Support the Bay Bridge Quick-Build Shared-Use Path
Right now, there is not a safe way to travel between San Francisco and the East Bay by bike or foot. The region’s congestion, equity, and climate crises demand a swift and serious response to this urgent need.
It is time for a quick-build shared-use path on the Bay Bridge that will provide people with a traffic-free, affordable, and environmentally friendly way to cross the bay. The path can be built for around five days' worth of Bay Bridge toll revenues and will take only two to three months to complete with available funding, according to an independent engineering analysis.
By providing a protected facility for bicycling, running, walking, scootering and wheeling, the Bay Bridge Quick-Build Shared-Use Path will help respond to the congestion crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce pollution caused by emissions from private vehicles, and provide equitable access to the bridge to the Bay Area’s most marginalized residents. #BayBridge4All
Sign the Petition
Sign the petition to the region’s transportation leaders and let them know that NOW is the time to make the vision of a shared-use path on the Bay Bridge a reality.
Necesitamos que se instale un sendero de uso compartido protegido en el puente Bay Bridge de San Francisco-Oakland inmediatamente para proporcionar una manera segura, económica y ecológica para que las personas puedan cruzar la Bahía durante y después de la pandemia del COVID-19. ¡Firme la petición hoy !
Support a Feasibility Study for a Bay Bridge Shared-Use Pathway
Bay Bridge Quick-build Path Feasibility Study Organization Sign-on:
The next step to making this quick-build, shared-use path a reality is the funding and development of a feasibility study. We need your company’s, organization’s or agency’s support to move this forward and let transportation officials know that this project is a priority!
Feasibility Study Supporters
Submit your testimony today to let decisionmakers know how much the Bay Bridge Quick-build Project means to you.SUBMIT TESTIMONIAL (SPANISH)
“There is nothing like being able to maximize my time. Being able to combine my commute, personal time, and exercise into one thing would be extremely helpful by saving me money, being healthier, and aligning with my personal beliefs about helping the environment."
—Brian Parsons, Oakland, CA
“We need a viable option vs private car use. People are freaked out about public transportation with the pandemic so cycling is now all the more important. I would have thought that the distance, Oakland - San Francisco, would be too much for most cyclists but I've been surprised by the range of cyclists I've seen on the bridge. The increasing popularity of electric-assist e-bikes will make that trip even easier. It's abundantly clear that more private car use just leads to traffic jams and slower travel times. Opening the Bay Bridge, and soon(!), will help alleviate that congestion."
—Rober Muzzy, Berkeley, CA
San Francisco Chronicle
By Ben Kaufman and Carter Lavin—May 12, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
By Andrew Chamings—Feb. 12, 2021
By Tim Ryan—Feb. 9, 2021
By Roger Rudick—Feb. 1, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Bay Bridge shared-use path?
The Bay Bridge shared-use path will be a multi-use path on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Bay Bridge) to provide a post-shelter-in-place transportation alternative for those who might otherwise drive, carpool, or take public transit between San Francisco and the East Bay.
What area does the shared-use path cover?
The path will extend from the Bay Bridge Trail / Alex Zuckermann Path and Caltrans Toll Plaza in the East Bay to Harrison Street in downtown San Francisco by converting left westbound travel lane (the southernmost lane on the top deck of the west span) to a protected facility for bicycling, scootering, wheeling, walking and all other forms of micromobility and active transportation. The path will be similar in both design and length to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Path, but will connect hundreds of thousands of more people to local jobs.
How will this project impact public transit operations on the Bay Bridge?
A shared-use path on the Bay Bridge is not likely to have a significant impact on public transit operations along the Bay Bridge. Regional transportation planners are currently advancing near-term improvements for bus operations between the East Bay and San Francisco, collectively known as “Bay Bridge Forward.” These improvements will include bus/high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on the I-80, I-580, and West Grand Avenue approaches to the Bay Bridge and new technologies to improve traffic throughput on the bridge, addressing the most significant barriers to transbay bus operations: the traffic bottleneck before the bridge’s toll plaza and the flow of traffic after the plaza.
Will this project impact traffic on the Bay Bridge?
There will always be vehicle congestion on the Bay Bridge, and building additional vehicle lanes will cost billions of taxpayer dollars and only lead to more congestion. The only way out of this endless cycle of congestion is to provide more and better transportation options to transbay travelers, including options for people biking, walking, wheeling, and scootering, in addition to increasing ferry service, more frequent BART trips, and transit-priority lanes. The bay bridge has 10 travel lanes - there is plenty of space to move far more people than we do now, but there is simply not enough space to move more cars.
How much will this project cost?
According to an independent engineering analysis conducted in the early days of the pandemic, constructing a protected shared-use path on the Bay Bridge would cost approximately $10 million, or roughly five days' worth of Bay Bridge toll revenues.
How will this project be funded?
