Bay Bridge Could Become a Biker's Paradise

Monday, Jun 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Bay Bridge Could Become a Biker's Paradise

Bay Bridge construction via Fred Sharples

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A state Assembly committee was scheduled to conduct a hearing Monday afternoon  on a proposal to allow authorities to spend future Bay Bridge toll funds to  construct a bike and pedestrian pathway for the western span of bridge, from  Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco.

The proposed pathway would connect to the pathway currently under  construction on the new eastern span.
     
An alliance of bicycle advocacy groups and environmental  organizations successfully lobbied for the inclusion of the bike and  pedestrian pathway on the new eastern span.
     
When the same groups pushed for a shore-to-shore pathway, the  Metropolitan Transportation Commission indicated that the Bay Area Toll  Authority did not have the ability to use bridge toll funds for such a  pathway.

The bill on the floor, introduced by state Sen. Loni  Hancock, D-Berkeley, would give them that authority. It passed the Senate on  June 1 on a 23-11 vote.
     
Caltrans commissioned a study in 2001 to analyze engineering  issues associated with constructing a bike and pedestrian pathway on the  western span and estimated that the cost would be between $168 and $350  million.

However, the Bay Area Toll Authority has said that toll revenues  are limited because they are committed to seismic safety.

A more up-to-date feasibility study will be available in April  2011, according to Hancock's office.

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