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How to Get to That Beautiful Bay Bridge Bike Path

| September 8, 2013
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Access to the Bay Bridge Bike Trail from the west side of southbound Shellmound Street in Emeryville. (Dan Brekke/KQED)

Access to the Bay Bridge Bike Trail from the west side of southbound Shellmound Street in Emeryville. (Dan Brekke/KQED)

The No. 1 comment we hear about the new Bay Bridge bike path: “Wow! Cool!” The very next thing we hear: “Where is it exactly? How do I find it?”

Although it’s clear enough where the bike and pedestrian path is once you’re on the bridge, it’s not at all obvious how one negotiates the welter of freeway flyovers, overpasses and approaches to arrive on the eastern span. So: Here’s a guide on how to get to the bike and pedestrian path, with a couple observations thrown in about access. Note: The instructions below get you only to the bike path. You still have a ride or walk of about 4 miles each way once you reach the path.

Two main access points are open: Just outside the Ikea store on Shellmound Street in Emeryville and at the corner of Maritime Street and Burma Road, just outside the Port of Oakland. Before we get to a turn-by-turn route, I have a recommendation for anyone cycling to the new path: Use the Shellmound/Ikea entrance, whether you ride from West Oakland or from MacArthur or anywhere else.

Why?

It’s better marked. It’s got the best access from rapid transit if you’re not a local. (MacArthur BART is 1.9 miles away. West Oakland is 2.3 miles away via Mandela Parkway. Those are easy 10- to 15-minute rides.) And for my money, the streets leading to the Shellmound access are much bike-friendlier. Yes, they involve some urban riding, and that means being alert and being comfortable taking your place in traffic.

The route to the Maritime Street/Burma Road access, on the other hand, runs through one of the busiest industrial areas in the Bay Area, with lots of trucks traveling to and from the port. That Maritime/Burma access makes a lot more sense if you’re driving and parking there, as adjacent to the West Grand Avenue entrance and exit to the Bay Bridge.

Here are detailed directions for getting to the new bike path, complete with a slideshow and Google map (after the step-by-step instructions). Driving directions are at the bottom of the post.

Bicycling from MacArthur BART:
1. After exiting fare gets, go left to access 40th Street. You’ll want to head left, or west, on 40th Street, so you’ll need to cross at the traffic signal at the MacArthur BART driveway.
2. Head west .1 mile on 40th Street under the BART/Highway 24 overpass. The first light you’ll come to is Martin Luther King Jr. Way. (If the first light you hit is Telegraph Avenue, you’re headed the wrong way. Turn around!). Total mileage: .1
3. Continue west .5 mile on 40th Street past signals at West Street, Market Street, to Adeline Street, where 40th jogs slightly to the left. Total mileage: .6
4. Continue west .8 mile on 40th Street across San Pablo Avenue, then past signals at Hollis Street and Horton Street to the foot of the overpass, where Shellmound Street begins. Total mileage: 1.4.
5. Continue .4 mile across overpass as Shellmound curves right (north) to the first traffic signal. The signal marks both the entrance to the Ikea parking lots and one entry to the Bay Bridge bike/pedestrian path. The access is clearly marked with a sign for the Bay Trail and an informational display for the Bay Bridge bike/pedestrian path. Total mileage: 1.8.
6. Entering the path at this point allows you to circle under the Shellmound Street overpass and join the main path.
7. There is a second entrance to the path, from southbound Shellmound Street, immediately across the street from the first described above. Walkers and riders can reach it by crossing at the Ikea traffic signal or by looping under the overpass as described in Step 6 above. It affords ready access to people traveling south from Berkeley — say, from Aquatic Park and along Shellmound.

