RICHMOND, Calif. - A decades-old debate – vehicle traffic vs. foot traffic – coming to a head at the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.
It's been four years after a traffic lane was eliminated so a bike and pedestrian path could be added.
And the data shows that the pedestrian and bike lane is severely underutilized. Since it opened back in 2019, a total of 281,000 have used it.
A total of 122 bikes cross each weekday, and while that number shoots up on the weekend, the number of bicyclists remain below 400.
And even fewer walkers use it. Overall, 35,000 pedestrians have used it., meaning on average, 16 people a day cross the bridge on foot. On weekends, it's less than 40.
All the while, many drivers sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Now, officials and some drivers want to make some changes, potentially ,moving the concrete barrier and turning the pedestrian lane which used to just be a shoulder into an HOV lane
But cyclists say adding new lanes won't help alleviate traffic issues.
"We've been adding lanes all over our country for the last 100 years to help car congestion and it doesn't work," Shawn Camden of Marin County said Wednesday at a Bay Area Toll Authority meeting. "If it did, LA would be a transportation paradise and who wants to make Marin County more like LA? We need more bike paths."
Commuters, on the other hand, argue that having only two traffic lanes creates an even worse and dangerous traffic nightmare when emergency vehicles need to use the bridge and traffic is forced to bottleneck to just a single lane.
Despite this. any changes could take a lot of work.
The last project had to go through a long planning and environmental process.
Assemblyman Damon Connelly said keeping the pedestrian lane isn't fair to commuters or Richmond residents as standstill traffic creates three times the pollution compared to free flowing traffic.
Connelly said that exposes nearly every richmond resident near the back up to toxic air particles. But again any major time.. Could take some time to put into effect. Back to you.