Bay Bridge Bike-Pedestrian Trail opens to public
Emeryville and the rest of the East Bay were denied the extravagant Labor Day celebration that we were promised because of the fractured bolt fiasco (instead, we got to watch political dignitaries and government agencies gush over their achievements on TV last night). Today, The Alexander Zuckermann bike path, named after the founding Chair of The East Bay Bike Coalition, was officially opened to bike & foot traffic. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was joined by Zuckermann’s two sons Ron and David and their families as well as Emeryville Mayor Kurt Brinkman & Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates for the official chain-cutting ceremony.
Zuckermann, according to the EBBC wikipedia page, was among the first to persuade BART to allow bicycles aboard its trains. Zuckerman also lobbied successfully for bike access on the Richmond-San Rafael, Benicia and Carquinez bridges, among other accomplishments. The EBBC was instrumental in lobbying to have the path inserted into the bridge design and constructing the new connecting paths that link it to the existing Bay Trail. Zuckermann passed away in 2007 after complications from a brain injury sustained from a crash while riding the old Bay Bridge during a scheduled closure.
Getting to the bridge couldn’t be any easier for Emeryville residents as the new East Fork Bay Trail connects directly to the IKEA parking lot and can be accessed via either side of Shellmound Street at the 40th/Shellmound bridge. The two-mile segment snakes underneath the maze, past the wastewater treatment plant (hold your breath!) and to the Bay Bridge Trailhead. According to the official site, the trail will be patrolled by Bicycle-mounted officers from the CHP. The proposed Christie Ave/Bay Trail Gap has recently procured funds to help reinforce bike-safety and continuity for those traveling south through this vehicle bottle-necked area.
For now, “The Bridge to nowhere” or “The World’s longest Bike Pier” as the EBBC has coined it, will only function as recreation as the path will abruptly end just past the bridge tower. The main foundation of the original bridge, as well as the S-curve detour, sits right in the way of where it would connect with the former Naval Station. Before the path can connect to Yerba Buena and Treasure Island, demolition crews have to remove the top of the foundation, and contractors have to build new on- and off-ramps to the islands. The construction on the final segment of the trail to Treasure Island is expected to take an additional 1-2 years (that’s a CalTrans estimate so please prorate this accordingly). This, in addition to the promised Gateway Park, should make this a choice destination for family outings and sightseeing.
- 15-mph advisory speed limit
- The mild 2-percent grade meets ADA standards
- Roundtrip distance from IKEA to the end and back is about 8 miles.
- The pathway along the bridge will be open from sunrise to sunset until contractors complete the bike path. Upon completion, the entire Bay Bridge Trail will be open 24/7
- Skateboards and skates are not permitted
- Cyclists must yield to pedestrians
- Leashed Dogs are welcome but keep in mind that the pedestrian trail is narrow and the bike-traffic is fairly steady
The path will be open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until March 1st, at which point new hours will be determined. Pedestrians should begin at the bridge trail gates by 4pm to complete the 1 – 1.5 hour round trip hike.
- For pedestrian access, the IKEA parking lot is the most convenient access point but my assumption is that they will start cracking down if it gets abused (Not to mention the IKEA parking lot is a total cluster on weekends). Be discreet!
- Stage at the Target/Best Buy or Toys”R”Us lots on 40th and ride over the 40th/Shellmound bridge to the gate.
- Park at Bay Street ($3 for 3 hours).
- Park at the Amtrak lot across from the Public Market up Shellmound St.
- There is limited free street parking at the Oakland gate at Burma & Maritime.
KQED published a very thorough list of directions for getting to the bridge trailhead from the from the West Oakland & MacArthur BART stations.
Feature Image Credit: EBBC on Twitter