Bicycling from West Oakland BART:
West Oakland Option 1, via Mandela Parkway.
1. Exit the station to Mandela Parkway, at the east end of the station property (the end nearer downtown Oakland).
2. Turn left (north) on Mandela. Cross 7th Street. (If you find yourself crossing 5th Street, then curving left under a freeway overpass, you’re going the wrong way. Turn around.)
3. Continue 1.3 miles north on Mandela past major intersections at 14th Street (traffic signal at .5 mile), West Grand Avenue (traffic signal at .9 mile), and 32nd Street (1.3 miles). Total mileage: 1.3 miles.
4. Continue .5 mile on Mandela. After 32nd Street, Mandela curves gradually to the left. The parkway narrows to a four-lane street at 34th Street. Then the street curves right (east) under the MacArthur Maze freeway overpasses to Horton Street. Total mileage: 1.8 miles.
5. Turn left at Horton Street, a four-way stop (you’ll have a Target Store on your left and a Best Buy on your right at the intersection). Continue .1 mile to 40th Street. Total mileage: 1.9 miles.
6. Turn left at 40th Street.
7. Continue .4 mile across overpass as Shellmound curves right (north) to the first traffic signal. The signal marks both the entrance to the Ikea parking lots and one entry to the Bay Bridge bike/pedestrian path. The access is clearly marked with a sign for the Bay Trail and an informational display for the Bay Bridge bike/pedestrian path. Total mileage: 2.3 miles.
8. Entering the path at this point allows you to circle under the Shellmound Street overpass and join the main path.
9. There is a second entrance to the path, from southbound Shellmound Street, immediately across the street from the first described above. Walkers and riders can reach it by crossing at the Ikea traffic signal or by looping under the overpass as described in Step 6 above. It affords read access to people traveling south from Berkeley–say from Aquatic Park and along Shellmound.

West Oakland Option 2, via 7th Street and Maritime Street.
1. Exit the station to 7th Street.
2. Cross 7th Street and go left (west) on 7th (there is a traffic signal at Center Street, in front of the station, which is an easy place to cross).
3. Head west .2 mile. The first light you’ll come to is Peralta Street. (If you’ve passed Mandela Parkway or Adeline Street after leaving BART, you’re going the wrong way. Turn around). Total mileage: .2 mile.
4. Continue on 7th Street .2 mile to Wood Street (traffic signal). You’ll be riding along the BART tracks (overhead and to the left). Total mileage: .4 mile.
5. Continue on 7th Street .6 mile, through two viaducts, to Maritime Street. Total mileage: 1.0 mile.

  • CAUTION: The first viaduct contains two traffic signals and freeway on- and off-ramps for Interstate 880. The second viaduct is shorter but darker with bad pavement. You should expect truck traffic from the freeway ramps all the way to the bike/pedestrian trail access points at Maritime Street and Burma Road.

6. At the first traffic signal after the viaducts, take the gradual right turn onto Maritime Street. At the next signal, make another gradual right turn. Total mileage: 1.1 miles.
7. Continue north .9 mile to Burma Road, passing traffic signals at 14th Street and 21st Street/Bataan Avenue on the way. Burma Road is well marked with a traffic signal. The path is not clearly marked as you approach from the south, but the path access point is to your left, at the northwest corner of the intersection. Total mileage: 1.9 miles.

Driving directions:
From San Francisco:
1. At east end of Bay Bridge, follow signs for exit to Interstate 880 south (to Alameda/San Jose)
2. Take exit on the right for I-880 south.
3. From the I-880 exit, take the first exit: West Grand Avenue/Maritime Street.
4. Turn right (south) on Maritime Street (the first traffic signal)/
5. Go 400 feet south on Maritime to Burma Road. Path access is on your right at the corner.
6. A few on-street parking spaces are available along Burma Road. More on-street parking is available along the west side (northbound side) of Maritime Street.

From Oakland (Grand Avenue and Broadway):

1. Head west onto West Grand Avenue.
2. Continue west on West Grand across major intersections at San Pablo Avenue (.3 mile), Market Street (.7 mile) and Mandela Parkway (1.2 miles).
3. Continue west 1.0 mile to Maritime Street; get in left-turn lane. Total mileage: 2.2 miles.
4. Turn left on Maritime Street. Total mileage: 2.3 miles.
5. Go 400 feet south on Maritime Street to Burma Road. Path access is on your right at the corner.
6. A few on-street parking spaces are available along Burma Road. More on-street parking is available along the west side (northbound side) of Maritime Street.

