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Richmond/San Rafael Bridge Bike Lane

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Richmond/San Rafael Bridge Bike Lane

Old 07-23-23, 02:34 PM
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Richmond/San Rafael Bridge Bike Lane

Not sure how this plan would work

https://abc7news.com/richmond-san-rafael-bridge-new-lane-traffic-upper-deck/13515160/
Richmond San Rafael Bridge
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Old 07-23-23, 04:30 PM
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I can't comment because of lack of detailed knowledge about this bridge.

But I'm a bit confused by the report referencing a 3rd bike lane. Also, while the photos show a 4 lane roadway, there's references to an upper deck. So, are there really 2 bike lanes now, and if there are two decks, what is the total capacity and how is it used?

In any case, if I remember my advocacy history, way back when California was a pioneer enacting a law that mandated preserving bike access wherever it existed if/when roads were modified. So, I would assume that some amount of advocacy may ensure that whatever plan is used meets both the letter and spirit of that law.

Otherwise, I'm a big fan of zippers to meet rush hour capacity needs rather than expansion as a short term solution. But the long term answer that best meets sustainability and quality of life needs is changes to zoning and regional planning to eliminate "tidal" ebb and flow daily commutes. If we desegregate jobs and homes, more people could be working closer to home saving everybody time, energy and money.
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Old 07-31-23, 03:28 PM
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Richmond SanRafael Bridge will never be a well used bike route. It’s gorgeous and windy as hell but anyone commuting will be going much farther than Pt Richmond or San Quentin.
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Old 07-31-23, 09:11 PM
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There was an incident about a week ago, where someone cycled out on the bike lane on the upper span, then got off his bike and climbed down to the lower.
It was apparently someone threatening to jump, so they shut down the entire lower (eastbound) lanes for maybe 17 hours.

That probably did not help with getting people to support the whole bicycle access over the Richmond bridge thing, even though a motorist could do the same thing.

https://sfist.com/2023/07/25/richmon...e-closure-and/
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Old 10-20-23, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by hotbike
Originally Posted by FBinNY
I can't comment because of lack of detailed knowledge about this bridge.

But I'm a bit confused by the report referencing a 3rd bike lane. Also, while the photos show a 4 lane roadway, there's references to an upper deck. So, are there really 2 bike lanes now, and if there are two decks, what is the total capacity and how is it used?

In any case, if I remember my advocacy history, way back when California was a pioneer enacting a law that mandated preserving bike access wherever it existed if/when roads were modified. So, I would assume that some amount of advocacy may ensure that whatever plan is used meets both the letter and spirit of that law.

Otherwise, I'm a big fan of zippers to meet rush hour capacity needs rather than expansion as a short term solution. But the long term answer that best meets sustainability and quality of life needs is changes to zoning and regional planning to eliminate "tidal" ebb and flow daily commutes. If we desegregate jobs and homes, more people could be working closer to home saving everybody time, energy and money.
The San Rafael is a double-decker bridge. Both decks are three lanes wide. The upper deck is westbound, the lower deck eastbound. The westbound approach (Richmond side) has four lanes of freeway until you get pretty close to the bridge, the eastbound approach (San Rafael/San Quentin side) has two.

A few years ago, one of the upper deck lanes was cordoned off to make a two-way bike lane after a long administrative battle, one of the biggest bicycle advocacy victories in the area. The separator looks kind of like a "zipper," but it is stationary, not moveable. So now there are two westbound lanes for cars with a permanent lane for bikes going both ways, while there are still three eastbound lanes for cars. The proposal is basically to get rid of the bike lane and return to the status quo ante.

I hope that clears up the confusion. The article was not particularly well-written, as is the norm with mainstream reporting on bike-related issues.
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Old 10-22-23, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
The San Rafael is a double-decker bridge. Both decks are three lanes wide. The upper deck is westbound, the lower deck eastbound. The westbound approach (Richmond side) has four lanes of freeway until you get pretty close to the bridge, the eastbound approach (San Rafael/San Quentin side) has two.

A few years ago, one of the upper deck lanes was cordoned off to make a two-way bike lane after a long administrative battle, one of the biggest bicycle advocacy victories in the area. The separator looks kind of like a "zipper," but it is stationary, not moveable. So now there are two westbound lanes for cars with a permanent lane for bikes going both ways, while there are still three eastbound lanes for cars. The proposal is basically to get rid of the bike lane and return to the status quo ante.

