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Berkeley’s bay trail coming soon

By Kurtis Alexander, Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday June 12, 2002

Trail to link city to miles of  

path along San Francisco Bay  


A segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail to connect Berkeley with hundreds of miles of vehicle-free roadway along the San Francisco Bay will likely be built by the end of summer, Berkeley officials said. 

Construction crews are finishing the layout of a 12-foot-wide strip of asphalt along the bay shore from Ashby Avenue to Virginia Avenue. At these endpoints, the Bay Trail runs north and south of Berkeley and allows bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians to travel outside the city, but leaves most of the Berkeley waterfront inaccessible. 

“This is a missing link,” said Deborah Chernin, senior planner for Berkeley’s Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Division. “Berkeley residents will soon be able to go to Emeryville and Richmond.” 

The new trail will offer an alternative to crossing Interstate 80 via Berkeley’s new pedestrian-bicycle overpass, which dumps eastbound traffic onto University Avenue. The new segment will meet the overpass trail and allow bicyclists and pedestrians to continue along the shoreline. 

“It’s been a mess there for years and very dangerous too,” said Hank Resnik, co-chairperson of Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition. “This is a blessing for bicyclists.”The California Department of Transportation is paying for the trail’s construction, part of a condition it agreed to when it widened I-80 last decade. The city of Berkeley hired Bauman Landscape, Inc. to do the job. 

Berkeley is one of 27 cities that has or is soon to have the Bay Trail pass through its borders. At present, 215 miles of the planned 400-mile trail have been built. Each city along the San Francisco and San Pablo bays has committed to building the trail within its boundaries, but in some of the communities funding is still being sought. 

Bay Trail Project manager Janet McBride expects the trail to be finished in 10 years. McBride works for the trail’s sponsor, Association of Bay Area Governements. 

“The trail offers not just the chance for recreation but for bicycle commuting, wildlife viewing and outdoor education,” she said. 

While city officials are hoping to see Berkeley’s Bay Trail segment completed in the next few months, they’re saying October at the latest. 

After finishing the stretch, Berkeley officials plan to start working on another stretch of nonvehicular trail. This one will run from the I-80 overpass to Berkeley Marina. 

“We’re phasing in pieces that will create a great bike network,” said city planner Chernin. 


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