Hancock Introduces Bill to Allow Toll Funds for Bay Bridge Bike Path

West_Span_bike_path_rendering.jpgRendering of West Span bike path: Caltrans

State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would allow the Bay Area Toll Authority to use toll revenue to help fund a bike path on the West Span of the Bay Bridge.

Advocates on both sides of the Bay worked with Hancock on the legislation, according to Marc Caswell, the program manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

"For years, advocates have been pushing to bridge the gap, and now with the East Span under construction, it is important to line up the funding for the West Span pathway. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) derives its authority to use toll money from the
state Legislature, and they currently aren’t allowed to use toll money
for anything other than earthquake retrofits," he said.

Last month, bike advocates turned out at a BATA meeting to urge MTC commissioners to use new toll money to help fund the path, but the agency’s staff said it had no authority to do so. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who supports the path, has also asked for an opinion from the state Legislative Counsel. Bates could not be reached for comment.

Hans Hermann, Hancock’s chief of staff, said he believes the bill
has an excellent chance of passing. It has not
yet been assigned a committee date.

Caswell pointed out that nearly one-third of all San Franciscans get shut out from using the Bay Bridge simply because they don’t own a car. 

"We know the MTC wants to complete the pathway so all road users have access, and the advocates are working with staff and Senator Hancock on Senate Bill 1061 to give MTC the legislative authority to designate these funds for this good project."

The MTC is currently conducting a Project Study Report (PSR) on the path, which has already been studied by Caltrans. It’s hoped the report, along with an EIR, will be completed late next year. 

The PSR, which Streetsblog noted last year, will help build on the massive Caltrans feasibility study nine years ago that analyzed all the options for constructing the path, which was originally projected to cost between $160-390 million in 2001.


Bike Path Tour of New Bay Bridge East Span

From EBBC: Join us Tuesday, Sept 3, 6pm at West Oakland BART for a ride out on to the world’s longest bike pier, the new bike path of the East Span-pizza & drinks at Hot Italian afterwards. RSVP on Facebook The new East Span of the Bay Bridge is getting ready to open over Labor Day Weekend, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission announced […]

Rally to Support Bike/Ped Access Across the Bay Bridge

From Streetsblog contributor Janel Sterbentz:  On January 27, the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) will vote on a bridge toll increase that has the potential to complete the multi-modal pathway from the East Bay to San Francisco. Now is the time for you to come to the meeting to support the West Span Bicycle Pedestrian […]

Bridge the Gap!

Photo: Matthew Roth As I climbed the steps out of the Lake Merritt BART station this morning I heard loud chanting. "Wow," I thought, "those bicyclists have really pulled out the troops!" But the demonstrators that greeted me across 8th Street in Oakland were pile drivers, iron workers, carpenters and other trades workers, chanting "Jobs […]