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.
  • Cali

    Thanks! Very clear!

    • voice of reason

      lighten up, people–this is helpful. Stop complaining, please.

  • Helena Smith

    Not at all clear: what is the recommended starting point for pedestrians? According to the map provided by Bay Bridge Info, there appear to be three access points: Shellmound Street, Maritime Street and Bay Bridge Trailhead. Which of these are accessible to pedestrians; are any ADA compliant, and is the pedestrian walkway separate from the bike path?

    • Amber Evans

      All are ADA compliant – Bay Bridge trail head signifies you are entering the bridge and leaving landside but no access to this point except via the other two entries to the new trail. On the bridge itself the pedestrian access is to the left of teh bike lanes

    • Dan Brekke

      I believe Amber, who also replied, is correct: The “Bay Bridge Trailhead” is reached by the two access points I describe here–Shellmound and Maritime. Those are the pedestrian accesses, too, which means (as noted in the post) that you have a pretty healthy hike ahead of you to reach the westernmost point that’s open now, the new bridge tower.

  • Kelly

    Are dogs on leashes allowed?

  • chellerbee

    do not park at IKEA ….. while it is a great starting point IKEA doesnt want you parking there and the security guard will chase you off. I saw many dogs but…the trail is narrow many areas where there is no walking trail at all, the noise from the traffic is loud. Bikes are abundant so if your dog can handle all the stimulation ok…. i didnt take my dog and after i was pleased that i didnt.

    • Prinzrob

      Agreed about IKEA. The Bay Street Mall just a little ways down Shellmound has a huge parking structure with inexpensive rates, so any trail users who are driving to the start should just head there.

      If you are planning on walking the trail, though, I recommend taking BART to the MacArthur station and then hopping on the free Emery-Go-Round shuttle (www.emerygoround.com/schedule-maps) which drops passengers off less than a quarter mile from the trailhead.

      • peter

        more info would be appreciated. checked out the emerygoround site, not sure which shuttle to take and which stop to get off based on the map.

        • Prinzrob

          The Emery Go Round shuttle you will take from the MacArthur BART station is the Shellmound-Powell (purple) line. It heads west on 40th Street which then curves right via a bridge and becomes Shellmound Street (heading north). At this point you will see IKEA on your right and then get off at the next stop near Shellmound and Bay Street (stop number 6 on the map).

          Walk back down the sidewalk (south) opposite the way you just arrived on the shuttle and in 0.2 miles you will see the trailhead on the left just past IKEA, or another trailhead across the street on your right via a crosswalk. Both lead toward the same path onto the bridge.

          When you are heading back home you head back toward the same bus stop, but then cross Shellmound in the crosswalk at Bay Street to get to the number 19 Emery Go Round stop and back to MacArthur BART.

  • John

    What Rhub Goldberg nerd on steroids wrote this?

    First of all the print format is ABSURD. Like the Constitution on a grain of rice! And we do NOT need to print all the comments. Give us a break! By the time we have tinkered with the print format and blocked to exclude comments we got it down to SEVEN pages but wasted 20 pages of toner and paper on experiments but STILL the map prints two blank pages! WHO writes this stuff?! WHERE do they find these people?

    What a perfect example of how to mess things up with good ideas! This map is very confusing. What on earth are these yellow and red bubbles NOWHERE explained? WHO writes this stuff?! WHERE do they find these people?

    Aside from all that getting there from any BART station looks like the most ugly industrial ride imaginable and I wonder if it’s really safe to ride through these West Oakland hoods — especially if the sun is setting? Aside perhaps from the bridge itself this looks like one of the ugliest bike rides in America.

