i’ve lived in the bay area since 2000 (except two years abroad) and i remember when they started construction on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. it took over a decade of seeing truck after truck carrying Elgiloy 718 Inconel metal beams and wire, but they finally finished and opened to traffic a couple months ago. the new span includes bike and pedestrian lanes as well! as i rarely ever go to San Francisco proper (just the airport south of the city, via another bridge), i didn’t go on the new bridge until this past Friday when i met some friends in the city for dinner. driving on it reminded me that i could — and should — walk it, if only to see the abandoned old span.
local public television and radio station KQED posted a great set of directions. there are several access points to the trail; i chose the one off of Burma Road since it was the closest to the bridge itself (less walking!). the arrow below shows where i parked (click the map to go to KQED’s informative google map). just follow the path clockwise until it meets up with the main trail — make a U-turn and continue towards the bridge to the west.
oh, psst — if you’re coming from 880 South, you’ll pass by the site of my first true urban exploration from over eight years ago, the abandoned train platform you see from the freeway.
- there are portapotties along the trail about where the toll plaza is. that’s your last chance to use the facilities; i recommend you do!
- from the toll plaza, it’s 2.4 miles (says a sign) to the end of the trail, which is right before it hits Yerba Buena Island (they are estimating summer of 2015 for island access). there is a sign that says estimated round-trip walking time is 2 hours. that’s about right. i did it in 1 hour 50 minutes with mostly brisk walking and lots of stopping to take pictures. i’d say it was a total of 5.5 miles round trip from my car. (ugh, no wonder my legs are so tired!)
- it was warmer and less windy than i expected (not windy at all). bring water.
- there were more pedestrians than bicyclists when i went. it’s shared lanes until you get to the bridge itself, where it divides into a pedestrian lane on the outside and two bicycle lanes on the inside.
- dogs on leashes are allowed.
pictures! (more on flickr)
this is less instawalk and more jumble-of-different-types-of-photos to give you an idea of what to expect.
can you tell i was just as enamored (if not more so) with the abandoned old bridge than the new one? however, the driving experience on the new one is so much better, i must say — it’s so much more open and welcoming!