Bay Bridge Bike-Pedestrian Trail opens to public

Published On September 3, 2013 | By Rob Arias | News & Commentary, Planning & Development

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.

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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.

BayTrail_MAP_SEP_2012_REV

Downloadable Map [PDF]

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.

Notable Facts:

  • 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

Winter Hours:

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.

ebb-staging-trailhead-map

Parking/Staging:

  1. 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!
  2. Stage at the Target/Best Buy or Toys”R”Us lots on 40th and ride over the 40th/Shellmound bridge to the gate.
  3. Park at Bay Street ($3 for 3 hours).
  4. Park at the Amtrak lot across from the Public Market up Shellmound St.
  5. 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.

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Feature Image Credit: EBBC on Twitter

Additional Reading:

Cyclists, pedestrians jam new Bay Bridge path

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

4 Responses to Bay Bridge Bike-Pedestrian Trail opens to public

  1. Robin says:

    My kids and I walked the path yesterday amidst many other people walking and biking. While I loved the experience, I had to wonder why many people didn’t stay on their prospective side of the path. I know there are police on bikes to alert people to the rules, I was still surprised to see how somewhat dangerous it was for bikers simply because pedestrians were all over the place. I kept reminding my kids, especially when we were coming down, to look over their shoulder to see if someone on a bike was coming before they moved into the bike lane to avoid other walkers. It was clear to me though that this is not a standard practice for many others. The incline is just steep enough that bikes, if they had the space to do so, can pick up a lot of speed just by coasting. I would think this ride could be kind of stressful for bikers with all the people and dogs on leashes who are not walking on the walking side or paying attention.
    I don’t want to sound like a nag. I love that there is a path like this for so many to enjoy. I just want it to be fun and safe for everyone. I know pedestrians have the right of way, but I’d encourage my fellow walkers to not abuse this privilege and be aware of people on bikes. They deserve to have a great experience too.

    • Rob says:

      I noticed this too. The pedestrian path is quite narrow. I’d almost say that if you’re looking to get a good ride in, you may want to avoid weekends cause their are just too many clusters of people. I’m sure this will die down as the novelty wears off.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why are skaters not allowed on the bridge?

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