Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Three Year Bicycle/Pedestrian Pathway Update

It’s been a little while since our last update on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bicycle/pedestrian pathway. Given that it’s been in the news recently, and there are some upcoming events people should know about, we thought it was time for a post to give you a three year bicycle/pedestrian pathway update. 


The November 9th meeting saw strong support from a number of supporters of the pathway. MTC staff and commissioners appeared to be optimistic about the ability of plans currently in the works (such as the removal of the Richmond toll plaza) to improve some of the traffic issues. Staff also pointed out that proposals to add additional lanes for cars would likely be at odds with current state policy, and that adding new barriers to the bridge (e.g. on the lower deck) might compromise the integrity of the bridge structure.

3 Year Anniversary Ride

We’ll start with the fun stuff! On Sunday, November 20th, Rich City Rides is hosting a celebration of the 3rd anniversary of the opening of the bridge pathway. The event will consist of a ride from Richmond BART across the bridge to Marin, looping through Cal Park Hill Tunnel, and returning over the bridge to East Brother Brewing Company in Richmond for a family-friendly afterparty. The ride meets up starting at 11 AM and rolls at 12 PM. 

November 9th Upcoming Meeting

On Wednesday, November 9th at 9:30 AM, there will be a presentation about the bridge path at the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) Oversight Committee meeting. The presentation will consist of an update on the status of the pathway and the eastbound commute-period 3rd lane. In essence, studies have shown the following:

  • The eastbound 3rd lane has reduced peak hour congestion for PM traffic headed toward Richmond

  • The bike/pedestrian pathway has slightly reduced automobile throughput in the WB direction at peak hour

  • AM delay headed toward Marin is essentially the same as before the pathway was installed

  • Injury collisions for drivers on the upper deck are down, possibly due to more cautious driving resulting from the pathway barrier

  • The time to clear crashes has not been affected by the pathway

  • The full (very long) report can be found here

There will be no decisions made at the 11/9 meeting, but you can be sure that the opponents of the bridge pathway will be attending to make public comment. If you are able to join and speak in support of the bridge pathway, you attend via zoom at this link. For the full agenda, click here.

The Bridge Path Critics

The bike/pedestrian pathway was originally installed as a four-year pilot project. And yet, from the beginning, critics have been calling for its removal and replacement with a 6th car lane on the bridge, citing the needs of drivers crossing the bridge from the East Bay to Marin. 

However, as we discussed last fall, a simple swap from bike/ped pathway to driving lane would  not be so simple, and would cost a third of a billion dollars to do in such a way as to shorten the commutes of all drivers headed to Marin. Even that sets aside the fact that, when congested highways are widened, the gains are short-lived and they inevitably result in increased greenhouse gas emissions.  

Staying in the Loop

If you want to be notified anytime there is an opportunity to advocate for maintaining the bike/pedestrian path, please click the following link to join the RSR Bridge mailing list (and click “ask to join the group”). 

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

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