(KRON) — Big changes are coming to the Bay Bridge this weekend 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.
The 4.5-mile long bike path on the new Bay Bridge opens all the way to Yerba Buena island this weekend.
Early Saturday, new westbound Interstate 80 on and off-ramps will open 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 on Friday.
The running, walking and cycling path officially opens at noon on Sunday, October 23.
The hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the Spring when the hours will expand
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 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.
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.
Those considering using the path are encouraged to check baybridgeinfo.org for information on closures and sftreasureisland.org/bay-bridge-trail for shuttle schedule information.
“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.
To access the path, vehicles may park at the Caltrans Bridge Yard Building at 210 Burma Road in Oakland. Currently, there is no parking near the landing on Yerba Buena Island, however the San Francisco County Transportation Authority will provide a free shuttle for cyclists and pedestrians every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from the landing on Yerba Buena Island to parking on Treasure Island. Cyclists and pedestrians should use caution, as there are no sidewalks or dedicated bike lanes from the landing to Treasure Island due to ongoing construction on the island. Caltrans will continue construction on the slope at the end of the path on Yerba Buena Island with a tentative completion by summer 2017. Additional construction will follow by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and Treasure Island Development Association for the next several years. Caltrans reminds motorists and cyclists to be mindful of each other and share the road. For Bay Bridge Bike Trail Shuttle information, visit http://sftreasureisland.org/bay-bridge-trail .