By Ilana DeBare
I joined about a zillion other Bay Area residents this past weekend in exploring the bike/walk trail along the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
My husband and I biked it — a smooth, slightly uphill path of four miles from the Emeryville Ikea store to the current endpoint just before Treasure Island. We passed middle-aged bike geeks on $5000 titanium racing bikes, and families with six-year-olds on wobbly two-wheelers. Then there were walkers, joggers, baby carriages, roller skaters. It was a complete cross-section of Bay Area humanity.
This was a weekend for people-watching more than bird-watching. But the new bridge was apparently designed to maintain roosting spots for cormorants. (Might it also be more forgiving for Peregrine Falcon fledglings making their first flights? Unclear.)
There are benches along the bike trail where one could sit and watch for occasional birds on the water or on the nearby old bridge.
It would be easy to turn a Bay Bridge bike ride into a more bird-filled outing. If you exit from the bike trail onto Maritime Street in West Oakland, it’s a quiet, flat, ten-minute ride to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in the heart of the Port of Oakland. (Take Maritime Street to 7th Street, turn right, and follow signs for the park.) We did that this weekend and were rewarded with numerous terns and shorebirds.
The old Bay Bridge span has only been out of use for about twelve days, but already it looks like a dark, rusting relic from another era. The new span is as white and shiny as an iPod.
I predict the bike/walk trail will be immensely popular — which hopefully will add impetus to the push to extend the trail all the way to San Francisco. Treasure Island (which will be reachable by bike in 2015, once the old bridge is dismantled) is a nice destination for a picnic, but come on…
The trail should go all the way to The City so it is accessible to San Francisco residents and useful for commuters! Let’s support bike advocates such as the East Bay Bicycle Coalition as they push for an extension of the trail.
Want to walk or bike the trail? You can find a map with access points and connections to the Bay Trail on the East Bay Bicycle Coalition web site.