Sound to me like they've got a perfect solution already.

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ztmlgr View Post
    . . . . There is a dirt portion on the side where the pedestrians are supposed to walk. They don't know that yet so they were all over the place. Once on the bridge, the pedestrians are supposed to stay on the section closest to the water and the bikes have 2 lanes closest to the traffic. Again, the pedestrians haven't got the memo yet so they were all over the place.

    Anything to look out for.

    Yes, watch out for clueless pedestrians, kids on bikes, joggers, or any of the aforementioned who might be stopped in your lane. . . .
    In other words, it's a lot like riding over the Golden Gate Bridge or on the Ohlone Greenway.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    What is the best way to bike to the bridge from BART (any BART)? Thanks.
    THe most direct way is to get off at MacArthur and ride west on 40th Street, which will have an overpass over the railroad tracks and then become the street where Ikea and the start of he path is (Shellmound?). That way is full of traffic and goes through a pretty major shopping area (including a Home Depot and Best Buy) so you will need to pay attention, especially on a weekend afternoon.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

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    So does "two miles out" mean completely closed, fenced, no way onto the path for two miles before the bridge? Or (not taking car parking into account) are there access points nearer to the base of the bridge? Thanks!

    Reid

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    blt
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    There will be a parking lot for path users closer to the bridge, but that may be a couple of years off. Maybe around the time the path goes all the way to Yerba Buena.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reidplum View Post
    So does "two miles out" mean completely closed, fenced, no way onto the path for two miles before the bridge? Or (not taking car parking into account) are there access points nearer to the base of the bridge?
    As I remember, the right side of the path from Shellmound is totally fenced, obviously because it is all freeway to your right as you head to the bridge. The left side appeared to be fenced, although I cannot say for sure there was no way onto the path from the left, other than maybe climbing down some freeway embankment or something. Other than Shellmound, there is a second path entrance on Maritime St in the Port that saves maybe 1/2 mile of hiking/biking to the bridge itself.

    You could always gain quick access to the path by having a friend drive you eastbound on the bridge, and pulling over in the breakdown lane where you hop out and scale the shoulder-high rail. Just make sure there are no CHP in sight when you do that.

  18. #18
    I scream for ice cream. SkyeC's Avatar
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    If you're into riding your bike on MUPs, it's nice. I'll take my chances with cars any day rather than strollers, roller bladers, and people wandering aimlessly. I went up on Tuesday just to say I've done it and take a picture; nice path, flat for the most part, and of course windy as all hell. The new bridge looks very nice! Especially in comparison to the old one that looks ready to fall to pieces.

    Don't park in the IKEA parking lot, it's private property and they have their security contractors watching to see if people are taking parking on weekends when the store is busy... You'll get towed.

    Easiest way to get there would be side streets to 40th and then pop onto the path. 40th is pretty mellow to me, two lanes for vehicles and bike lanes for most of it from MacArthur to Emeryville.

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    Took the BART train from San Francisco to West Oakland to check out the new Bay Bridge Bike Path. The route from West Oakland has no bike route markings and very heavy truck traffic from the Port of Oakland. The safer choice would be from the MacArthur BART Station west on 40th Street to the Emeryville Bike Path.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5crZ0...H1wao0UaHQFdKw

  20. #20
    Senior Member rafiki530's Avatar
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    So I went this weekend and took the San Francisco bay trial which starts by Gilman street and reconnected by the Emeryville Ikea. Gotta say i was a little dissapointed at the end, I thought it connected to Yerba Buena island but I ran into the posts at the end and had to head back. All in all it was a pleasant ride, the path was clean but also fairly barren at the same time, lots of woodchips the trail seemed very industrial to me but as an extension to the San Francisco bay trial ride it can be very nice with rewarding views of the bay and the city.

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