RICHMOND, Calf. - City, county and state leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning to celebrate the opening of a $20 million, six-mile path on the top deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, allowing bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the bridge without driving for the first time in its history.
The trail is now accessible from the intersections of Tewksbury Avenue and Castro Street in Point Richmond or East Francisco Boulevard and Main Street in San Rafael, and connects Marin and Contra Costa counties.
The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is far longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, the Carquinez bridge or the eastern span of the Bay Bridge -- all bridges that also have bike lanes.
Bicyles are parked ahead of the newly opened Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path. Nov. 16, 2019
The bike lane is opening as part of a four-year pilot program, one piece of a compromise between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, county transportation agencies and bicycle advocates that also involved converting the shoulder of the bridge’s lower deck into a third eastbound lane during the evening rush hour.
The MTC will use the pilot program to study how popular the bike lane is and what happens with traffic on the span — for example, if congestion worsens, if accidents become more or less frequent, and if the loss of the shoulder means it takes longer to clear crashes and broken-down cars, the Bay Area News Group reported.
Meanwhile, the commission also is studying whether the more than 60 year-old bridge can handle the weight of a third lane of traffic on the top deck, as well as what it would take to widen the I-580 corridor to Highway 101.
For more information, including directions and maps, click here.
A Bike the Bridge sign marks the newly opened Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path. Nov. 16, 2019
KTVU photographer Jacy Lockhart contributed to this report.