Big changes have arrived to the Bay Bridge Saturday with the opening of new westbound on- and off-ramps at Treasure Island and the final segment of a bicycle and pedestrian path linking Emeryville to Yerba Buena Island.
Early Saturday, new westbound Interstate 80 on- and off-ramps opened at Treasure Island, replacing the tight turns and hair-raising merges of the current ramps with safer, more efficient ways to get on and off the bridge, state and local transportation officials said Friday.
The $98 million project was completed with a mix of federal, state and local money and managed by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.
The final segment of the 4.5-mile-long bicycle and pedestrian path on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge connecting the East Bay to Yerba Buena Island opened to the public for the first time on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
The new segment of the 15.5-foot-wide path, which includes one bike lane in each direction and an outside lane for pedestrians, will only be open on weekends and holidays for now, with occasional closures for demolition work on the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
The existing bicycle and pedestrian path will continue to be open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. except when closures are needed to allow for demolition work.
Bicyclists and pedestrians can park and access the path from the Caltrans Bridge Yard Building at 210 Burma Road in Oakland.
"Opening this bicycle pedestrian path to Yerba Buena Island marks an important milestone for making this a true, multi-modal transbay corridor," Caltrans District Director Bijan Sartipi said. "This important milestone helps bring greater focus to the next phase of reaching San Francisco by cyclists and pedestrians."
The path, while technically completed, remains a work in progress.
There is no parking on the Yerba Buena Island end and no sidewalks or dedicated bike lanes from the landing to Treasure Island. Construction will also continue in the area for the next several years.
However, the SFCTA will run a free shuttle from the landing at Yerba Buena Island to parking on Treasure Island during the day.
"There are still so many more improvements coming to Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands, and we're working with planners to see truly inspiring, enjoyable infrastructure built there, much of which will have spectacular views," said Brian Wiedenmeier, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition.
"That said, seeing the Bay Bridge People Path built halfway across the San Francisco Bay and touching down in SF city limits is really exciting," Wiedenmeier said.
The bike path is the result of years of lobbying by advocates in San Francisco and in the East Bay, and is named after East Bay bicycle advocate Alex Zuckerman, according to bicycle advocates.
"We've been working to make this path a reality for over two decades," said Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay. "Since the path partially opened three years ago, it has already become a unique way to experience the Bay. We are thrilled to finally be able to walk and bike to Yerba Buena Island."
The transportation improvements are ultimately expected to support plans to redevelop Treasure Island, a manmade island previously owned by the U.S. Navy, and Yerba Buena Island with up to 8,000 new housing units, 200,000 square feet of retail space, 300,000 square feet of office and commercial space and up to 500 hotel rooms.
Developers began infrastructure work on Yerba Buena Island earlier this year and are starting construction on Treasure Island this fall.