Bay Area Changes

Friday, 4 October 2013

It was my first trip back to the San Francisco Bay Area since 2009 and I’ve noted some interesting bicycles I encountered.

Ocean View Sunset 542
▲ Lots of other things hadn’t changed at all, the sunset view out over the Pacific Ocean from the Beach Chalet Restaurant was the same as ever.  San Francisco’s homeless problem was as evident as ever, but for 25 years now every time I return to the Bay Area I’m told there are way more homeless. Over that period of time If there really were there’d be nobody in San Francisco with a home anymore.

New Bay Bridge 542
▲ But I did cross over the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge exactly a month to the day after it opened. San Francisco has two notable bridges. There’s the famous Golden Gate Bridge and the not so famous San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The SF-O Bay Bridge has two sections. The western part is a suspension bridge, frequently confused with the Golden Gate suspension bridge. The suspension bridge finishes (if you’re driving from San Francisco) at Treasure Island and continued as a rather less dramatic two level cantilever bridge.

In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake a section of the upper bridge collapsed, killing one driver. It took a month to repair the bridge, but there were fears that the original design was not earthquake proof so the decision was made to replace it. It took nearly 25 years (most of that time planning and arguing about it) but the new suspension bridge has finally opened. The bridge website reports that it’s the ‘longest self-anchored suspension span bridge in the world, with a length of 2,047 feet.’

At the moment the far less elegant original bridge still stands beside its new replacement. It will be removed, but the demolition is estimated to take three years.