Bridge to Nowhere

The Other Bridge

The Other (White) Bridge

Similar to the international celebrity status of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge gets all the press around here. And while the famous red bridge is certainly good looking (at least for the six days a year it’s not completely shrouded in fog), there’s another span that deserves some recognition of its own: The Bay Bridge.

Equally tall and eight times longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, The Bay Bridge connects the “city” of San Francisco to the hamlets of Oakland and Berkeley (imagine the illegitimate love-child of Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey).

I’m fascinated by the Bay Bridge for a few reasons:

1) It makes a pit-stop in a half-natural / half-man-made island called either Yerba Buena and/or Treasure Island. People may or may not live on this island, but there’s a marina, a few barracks of some sort and often a music and arts festival destination. Its  Governors, Randall’s and Roosevelt Islands all rolled into one, with a cyborg T-101-esque archipelago tossed-in for good measure. Loves it.

Half Island / Half Machine

Half Island / Half Machine

2) The upper deck COLLAPSED in the 1989 earthquake. Coming from the east coast, earthquakes terrify me. The roadway was subsequently fixed and re-opened a few years later, but engineers realized that it really needed a massive seismic upgrade. However, the “city” could only afford half the work, so they’re now in the process of rebuilding only the eastern span. The western span should be fine though, right? Right???

My terror about this fact is compounded because:

3) It’s hella long! Including the spans, the bridge is 8.5 miles long! Once you get on it you drive, and drive, and drive…just waiting for the shaking and swaying to start at anytime! Not cool.

4) It’s free (no toll) if you cross in a car pool of three or more people…adorable!

5) Probably due to its lack of international notoriety and difficulty reaching the center span (there’s currently no pedestrian walkway) there are only a fraction of suicides on the Bay Bridge compared to its industry leading Golden sister around the bend. However, with the planned addition of a pedestrian pathway on the newly constructed eastern span fans are hoping the Bay Bridge can someday make the big leagues!

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About adamahata

On February 5, 2008, after 15 amazing years in New York City, I got married, changed careers, and moved out to San Francisco. All within a three-week period, and with very little preparation. This blog is for those of you who follow me out to San Francisco (or have been here for a while and are still trying to figure this place out). You're not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.
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4 Responses to Bridge to Nowhere

  1. peggyluwho says:

    I’ve been dealing with some personal crap. I’ll try to be more commenty.

  2. Christy says:

    Love your blog!

  3. peggyluwho says:

    People do live on Treasure Island. I used to. It’s an old Navy base that is now leased to the city, and they sublet it to civilians. It’s nice because it’s cheap and quiet. The down side is that there’s not any amenities on the island. However, there is a 24 hour muni bus route to and from downtown.

    The man-made island is Treasure Island. It’s named that because the rumor was that the earth used to build it was drudged from the delta and Sacramento River and it was believed to be full of gold. It’s not true though. It’s connected via a small bridge to Yerba Buena, the natural island, part of the sunken hill range that includes Angel Island.

    It was the sight of the ’39-’40 world’s fair. Then, after the fair, it was the San Francisco airport. Then the Navy took it over.

    The main building on Treasure Island, just before the gates to the base, was originally part of the fair. You should hop off the bridge there sometime, because the island offers one of the most gorgeous views of The City’s skyline. It’s actually where many of the photos used on postcards are shot from.

    • adamahata says:

      Thanks PLW!

      As always, insightful comments and commentary!

      But where have you been? I’ve missed you here at SFIW!

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