Last week, the city of Berkeley began construction of a new bike path extending through the Berkeley Marina, a project that has been in the making for more than eight years in order to create a safer cycling environment in the area.
With a budget of $2 million in federal grants, the path will link the existing bicycle and pedestrian bridge that crosses the Interstate 80 to the Berkeley Marina as an extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail.
The extension’s first segment will run from the Bay Trail’s main loop at the intersection of University Avenue and West Frontage Road to a new bridge spanning the Strawberry Creek inlet and down the south side of University, according to the Berkeley City Council recommendation. The completed project will loop around HS Lordships Restaurant and end at the Berkeley Yacht Club in the northwest corner of the peninsula.
“Traffic on (University) already does get really heavy, and the road is in pretty poor condition,” said cyclist and UC Berkeley junior Kyle Zampaglione. “Especially during holiday weekends, it is really hard to get down the road to the marina.”
Currently, only the road shoulder is available to anyone going to the marina via University. The new path will promote the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
“(The path) is important because a lot of people who start riding bikes often do that on bike facilities like the Bay Trail or Ohlone Greenway,” said Dave Campbell, program director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. “This is a bike facility that’s going to encourage more people to get out there and try cycling.”
The project’s funding is rooted in transportation enhancement funds from the federal government, allocated by the state to the project last December. Projects like these are a part of the city’s bike plan, one that aims to transform Berkeley into a more bike-friendly city.
According to Farid Javandel, the city’s transportation division manager, the path will be one of many contributions to the bike-friendly effort.
“I think it’s another piece of our bike network that we are trying to build, and it will help people on bikes get out to the marina safely,” Javandel said.