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Wildcat Canyon nr. San Pablo Dam Rd. could be closed until 2025

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Wildcat Canyon nr. San Pablo Dam Rd. could be closed until 2025

Old 10-24-23, 06:30 PM
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Wildcat Canyon nr. San Pablo Dam Rd. could be closed until 2025

https://www.berkeleyside.org/2023/10...a-costa-county
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Old 10-24-23, 09:52 PM
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Old 10-24-23, 11:29 PM
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To be clear, the big nasty slip-out that is pictured in the article is not in Tilden Park. That may be East Bay MUD land, but it isn't Tilden Park/EBRPD land. Google Maps also says that part will be closed until 2025 (doesn't say when in 2025).

Also to be clear, that part of Wildcat is still open to cyclists. At some point, and probably for some months once serious construction starts, it will no doubt be closed to bikes. But for now, bike away (carefully - it is pretty narrow).

The closure between Shasta and Park Hills will, in fact, be closed until Nov 14, according to the posted signs. But the road (and the closure) are above Lake Anza, not below.
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Old 10-30-23, 11:34 AM
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Good. Keep it closed to cars as long as possible. I don't ride solo in the Oakland/Berkeley hills anymore with the ridiculous amount of robberies, so this is one area where I feel pretty safe. Plus, it's just so nice to have a whole road only to bikes and an occasional walker.
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Old 10-30-23, 02:54 PM
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Sounds like the project manager quoted in the Berkeleyside article is giving a report that is more current that the latest update on the Public Works News Flash page on the Contra Costa County website. That was last updated 6/8/2023, and said, "We had anticipated a Summer 2025 construction date, but are making every effort to advance the schedule to 2024."

The project manager quoted in the October 24 Berkeleyside article (i.e., from 6 days ago) says
environmental impact studies are underway, and the county expects to get the necessary clearances under the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Protection Act by the end of 2024, they anticipate construction to begin spring 2025 and be complete by fall 2025, after which the road will be reopened. She indicates designs are not yet complete, which is consistent with the project page on the county website, which indicates design is 35% complete. The efforts to advance the schedule to 2024 don't sound as if they will be/have been successful.

We'll see if construction impacts the ability to ride through the slide area, but that probably won't happen for awhile. And we'll see how much debris gets on the road this fall/winter to impact the ride, but as of a couple of weeks ago, the amount of debris was minimal, the 2.5 mile ride a pleasure.
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Old 12-08-23, 09:43 AM
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Are cyclists still able to get through that lower section of Wildcat Canyon? I haven't been through there in long time. And is there any difference between weekdays and weekends, i.e., are there crews working on weekdays who would prevent cyclists from getting through? Just don't want to head all the way over there only to have to turn around.
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Old 12-08-23, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Pavol Stromcek
Are cyclists still able to get through that lower section of Wildcat Canyon? I haven't been through there in long time. And is there any difference between weekdays and weekends, i.e., are there crews working on weekdays who would prevent cyclists from getting through? Just don't want to head all the way over there only to have to turn around.
Yes, the road is open to cyclists and pedestrians. Weekends have more bike traffic than weekdays, but not even remotely enough to matter. Until, t

No work is underway yet. When construction starts, and I doubt they would start before Spring 2024 at the earliest. (Note that I am speaking with zero inside information, just a guesstimate based on past performance in similar situations. I expect the road to be closed off for a significant chunk of time. hen, it is the biggest MUP you've ever seen.
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Old 12-08-23, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
Yes, the road is open to cyclists and pedestrians. Weekends have more bike traffic than weekdays, but not even remotely enough to matter. Until, t

No work is underway yet. When construction starts, and I doubt they would start before Spring 2024 at the earliest. (Note that I am speaking with zero inside information, just a guesstimate based on past performance in similar situations. I expect the road to be closed off for a significant chunk of time. hen, it is the biggest MUP you've ever seen.
The latest on the county webpage on the project says, "November 2023 Project design is moving toward 65% stage." Since design isn't finished, and the project manager indicated in the October 24, 2023 Berkeleyside article (when design was indicated at 35%, but not updated since September) that environmental clearances are expected by the end of 2024, and anticipated Spring 2025 as construction start, and these things rarely get started before anticipated, I'd go with Spring 2025 as the earliest construction will begin.

The MUP should be there awhile (and, unlike most MUP's, it has very few pedestrians/runners, and is wide enough to easily avoid them if they are there). As the signs warn cyclists, you COULD see an EBRPD maintenance vehicle between El Toyonal and Inspiration Point, but that has to be extremely rare, and really, it just means don't ride the wrong side of the road in that stretch, but it is a bad idea to ride the wrong side of the road even between Camino Pablo and El Toyonal, because you might crash into another bike.
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Old 12-08-23, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by blt
The latest on the county webpage on the project says, "November 2023 Project design is moving toward 65% stage." Since design isn't finished, and the project manager indicated in the October 24, 2023 Berkeleyside article (when design was indicated at 35%, but not updated since September) that environmental clearances are expected by the end of 2024, and anticipated Spring 2025 as construction start, and these things rarely get started before anticipated, I'd go with Spring 2025 as the earliest construction will begin.