    • Francois

      I totally agree! Where do they find these people? And the slide show is
      one more good idea that is absolutely no help whatsoever. Getting a readable print format is quite a trick (get out of my was I have work to do!) and I too could not print the map. “How to mess things up with good ideas” So superbly said!

    • Prinzrob

      “Aside from all that getting there from any BART station looks like the most ugly industrial ride imaginable and I wonder if it’s really safe to ride through these West Oakland hoods — especially if the sun is setting?”

      Considering that the bridge path is only open sunrise to sunset (at least until 2015 when construction on the touchdown to Yerba Buena Island is complete) that’s not something you’ll have to worry about for the time being. Beyond that, I’ve biked every single street in West Oakland, never experienced any problems with crime, and discovered a whole lot of hidden beauty, art, and history there. It’s no pristine wonderland, for sure, but hardly “the most ugly industrial ride imaginable” that you describe.

      • bigbird

        bashing west oakland is getting a little old. staying in your suv @ home in
        walnut creek may be a lot safer for you. or just drive over to the emeryville entrance, and don’t use it, just go inside IKEA, and follow their maps inside, where you will be very insulated. have you ever even been to west oakland? or soma in the city, or the mission?
        and, oh yeah, love the bridge paths. and we are eagerly awaiting the treasure island connection, and hoping it will bring a little eastbay to the island.

    • Dan Brekke

      John: We’ll work up printable versions of the routes. Sorry for the inconvenience. I think the bubbles on the map are explained, but you need to click on them. Also: It’s Rube Goldberg.

    • bigbird

      they have to make it overly detailed, sometimes, for the lowest common denominator to be able to follow.
      no offense to john.

      • John

        Really? You presume the lowest common demoninator can read?

        • bigbird

          youre actually doing really well.

    • Peter Locke

      Here I am in beautiful Pagosa Sprihgs, CO. All I have to worry about are bears and mountain lions. I agree that the map is at the best confusing. So far, I haven’t really seen a map, at least not of the bike route. Could I do better? Don’t know. Probably not going to take the time to find out either. Time to go on a ride!

  • Fort Zuckerman

    PLEASE NOTE: Despite media reports saying the path closes at 8pm, CHP is turning people away starting at 6pm. The officers guarding the gate were unsure what time it reopens in the morning.

  • Prinzrob

    For your instructions on the “West Oakland Option 2, via 7th Street and Maritime Street” route, please note that the sidewalk on the north side of 7th Street starting at 7th and Wood is an official spur of the Bay Trail and therefore is legal to both bike and walk on. Although the sidewalk is narrow at points and only accommodates single file traffic it is still a much better option than riding in the street where there are huge potholes and speeding traffic. This will lead through a separated path under the railroad tracks and then eventually to Maritime Street where you can hang a right to proceed toward the bridge trail, or to the left to continue on a separated path all the way to the very nice but underused Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

    Please also note that Maritime Street gets lots of truck traffic during the week but is almost vacant on the weekends. Weekend riding here is actually rather pleasant but I wouldn’t recommend it to any but the most daring bicyclists the rest of the time.

  • Mr. Mirth

    The Burma Street walk is 2 miles (round trip) shorter than the Shellmound Street walk, although the Shellmound walk is more scenic and interesting since it passes behind the EBMUD processing plant. There are no water fountains, restrooms, or trash baskets on either route or on the bridge, but there are several bench seats if you need to stop for a rest. The pedestrian path once on the bridge is extremely noisy, bordering 10 lanes of traffic, and I found my headphones useless. My elapsed time, parking at Burma, walking to the end of the bridge, then to Shellmound, and back to Burma, was about 3 hours. Wear a hat and remember suntan lotion and water – I ended up with a pretty good sunburn.

  • Danimal

    Today was my first time and I did it as a runner with my running club, Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders. It was quite an experience fulfilling a dream of many years. Being a cyclist as well, I would say it’s more fun to run it as opposed to riding it as more of the cyclists were novices and unpredictable. I will be back soon.