Turning Pavement Into Paradise

Bay Bridge park plan in the works

Monday, Mar 1, 2010  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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Turning Pavement Into Paradise

AP

In a photo provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Bridge is seen empty on Saturday, Sept. 5, over the San Francisco Bay, Calif. The bridge is closed through Labor Day weekend as part of an ongoing project to construct a new Eastern span.

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Planning is under way to transform the eastbound descent of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from parking lots into a 50-acre park.

Architects held their first public meeting last week seeking input on how to turn gray pavement into green space in the run-up to the opening of the new eastern span of the bridge. Officials say the opening is scheduled for 2013.

The 1.5-mile-long strip is currently home to scattered buildings and maintenance yards just across a small channel from the Port of Oakland.

A budget and design have yet to be decided but the future public space is, so far, being called Gateway Park.

Supporters believe the park's setting -- the bridge, the freeway, the bay and the port's 220-foot cranes -- brings visual drama that will be part of its unique appeal.

People at the meeting were asked at the end of the presentation for ideas. Some suggested including a dog run, soccer field and even a movie theater -- with a twist. Instead of the traditional model, this one would be a "sail-in" theater. There was also a proposal to put  Ferris wheels in the space, truly capitalizing on the location's views.

Planners aim to unveil the park's general concept this fall with formal design work to follow.

What do you think should be included at the future Bay Bridge park? Leave your ideas in the comment section below.

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