Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bike lane for West span of Bay Bridge

Here's another Whether-You-Like-It-Or-Not item: a bike lane for the West span of the Bay Bridge is moving inexorably through the system. Looks pretty sharp, doesn't it? It should, since it's going to cost at least $178 million, which is the low-end estimate. The high-end estimate: $428 million. Guess which estimate will end up being closest to the real cost?

From the KALW website:

On Monday June 7, the California Senate passed Bill 1061, sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), which will allow toll revenues to fund the West Span Pathway, a proposed bicycle-pedestrian-maintenance route over the western span of the bridge.

According to Andrew Casteel, the Executive Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, the bill is a victory, but there are still more financial hurdles to overcome. The bill puts the West Span Pathway “on a list of projects that are eligible to use toll funding,” but that doesn’t guarantee the money will be allocated.

A 2001 Feasibility Study by the California Department of Transportation proposed two design alternatives for the construction of the West Span Pathway, but the price difference is significant. One alternative came in at $178 million while the other alternative was $428 million. As Casteel explains, “The Project Study Report that is underway should give new costs estimates once it is completed.” Like the eastern span, there would be two pathways on either side of the upper deck.

Casteel stresses that there is a “growing population of folks in the Bay Area willing to commute by bike.” He says the path would reduce car traffic congestion by providing an alternative to driving and by providing an access route for slow maintenance vehicles.

Now the bill needs to be reviewed and passed by the State Assembly. The Assembly Committee on Transportation will vote on the bill June 21.

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At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it.

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Dorroto said...

I like it too, but I have to admit it's way to frigging expensive. Even as a daily cyclist I find this crazy spending to be upsetting for something that really won't be used much. You could completely fix muni for that kind of money

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

This one is more important to me than the bike plan, frankly. I know it's going to be very expensive, but there is currently no way to cross the bay under your own power. This is a serious omission in any regional transit network.

Bicyclists who wish to commute to the city during commute hours are banned from BART and relegated to bus shuttles, which inevitably get stuck in the same rush-hour traffic as all the cars on the bridge. Not a real alternative. There is also the option of the Alameda-Oakland ferry, but that also costs money and has limited space, as well as having no connection to BART.

A bike/ped crossing on the Bay Bridge is a necessary democratization of the primary crossing between San Francisco and Oakland. I predict it will be quite popular.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger eugene koontz said...

I like it too; thanks for the link and information. Looking forward to riding it! Reminds me of the (heavily used) bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fucking waste of money.


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