The MUP should be there awhile (and, unlike most MUP's, it has very few pedestrians/runners, and is wide enough to easily avoid them if they are there). As the signs warn cyclists,
you COULD see an EBRPD maintenance vehicle between El Toyonal and Inspiration Point, but that has to be extremely rare, and really, it just means don't ride the wrong side of the road in that stretch, but it is a bad idea to ride the wrong side of the road even between Camino Pablo and El Toyonal, because you might crash into another bike.
The road from Insp Pt to El Toyonal is also used by residents and horse people who live/board horses/etc. on El Toyenal, everything up to and including horse trailers. I have personally seen a horse trailer, a couple big working pick-up trucks and a random car or two on that stretch of road since the washout. I would characterize the likelihood of seeing a motor vehicle there as "rare" but more than "extremely rare." It is not likely on any given ride, but if you ride there regularly, the odds are you will see a car/pick-up on that stretch of road. As long as you are paying attention, it isn't a problem.

Everything from El Toyonal to San Pablo Dam Road is a hard no-go for anything but bikes, pedestrians and horses.

One more thing - be extra careful on Wildcat during leaf- falling season, especially when it has just rained. In normal times, the wind generated by cars driving on it sweeps most of the leaves off the road. Without that wind effect, more leaves stay on the road. That means more leaves than usual on the road after a rain. More leaves means more wet leaves, which in turn means a slicker road surface. Slick road surface plus downhill speeds plus twisty turns - well, you can do the math.

As Michael Conrad's character used to say on "Hill Street Blues," "Let's be careful out there."
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Old 12-08-23, 06:22 PM
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Thanks for the info, everyone! I will try to plan a ride through Wildcat soon. Sounds like it'll be ride-able for a while longer.

Originally Posted by bikingshearer
One more thing - be extra careful on Wildcat during leaf- falling season, especially when it has just rained. In normal times, the wind generated by cars driving on it sweeps most of the leaves off the road. Without that wind effect, more leaves stay on the road. That means more leaves than usual on the road after a rain. More leaves means more wet leaves, which in turn means a slicker road surface. Slick road surface plus downhill speeds plus twisty turns - well, you can do the math.
Yes, good point! I'm used to dealing with piles of wet and slick debris on South Park in Berkeley when that road is closed to car traffic every year from November through March, and that's a steeper descent in many places.
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Old 12-08-23, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Pavol Stromcek
Thanks for the info, everyone! I will try to plan a ride through Wildcat soon. Sounds like it'll be ride-able for a while longer.



Yes, good point! I'm used to dealing with piles of wet and slick debris on South Park in Berkeley when that road is closed to car traffic every year from November through March, and that's a steeper descent in many places.
Then you know exactly whereof I speak.

And you are braver than I - I won't go up or down South Park.
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Old 12-08-23, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Pavol Stromcek
Are cyclists still able to get through that lower section of Wildcat Canyon? I haven't been through there in long time. And is there any difference between weekdays and weekends, i.e., are there crews working on weekdays who would prevent cyclists from getting through? Just don't want to head all the way over there only to have to turn around.
Not to hijack this thread about Wildcat, but they have started working on another East Bay washout, Redwood. It's much more difficult to get around now, at least without dismounting. There are straw wattles and big sheets of plastic covering the slide and held down on the road with sand bags. It's not really possible to ride through without riding over the wattles, or the sandbags and slippery plastic sheets. Also difficult to see the true edge of the slide, so I would highly recommend dismounting. Crews are either working on it, or they have just prepared it for winter, because I'm not sure they will be doing much during storm season. Either way, conditions may be variable from day to day. It's also a bigger pain in the butt to get around the fencing on the Marciel side.
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Old 12-09-23, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
Then you know exactly whereof I speak.

And you are braver than I - I won't go up or down South Park.
I've gone down South Park probably hundreds of times, though I must confess I've never gone up it. The other issue with South Park in winter is that you get lots of hikers, dog walkers, and others ambling aimlessly in the road. I totally get why they do that, but it just means you have to be extra careful if you're descending and planning on whipping around some of those curves. For these reasons I actually prefer South Park when it's open to car traffic!

