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Eyes on the Bridge: the Gilman Bike/Ped Overpass

It's going to be great. But do bike and ped projects always have to include more capacity for cars?

3:35 PM PDT on July 14, 2023

A look from the west side of 80’s frontage road. The span itself is done as are the ramps, although it’s not yet open for use. Photos: Streetsblog/Rudick

The ribbon cutting isn't until October, but Streetsblog heard that the Gilman Street overpass, a Caltrans-Alameda County project to build another pedestrian and bicycle overcrossing of route I-80 is substantially finished. That was confirmed during a self-guided, unofficial tour Friday.

The main span, as seen in the pics, is finished. So are the ramps, although it's all still closed to cyclists and pedestrians. Construction crews are now working on the approaches.

One of the completed ramps to the main span.

This video shows how cyclists will eventually use it to cross over I-80:

The on-Gilman two-way protected bikeway approaching the bridge is also taking shape and actually offers more robust protection than the video shows, as seen below:

A look at the concrete protection.
A look (with the bridge behind this position) of where the Gilman 2-way protected bike lane crosses the Union Pacific tracks

Streetsblog is, of course, happy to get another off-street route across the gulf created by I-80. And yet, there's still something about this that the engineers at Caltrans and the Alameda County Transportation Commission don't get. Because in addition to this great bike/ped infrastructure, the state and county will add capacity to the nearby motor vehicle ramps in the next phase of the project. In fact, the project was driven by "levels of service" (LOS) considerations (see document), because of course it was "in the pipeline," before LOS reform--the excuse these agencies will use as long as they can get away with it to keep building for more cars.

The current route for cyclists and pedestrians to get under 80 (the sidewalk on the other side is closed)

There's another video on the site for the $43.37 million project that shows the direct route for pedestrians and cyclists under the freeway, which will remain (it's basically the route in the picture above). Judging from the video, that will still be an unpleasant way to go, so the overpass is welcome. Streetsblog just wishes Caltrans and the Alameda CTC would focus on improving things for cyclists and pedestrians without it always being attached to some giant ramp complex widening. After a half century of essentially building everything for cars, maybe throw some serious love at other modes for a change without it almost always being part of a package for cars.

More pictures below:

The intersection with 4th. Not protected, and not Dutch, best practices, but we'll save that for another post.

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