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Cyclists Salivating Over New Bay Bridge Bike Path

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Catwalks hang over a section of the newly constructed eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Catwalks hang over a section of the newly constructed eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

EMERYVILLE (CBS) – The new bicycle only path on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge will be a magnet for cycling enthusiasts who hope to one day connect Oakland and San Francisco via the bridge.

The path to the new Bay Bridge bikeway begins at the Ikea store in Emeryville. When it’s completed in September, the route for bikes and pedestrians will head south from Ikea and underneath the maze, then alongside the freeway, bypassing the toll plaza on its way to the new bridge.

The bike and pedestrian lane is a 15-and-a-half foot wide promenade with a gentle 2-percent grade that climbs towards Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands.

“It’s 2 miles from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island, and it’s all about the experience, what it feels like to be on the bridge,” said Clive Endress, a landscape architect who helped design that experience.

One unique feature is that the bike path hangs slightly away from the bridge, with a vent to draw away exhaust from passing cars. While you might want to make your way to Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, you will have to wait until after the bridge bike and pedestrian lane opens. Design chief Steve Hulsebus said the bike path can’t be completed until the infamous “S-curve” is demolished in 2015.

Some bicyclists are asking why the path doesn’t continue all the way to San Francisco. In fact, the Bay Area Toll Authority is looking at that very idea, with a study due out later this year.

“We’re gonna get people halfway to Yerba Buena Island from Oakland, the real goal is to get all the way to San Francisco from Oakland. Then it can be a transportation facility and not just a recreational bike path,” Hulsebus said.

Much of the $500-million price tag would likely come from higher bridge tolls, putting any dreams of biking to San Francisco a decade away.

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