By Roger Rudick
It’s likely to cost around $300 million to build a bike path across the western span of the Bay Bridge, finally giving cyclists and pedestrians (and scooterists) a way to get between San Francisco and Oakland.
The price tag came up at last night’s Bay Area Toll Authority-sponsored public meeting to get feedback on the proposed “San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Span Bicycle, Pedestrian and Maintenance Path” project. As previously reported, the idea is to add a bike lane off the side of the existing deck (more details are available on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s web page on the project).
The projected cost seemed to get CBS’s famously motor-centric Phil Matier upset. “That comes to about $100 million per mile…a boatload of money,” he said in his report. He likens the high costs to the overruns of high-speed rail and the Transbay Terminal. He also implies the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has an outsized influence on the decision to build such an expensive path.
But there’s a reason the path is projected to cost so much.
The western span of the bridge is 58 feet wide. There are five lanes on the bridge’s upper deck and another five on the lower–all of them accessible to cars, with cyclists and pedestrians banned.
When the bridge opened in 1936, there were six car-only lanes on the upper deck. The lower deck had three lanes for cars, trucks, and buses (one lane was reversible). There were also two train tracks.