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Blue streak

Bay Bridge Trail

Pictures of an urban hiking and biking trail on the East Span of the San Francisco, Oakland Bay Bridge

The new East Span of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge opened 9/3/2013 and for the first time everyone can enjoy walking or biking from Oakland to beyond the new 525-foot tower, and eventually all the way to Yerba Buena Island.

I walked the Bay Bridge Trail on June 29, 2014, taking lots of photographs — from wide angle to telephoto — of the trail itself, the new east span signature tower and support cables, what was still standing of the original east span and some of the impressive views along the way.
Two-thirds of the Bay Bridge Trail are complete and open to the public. Demolition of the original East Span is underway which will eventually allow construction of the final third of the trail and connection with Yerba Buena Island.
News reports and online reviews indicated heavy foot and bike traffic on the trail when it opened, but there were no crowds on this beautiful summer Sunday morning.

Signature tower of the East Span of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge with Yerba Buena Island in the background.

A view of the signature tower and suspension cables on the new
East Span of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge looking west from the Bay Bridge Trail.

Bay Bridge Trail signs next to Ikea Store in Emeryville CA

The Bay Bridge Trail Head is near the Ikea Store on Shellmond Street in Emeryville.

Bay Bridge Trail map close up

A second entrance to the trail is at the corner of Maritime Street and Burma Road near the Port of Oakland.
As you can see the round trip from Shellmond Street to Yerba Buena Island (when complete) will be about 9 miles.
There are plans for a trail extension to improve access on the east end to connect with the West Grand Avenue corridor of Oakland.
I cut a mile-and-a-half off my hike by being dropped off at Maritime Street and picked up at Shellmond Street.

Family on bicycles pass flowers growing beside the Bay Bridge Trail

Landscaping enhances the Bay Bridge Trail between Shellmond Street and the Toll Plaza.

Lane markings indicating walk - ride sides of the trail

Pedestrian and bicycle lanes and directions are clearly marked along the trail.

Eastern end of the East Span of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge

As we pass the toll plaza this view of the East Span of the original and new San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge is presented.
Canary Island Date Palms have just been planted between east and west bound lanes of the new span.
Look closely and you can see a break where the older bridge has been begun to be dismantled.

View of the West Span of the Bay Bridge with San Francisco in the background

As the trail begins a gentle ascent a view of the West End of the bridge with San Francisco comes into view.
Once the older bridge is completely demolished this should be a good spot for a panoramic view of both spans.

A family bikes the Bay Bridge Trail, view toward Oakland Hills

Looking back toward the Oakland Hills we see that the new and old East Span sections parallel each other for some distance.
Old and new sections of the East Span of the Bay Bridge
A view of the support structure of the original Bay Bridge and the tower with suspension cables in the new span
at the point where the original span turns, separating it from the new span, which turns further along.

A tugboat passes between the old and new East Spans of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge

Looking west toward Yerba Buena Island a tugboat passes between the old and new East Spans of the Bay Bridge.

Tower and suspension cables, Eastern Span of Bay Bridge

A bit further along I took this telephoto shot of the top of the tower.

Lights to illuminate the Bay Bridge East Span tower

Another view to the east and Oakland from near the tower.
Tower illumination lights
The fins on these tower illuminating lights may be functional (for cooling) but they remind me of
the Art Deco influence reflected on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower.
San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Tower
The signature tower on the new San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge East Span is 525 feet tall.
Temporary end of the Bay Bridge Trail
End of the trail — for now.
Demolition of more the original East Span is required before the trail can be completed on this end.
A speedboat passes below a 600-foot gap in partially demolished East Span of the Bay Bridge
The three phase demolition project is well underway with a 600-foot gap in the middle of the cantilever span and progress on removing the temporary S-Curve bypass which, when finished, will allow the completion of the trail to Yerba Buena Island.
Benches at rest stop on Bay Bridge Trail with original East Span
Three benches at a rest stop near the tower on the Bay Bridge Trail provide an appropriate perch to watch the removal of the original East Span over the next 3–5 years.
Port of Oakland viewed through the original East Span from the Bay Bridge Trail
This view through the original span (telephoto shot) of huge container ship loading/unloading cranes at the Port of Oakland
won't be available much longer.
Sailboat and cargo ships on San Francisco Bay
I frequently wished I could stop on the original East Span of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, during my morning commute, to take pictures of this scene. Shot about noon from the Bay Bridge Trail through the gap in the original span, the view is south with a loading/unloading crane at Hunters Point in San Francisco and cargo ships at anchor as a single sailboat approaches the bridge.
I’m looking forward to returning to this trail when it is complete, and at different times of the day for more pictures. KQED posted detailed directions on getting to the Bay Bridge Trail. Watch a time lapse video of the construction of the new East Span.
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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2016 Lee W. Nelson