I hope that clears up the confusion. The article was not particularly well-written, as is the norm with mainstream reporting on bike-related issues.
So, it appears that the westbound side has 4 lanes which funnel down to 2 while the eastbound side has 2 lanes which open up to 3. Why not just relocate the bike path to the eastbound level instead of moving barriers twice a day on both levels?
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Old 10-22-23, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
So, it appears that the westbound side has 4 lanes which funnel down to 2 while the eastbound side has 2 lanes which open up to 3. Why not just relocate the bike path to the eastbound level instead of moving barriers twice a day on both levels?
Okay, I mispoke. eastbound approach (San Rafeal/San Quentin) is three lanes. The lower (eastbound) direction of the bridge is two or three lanes, depending on the day and time, controlled by lights but with no physical barrier. The westbound approach (Richmond side) narrows from four lanes to three about a mile and a half before the toll plaza and then to two lanes plus the cordoned-off bike lane on the bridge itself immediately after the toll plaza.

To be clear, no lane barriers are moved - ever. The bike lane on the upper (westbound) level is for bikes going both ways - pedestrians, too, although not many of those. The barrier separating bikes from westbound cars is stationary. The only lane changes are in the eastbound direction/lower deck, controlled solely by lights (which are sometime ignored), and bikes are never on the lower deck.

I do not know why the upper deck/westbound direction was chosen for the bike lane. It certainly makes for a more pleasant biking experience than being on the lower deck, which feels a lot like a tunnel. It is significantly further from the east end of the bridge back to I-80 than from the west end of the bridge back to US 101. which means it takes a much bigger backup westbound to back onto I-80 than for an eastbound backup onto US 101. (Both I-80 and US 101 are major traffic arteries at all times, especially commute times.) That may have had something to do with choosing to put the bike lane on the westbound upper deck.

I hope this better explains the lay-out.

As for removing the bike lane, there is another player not mentioned so far - the MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission. It's a regional governmental agency that has great deal to say about where traffic and transit money from the state and federal governments goes in the Bay Area. In the recent past, the MTC has been very pro-bike-lane on the San Rafael Bridge. Indeed, the bike lane was added mainly because the MTC refused to approve continued funding for something or other Marin County mucky-mucks wanted unless the bike lane went in. I do not know whether such sentiments still prevail on the MTC, but I would not be surprised if they did. The MTC has pretty much always seen itself as the regional-focused grown-up keeping the various local government children from getting away with temper tantrums. With its power of the purse, the MTC most likely will, as a practical matter, have the final say as to whether the bike lane stays or goes. My guess is it will stay.
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Old 10-23-23, 07:58 AM
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I understand why that route is little-used by cyclists - as already said, it's a long windy ride and there are few who would make it part of their regular commute.
The real problem is that there's no way to ride from the east bay to the S.F. peninsula on the Bay Bridge. Such a route would be used by many.

But presently, the only way to get from the east bay to the western counties (S.F./Marin) is to use the San Rafael/Richmond bridge (or to go all the way around the bay, which would be a whole-day's journey).
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Old 10-23-23, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
I understand why that route is little-used by cyclists - as already said, it's a long windy ride and there are few who would make it part of their regular commute.
The real problem is that there's no way to ride from the east bay to the S.F. peninsula on the Bay Bridge. Such a route would be used by many.

But presently, the only way to get from the east bay to the western counties (S.F./Marin) is to use the San Rafael/Richmond bridge (or to go all the way around the bay, which would be a whole-day's journey).
As a recreational cyclist staying in Berkeley a couple of summers ago, I appreciated the Richmond-SR bridge bikeway as it allowed me to go ride in Marin, including Mt. Tam. from the East Bay on weekends.
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Old 10-23-23, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
The San Rafael is a double-decker bridge. Both decks are three lanes wide. The upper deck is westbound, the lower deck eastbound. The westbound approach (Richmond side) has four lanes of freeway until you get pretty close to the bridge, the eastbound approach (San Rafael/San Quentin side) has two.

