A Bay Bridge West Span Path
What are the Costs? What are the Benefits?
The West Span pathway project does require an initial investment of between $150 and $225 million. The money for this project has not been identified, though there are many potential sources, including federal earmarks, or a possible regional gas tax or bridge toll increase. With the cost overrun for the East Span approaching $3.7 billion, the $200 or so million needed for the West Span project seems like a drop in the bucket.
A West Span Pathway would not only be a boon to cyclists, it would be of tremendous benefit to pedestrians, disabled populations, the tourist industry, Caltrans maintenance workers, and motorists, who would experience decreased congestion. According to consultant estimates, the project would save Caltrans approximately $263,000 every year in maintenance costs. And this doesn't include cost savings from reduced liability for injured workers, increased tourism-related tax revenue, reduced injury accidents and health care costs, or gained hours of productivity from reduced congestion. When all is said and done, an investment now in a transbay pathway could save the region significant funding over the life of the Bay Bridge.
One significant benefit would be a more active population. Obesity levels in the United States have been growing to epidemic proportions, resulting largely from inactive, automobile-based lifestyles. This trend is a serious health and economic concern. How can we as a society effectively encourage people to pursue healthier lifestyles if it continues to be illegal to walk or ride your bike along major transportation routes, such as the Bay Bridge corridor?
A pathway on the Bay Bridge would also be of huge benefit to the Bay Trail System, injecting new life into the Embarcadero Promenade and Treasure Island by creating a brand new tourist attraction with incredible views connecting the two.
For a complete list of benefits, download our Bay Bridge flyer here (Adobe PDF, 3.63MB)