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Eyes on the Street: New Gilman/I-80 Overpass is Open

Welcome to West Berkeley's newest and sweetest connection to the shoreline and the Bay Trail

The Gilman Street overpass is now open to cyclists. Photos: Streetsblog/Rudick

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

The long-awaited Gilman Street bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-80/580 in West Berkeley opened on Saturday. "A lot of thanks goes to our partners with the Albany Strollers and Rollers and Walk Bike Berkeley who advocated to make the bridge path a reality, as well as the City of Berkeley and Caltrans staff and contractors who worked on the project," wrote Bike East Bay in a post about the project.

As noted by Bike East Bay, there's still ongoing work on the car roundabouts. From Streetsblog's view, it's great to see Caltrans and the AlamedaCTC finishing bike and walk infrastructure first. Although, as noted in our previous coverage, it would be nice just for once to also see these agencies build some bike infrastructure without it being part of a larger, freeway capacity project. And also as noted in previous coverage, it's a shame the $43.37 million project—and the protected bike lane that was part of it—just kind of disappears at Fourth Street.

A double-trailer truck in the bike lane as it transitions from protected to stripe-only at 4th

In addition, the raised pedestrian and bike crossing that connects the bike/ped bridge with Gilman is problematic (see image below). While the intent is excellent, it seems the gradient is too low to slow motorists coming off the freeway. As Streetsblog observed, cars and trucks simply flew over the crossing with no visible reduction in speed. Let's hope the project managers will add some rumble strips or some other audible/tactile reminder to motorists that they're approaching a conflict zone and they need to have their foot on the brake.

This ramp up to the crosswalk that connects the bridge to Gilman isn't sufficient to slow drivers and needs some enhancements.

All of that said, it's exhilarating to bike across another bridge between Berkeley and the Bay Trail and avoid the squirrelly undercrossing. The Bay Area needs to keep building these kinds of structures until freeways no longer act as such a profound barrier to people on foot, bike, or scooters.

More pics below:

Cyclists on their way to the bridge
A view of the overall project
Simple stencils used to divide bike and pedestrian space. It's odd that shared-use paths don't do this more often
The view of San Francisco from the bridge is neato
Construction continues on the auto roundabouts
One of the roundabouts nears completion
At first I mistook this avian dinosaur for a traffic engineer visiting the site


For more, check out our past coverage or coverage in Berkeleyside

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