A few years ago, one of the upper deck lanes was cordoned off to make a two-way bike lane after a long administrative battle, one of the biggest bicycle advocacy victories in the area. The separator looks kind of like a "zipper," but it is stationary, not moveable. So now there are two westbound lanes for cars with a permanent lane for bikes going both ways, while there are still three eastbound lanes for cars. The proposal is basically to get rid of the bike lane and return to the status quo ante.

I hope that clears up the confusion. The article was not particularly well-written, as is the norm with mainstream reporting on bike-related issues.
There are two issues: The westbound (upper deck) used to have a very wide maintenance/emergency lane that was striped off. The bike way replaced this buffer area. Second, there was also a backup on the westbound (upper deck) commute before there was a bike lane back when it was a maintenance/emergency lane. The problem is that the rate-limiter wasn't on the bridge, it was auto exits on the Marin side both to 101S (via Sir Francis Drake) and 101N. Since there were backups previous to the installation of the bike lane, until these exchanges get rebuilt, removing the bike lane and returning to the status quo ante would also return the backups to the status quo ante.
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Old 10-29-23, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
A few years ago, one of the upper deck lanes was cordoned off to make a two-way bike lane after a long administrative battle, one of the biggest bicycle advocacy victories in the area. The separator looks kind of like a "zipper," but it is stationary, not moveable. So now there are two westbound lanes for cars with a permanent lane for bikes going both ways, while there are still three eastbound lanes for cars. The proposal is basically to get rid of the bike lane and return to the status quo ante.
"A few years ago" means 46 years ago, in 1977. From the bridge's opening in 1956 to 1977, the bridge had 3 lanes in each direction, top and bottom. The standard width for traffic lanes back then was narrower than now (for example, the Bay Bridge used to have six lanes on the top deck; now it has five). In 1977, the rightmost lane of the upper deck was taken out of service to be used for a cross-bay pipeline to supply Marin Co. with water. (BTW, all of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island is served by a single 9" water pipe across the western span of the Bay Bridge; when the eastern span of the BB was rebuilt, no secondary pipe was added from the Oakland side). In 1982, the pipeline was removed but the lane was converted into a wide maintenance and emergency lane, as was done on the bottom deck so the bridge was two lanes in each direction. That was the status until 2019, when the top deck lane was converted from a maintenance and emergency lane to a bike lane.
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Old 10-29-23, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
"A few years ago" means 46 years ago, in 1977. From the bridge's opening in 1956 to 1977, the bridge had 3 lanes in each direction, top and bottom. The standard width for traffic lanes back then was narrower than now (for example, the Bay Bridge used to have six lanes on the top deck; now it has five). In 1977, the rightmost lane of the upper deck was taken out of service to be used for a cross-bay pipeline to supply Marin Co. with water. (BTW, all of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island is served by a single 9" water pipe across the western span of the Bay Bridge; when the eastern span of the BB was rebuilt, no secondary pipe was added from the Oakland side). In 1982, the pipeline was removed but the lane was converted into a wide maintenance and emergency lane, as was done on the bottom deck so the bridge was two lanes in each direction. That was the status until 2019, when the top deck lane was converted from a maintenance and emergency lane to a bike lane.
Water coming to YBI from SF originates in the Hetch Hetchy reservoir behind O'Shaughnessy Dam (John Muir is still turning over in his grave over that dam), while water coming from Oakland would come from Pardee Reservoir behind Pardee Dam. We can't be having inter-agency cooperation between Hetch Hetchy and East Bay MUD, now can we? I mean, Tuolumne River water mixed with Mokelumne River water? Who ever heard of such a thing?
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Old 11-09-23, 10:13 AM
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https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/...g-18475251.php
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Old 11-09-23, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
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There was an incident about a week ago, where someone cycled out on the bike lane on the upper span, then got off his bike and climbed down to the lower.
It was apparently someone threatening to jump, so they shut down the entire lower (eastbound) lanes for maybe 17 hours.

That probably did not help with getting people to support the whole bicycle access over the Richmond bridge thing, even though a motorist could do the same thing.

https://sfist.com/2023/07/25/richmon...e-closure-and/
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Old 11-10-23, 10:25 AM
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Interesting how the car lane advocates promote the bike lane as a rich, elite, perk. It really opens up the options for inner city Richmond residents who are getting into bicycling.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/4yr-ann...s-732212977727

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Old 11-14-23, 10:48 AM
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