There are a variety of possible funding sources for this project, including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) Regional Measures 2 and 3 (RM2 & RM3), the California Transportation Commission’s Active Transportation Program (ATP), and Caltrans’ State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP). The first step in this process, however, is to fund a feasibility study, projected to cost ~$150,000, to assess the overall strengths, weaknesses, and cost-benefits of the proposed project.
What is a feasibility study and why is it necessary for this project?
A feasibility study assesses the overall strengths, weaknesses, and cost-benefits of a proposed project. Caltrans and MTC have cited such a study as a necessary prerequisite to moving forward on a quick-build shared-use path project, so as to determine the proposed project’s impacts on vehicle traffic, bus operations, bridge maintenance and security, and other important considerations. The study will also provide project planners with an opportunity to assess how this project will provide equitable access to communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s health and economic impacts, such as People of Color, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, and those living in outer East Bay communities.
How many people will use this facility?
The existing Bay Bridge Bicycle Pedestrian Path along the east span of the bridge already has the most bicycle and pedestrian trips of any Caltrans-operated bridge in the Bay Area - a facility that only gets users halfway to San Francisco before terminating at Yerba Buena Island. In an MTC study conducted in 2018, project analysts projected that over 1,200 commuters would use a bicycle path between San Francisco and Oakland in the peak-hour if the facility existed today, and over 2,000 people would use the facility in the peak-hour in the coming years, accounting for the equivalent of 10% of all transbay vehicle trips (which is roughly equal to the amount of space the converted travel lane would occupy).
How long will it take to complete this project?
According to an independent engineering analysis conducted in the early days of the pandemic, the project would take approximately 2-3 months to install once designs have been finalized, permits have been pulled, and funding has been secured.
How will this project help to meet state and local greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, and mode split goals?
Bicycle and pedestrian trips are by far the lowest carbon-intensive modes of travel. If our regional and state transportation agencies are serious about their commitment to increase bicycle and pedestrian commutes, reduce driving, and lower GHG emissions, it is essential to provide commuters with an active transportation option to get across the bay.
How will this project ensure equitable access for all demographic and user groups?
Equity is at the core of this project. Crossing the bay has always imposed an unfair burden on marginalized people, with high bridge tolls and even higher transit fares. And the pandemic has made it even worse, with severe transit cuts increasing transit wait-times and stranding people on one side of the bay if they have to travel late at night. A shared-use path will provide every Bay Area resident with a consistent, reliable, and cost-free option to cross the bay, any time, any day. This project has the potential to benefit low-income People of Color in particular, who are less than half as likely to drive or own a car than their wealthier, whiter neighbors.
Will the shared-use path be safe from vehicle traffic?
Yes. On the proposed path along the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, there is enough space for up to a 20’ wide path separated from vehicle traffic via K-rail, with a 2-foot buffer separating the K-rail and the path. Engineering best practices call for at least a 2-foot buffer separating K-rail from a path if the path is next to high-speed traffic and the K-rail is not slated to be bolted to the ground. On the proposed path along the western span of the Bay Bridge, there is enough space for a 10-foot wide path with no buffer separating the K-rail from the path. Along this segment of the path, the K-rail will need to be bolted to the road to be in accordance with engineering best practices.
How long will it take me to get from Downtown Oakland to Downtown San Francisco?
According to MTC’s 2018 study, it will take a user approximately 25 minutes by e-bike, 44 minutes by regular bike, and 145 minute by foot to travel between Oakland and Downtown San Francisco. Compare this to a 20-30 minute drive to travel the same distance in the peak-hour, which does not include time spent searching for a $30-$50/day parking spot in downtown San Francisco.
Why is this project necessary right now?
Before the pandemic, 39,000 people an hour traveled between the East Bay and San Francisco during the morning commute. Almost 75% of those commuters took public transit into the city. Today, transbay transit ridership has dropped to around 12% of pre-pandemic levels and car use has recalibrated to around 85% of pre-pandemic levels. Only a fraction of commuters have returned, and the majority are showing preference for cars--painting a foreboding picture of post-pandemic commutes riddled with gridlock and even higher emissions as more and more people return to their cars. The agencies that own and operate the Bay Bridge--the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)--have an opportunity to get ahead of this challenge and build an environmentally friendly, affordable, and traffic-free transportation option for anyone and everyone traveling between San Francisco and the East Bay.
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Why Your Support Matters to the Regional Trail Network
As a Member or Friend of BATC, you can help advocate for and advance the completion of a 2,500-mile regional trail network that, when developed, will connect people and places across the nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through this bold vision, we will enhance the quality of life in the region by creating more opportunities for recreation and active transportation—which will improve health and wellness across all communities, including those historically underserved and marginalized, reduce pollution and greenhouse gases and promote environmental sustainability.
If you have questions about the Bay Area Trails Collaborative, or are interested in getting involved in the coalition’s work, please reach out to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Western Regional Office staff: