Regional Government Aiming to Severely Limit Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Path Richmond San Rafael Bridge: A Bridge Path in Peril

In November 2019, after decades of advocacy, a multiuse path was opened on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, connecting Marin and the East Bay for people traveling outside of a motor vehicle for the first time in history. Since then, the bridge path has been used hundreds of thousands of times by people traveling by foot or by bicycle. These have included joggers, walkers, families, recreational riders, commuters, bike tourers, and a surprising number of fishermen on the Marin side.

Richmond San Rafael Bridge In Peril. Bike riders on bridge pathway

A Bridge Path in Peril

Now, the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) plans to limit the use of the path to a mere three days a week, restricting pedestrian/bicycle access to weekends and Fridays. Why? In part because of a noisy, and well-funded campaign by a Bay Area business group, which has persisted in misleading the public into thinking the multiuse path is the cause of long car commutes and Richmond’s poor air quality. 

The plan being pursued by MTC would not replace the multiuse path with a third westbound automobile lane. It would return the so-called “third lane” to its previous configuration as a shoulder for the occasional broken-down car. If implemented, ordinary travel times on the bridge would not change–for drivers. Those traveling by bicycle will have to wait for an infrequent bus or buy a car. The equity and climate signals these changes send are incompatible with MTC’s stated goals as a broader agency, and more specifically as the implementing authority for the San Francisco Bay Trail.

What happens next?

The process is unclear and involves some bureaucratic wrangling.  To change the bridge configuration, MTC needs permission from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a government agency established to preserve public access to the San Francisco Bay. At two meetings of the BCDC Board, as well as one of the MTC Bridge Oversight Committee, the fate of the path will be decided. Dates have not yet been announced. We will keep you up to date.  

What can you do about it?

Email Marin County’s representative on BCDC, County Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters (click here to open an email). Tell her how you use the bridge path and why it is important to you. Make sure to say where you live, particularly if you are a constituent. If you have connections to anyone else on the BCDC Board, email them too. 

Next, make sure you’re signed up for the MCBC Google Group for alerts on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. You can do that by clicking here. We’ll be letting people know when they need to show up, on Zoom or in person, to protect the path.

Last, Bike East Bay has set up a form where you can tell the story about how you use the bridge. Please take a moment to fill it out, particularly if you commute over the bridge by bicycle or have taken a job that you would not have had the pathway not been there. Click here to tell your story. 

The Fight goes on

The struggle to provide biking and walking access between Marin and the East Bay took decades and was a hard-fought battle against forces of the status quo. We know the coming months will not be easy, but with your support and your voice, we can uphold the legacy we were given by those who made the path happen in the first place. 

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Supporters like you, who speak out for safer places to bike and give to MCBC, make projects like these possible.  Thank you!  Want to support this work? Give here. We’re working hard to ensure that there is always a full pipeline of projects in development so we can keep making Marin more bikeable every year. 

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