The San Francisco Bay Trail now stretches through Berkeley, completing the north-south connection between Albany and Emeryville.
The newest addition to the Bay Trail is part of a plan to link the entire Bay Area waterfront, connecting 47 cities in nine counties around the Bay.
In the East Bay, the trail is part of the Eastshore State Park. The new section forms part of an 8.5-mile walkway that passes through Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond.
On Monday afternoon, various bikers, joggers and skaters made their way along the new trail hugging the Berkeley coastline. John Wotkyns was one of them. He skated along the trail enjoying the mix of the warm afternoon and the bay breeze. He said he has already become a fan of the local portion of the Bay Trail.
“I love it,” he said, pausing a moment during his afternoon jaunt. “It's a great addition. I'm very happy with it."
Citizens for the Eastshore State Park, the City of Berkeley, and Bay Trail officials will hold a ceremony marking the opening of the new section of the trail on Saturday. The opening, which will be held at 11 a.m. at the southwest corner of University Avenue and West Frontage Road, will feature guided tours of the trail for all interested community members.
The new section of the trail, which stretches from University Avenue to Ashby Avenue along the Bay, was completed late last month after two years of work by the City of Berkeley, the East Bay Regional Park District, the Eastshore State Park, and the California State Coastal Conservancy, as well as several advocacy organizations. The $4 million project was funded by the city with help from a federally aided California Department of Transportation grant.
“Berkeley residents and visitors alike will benefit from the improved access to our waterfront and new recreational opportunities,” said City Manager Weldon Rucker.
Though Saturday’s ceremony will mark the official opening of the trail, Berkeley residents have been using the new scenic path since its completion. The trail is designed primarily for pedestrians and bicycles, and sections of the path completed earlier — including those in Albany and Richmond — have been favorite sports for roller bladers, joggers and dog-walkers.
In addition to being a recreational area, city and park officials hope the new section of the Bay Trail will aid those traveling from place to place by bike or on foot. In a press release, Lisa Caronna, the city’s director of parks, recreation and waterfront, said that the path would enhance safe access to the bay and offer alternatives to traveling by car.
The Berkeley section of the trail connects to another recent waterfront project as well: the Bicycle-Pedestrian bridge that stretches over Interstate 80. A key feature of the new section of Bay Trail is its connection to that bridge, which will allow easy access from the Berkeley Aquatic Park to the waterfront.