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The bike path on the Oakland Bay Bridge doesn't quite reach Yerba Buena Island yet. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

“Caltrans is prioritizing safety,” says Friday's press release announcing that the bike path on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be closed, beginning today, for the entire month of March.

Right when the days are getting longer and that after-work bike ride to the end of the bridge is truly tempting, the entire path will be closed “to minimize potential risks to the public.”

The remains of the old bay bridge, which run parallel to the new bridge and the bike path, are slowly being removed. The cantilever portion was peeled back from its center over the course of months last year, and in February the first truss section was lowered to a barge and floated away.

Crews will now begin working on a second truss section, using torches to cut it away from its supports and sometimes creating smoke and noise.

For the last few months, the bike path was partially closed from time to time as crews did similar work on the first truss section. The bridge itself was never closed and car traffic flowed past--only the bike path along its southern rim was blocked partway to the end. But even then you could ride or walk at least partway across, to catch the stunning views and maybe check out the demolition work on the old bridge. And usually on the weekends you could count on riding all the way to where the path currently ends, just before Yerba Buena Island.

The bike path runs parallel to the old bay bridge, which is being removed section by section over time. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog
The bike path runs parallel to the old bay bridge, which is being removed section by section over time. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

But now Caltrans has decided to shut down the entire path for safety. At least, that's what the press release says, but another reason seems to be convenience, at least for Caltrans. Leah Robinson-Leach, spokesperson for the Bay Bridge, said that shutting down the bridge “sometimes on a moment's notice” was complicated, and the “team” decided it was just simpler to close the entire thing for a month “for the safety of the public.”

It's going to be a bummer for all the people who've been getting out there to enjoy the views.

“It's disappointing that the path is going to be closed for the whole month,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay. “It's a great recreational facility in a place where there aren't a lot of them,” she added.

That seems reason enough to make some extra effort to keep the path open at least partially, especially on weekends. Especially because this closure is just for the removal of one section; after this, Caltrans will still need to remove three more 504-foot segments and fourteen 288-foot segments. These closures could go on for a long time.

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