Originally Posted by cthenn
Not to hijack this thread about Wildcat, but they have started working on another East Bay washout, Redwood. It's much more difficult to get around now, at least without dismounting. There are straw wattles and big sheets of plastic covering the slide and held down on the road with sand bags. It's not really possible to ride through without riding over the wattles, or the sandbags and slippery plastic sheets. Also difficult to see the true edge of the slide, so I would highly recommend dismounting. Crews are either working on it, or they have just prepared it for winter, because I'm not sure they will be doing much during storm season. Either way, conditions may be variable from day to day. It's also a bigger pain in the butt to get around the fencing on the Marciel side.
Thanks for this report, I was wondering about the status of Redwood. I nearly always hang a left on Pinehurst when I go down Redwood, and I haven't been past that point since the closure.
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Old 12-10-23, 07:07 PM
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Just rode down and back up the Orinda side of Wildcat this afternoon. The leaves are piling up in places and are still damp in others. More and more walkers on it, and they are not always very smart about it (spreading out over the entire width of the road - with dogs), so be alert. Not a problem if you are going uphill, but you cannot be certain on descents that the road will be obstacle-free around that next bend. I suggest dialing it back just a hair for everyone's safety. This is not to say it is unduly dangerous, just that there is a type of potential hazard that was not there when cars were on Wildcat Road. My guess is that particular hazard will disappear once it is repaired and reopened to cars.

And I am not intending this to devolve into a "people are stupid" rant (spoiler alert - they are; twas ever thus) or a discussion of what should be. It's an observation of the reality on what is now a big MUP - for good and for ill - so y'all can be forewarned and act as you see fit.
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Old 12-14-23, 08:18 PM
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I actually rode down Wildcat Canyon for the first time in many months just this last Sunday, after I wrote my last post above, and I can confirm that there was a surprising number of people walking, as well as dogs, many off leash. The off-leash dogs are a problem since they will sometimes run towards and/or after cyclists, so you obviously have to really slow down to make sure you don't hit them if they're in front of you. I can also confirm that some of the people walking were fanned out and/or seemed kind of oblivious to the fact that they are sharing the road with cyclists. By sheer coincidence, I came upon a few people walking slowly downhill in my lane immediately after two of the blind curves. I also came upon a couple of cyclists who were going up the hill in my lane (!?) for no apparent reason (i.e., they weren't passing anyone/thing in their own lane). Things could have ended badly if I had been going down the hill at my usual speed, but I was really riding the brakes most of the way down.

So, right now Wildcat really is a lot like South Park in the winter months. The fact that I was riding on a Sunday morning probably meant that there were more hikers/walkers out, but still, I don't think any road cyclist should expect to be able to descend Wildcat at their usual speed at any time as long as the road is closed to cars.

I certainly wouldn't begrudge folks for walking on and enjoying the carless the road; I just think everyone, walkers included, will need to be a bit more attentive and cautious.

Last edited by Pavol Stromcek; 12-14-23 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Need to add more information
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Old 12-15-23, 01:25 PM
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Yeah, one of my pet peeves with MUPS is the utter lack of situational awareness some people demonstrate on them - spreading out to take the entire path, walking in the dead center so I don't know which way they'll jump when the figure out I'm there - you know the drill. ( generally announce my presence (as politely as I can muster) well in advance and let their moves dictate where I go. Some folks seem to be offended at the very idea that they might not be entitled to as much of the path as they want - my sister-in-law is that way, and gets pissed if I suggest that we (four of us with two or three dogs) should stay on the right hand side of the path.

Unfortunately, the longer Wildcat is closed, the more we can expect this active failure to be situationally aware will become more common. It shouldn't be that way - but it will be the reality. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not betting on it.
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Old 12-15-23, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
Yeah, one of my pet peeves with MUPS is the utter lack of situational awareness some people demonstrate on them - spreading out to take the entire path, walking in the dead center so I don't know which way they'll jump when the figure out I'm there - you know the drill. ( generally announce my presence (as politely as I can muster) well in advance and let their moves dictate where I go. Some folks seem to be offended at the very idea that they might not be entitled to as much of the path as they want - my sister-in-law is that way, and gets pissed if I suggest that we (four of us with two or three dogs) should stay on the right hand side of the path.

Unfortunately, the longer Wildcat is closed, the more we can expect this active failure to be situationally aware will become more common. It shouldn't be that way - but it will be the reality. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not betting on it.
Seriously. I had a minor situation last week on the other side of the RSR Bridge in Tiburon where I was on the MUP near the water next to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. A woman had her three kids, one of which was on a bike and even though there was a playground right next to them she had them playing on the MUP but couldn't watch all three. I came in slow staying right eyeballing her kids. Even though I was going slow and verbally stated I was there the kid on the bike without even looking just turned right into me. I was on top of it and steered off the MUP and got around the kid. I did shoot her a dirty look and she yelled at ME to watch out. I just had to shake my head.
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