While it’s already possible to bike or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge – and thousands of visitors do so every day – crossing from the East Bay into San Francisco via bike is still a dream unfulfilled. The stunning new Bay Bridge span opened, complete with a pedestrian and bike path, this past September. But, it doesn’t quite get you all the way. The path only travels alongside the bridge for a bit under four miles. The plan is for it to ultimately connect to Treasure Island by 2015. And then maybe the city?
In September 2013, the pedestrian/bike path opened via a temporary access route, which cost over $9 million to build. Unfortunately, at the end of March that temporary path was demolished and the permanent entrance gates were built. Visitors can now enjoy a unique and interesting walk, run, or ride out-and-back over the water. The bridge, itself, is a marvel to look up at and the view is one-of-a-kind. And, you can be virtually guaranteed it won’t be as crowded as the Golden Gate – as long as you can figure out how to get there!
There are entrances or trailheads to the bridge path on Shellmound Street in Emeryville – across from the IKEA (but don’t park at the IKEA unless you want to risk a ticket) – and at the intersection of Burma Road and Maritime Street in Oakland. There is limited five-hour parking on Burma and free parking around the Emeryville shops near the Shellmound Street.
Of course, who wants to drive when you could walk or bike?
The best way to get to either of the bridge entrances, if you don’t feel like biking or walking from further down the Bay Trail(which circles the bay), is to take public transit. In fact, if you ride the AC Transit bus from the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, then you can get off at the Toll Plaza on the Bay Bridge and walk directly onto the pedestrian and bike path. Otherwise, take BART to either the MacArthur BART Station or the 19th Street BART Station in Oakland. From there, you can walk or bike to the bridge. Or, take the free Emery-Go-Round shuttle from MacArthur BART to the Emeryville shops near Shellmound Street.
To bike from MacArthur, ride down 40th Street, which turns into Shellmound Street. With IKEA on your right, the entrance will be on your left. Cross the street at the light and you’re on your way. Don’t get on the freeway!
To bike from 19th, ride up Broadway Ave. to West Grand Ave. Head west down West Grand Ave. and under the freeway to Maritime St. Turn left and the entrance is a half-mile down.
Don’t wait too late, though. The bridge path closes at 9 pm during the summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and at 8 p.m. during the rest of the year. And, remember: there are no bathrooms or water fountains (yet) so plan accordingly.