Bay Bridge Gateway Park Plans Move Forward

With the new Bay Bridge expected to open in San Francisco in 2013, city officials are also laying the groundwork for a new Bay Bridge Gateway Park where the bridge touches down. The primary goal is to turn an area that is now a chaotic mess of ramps into a unified public space. The new park will also restore the industrial area to nature and add new wetlands; create a network of trails linking Oakland to the park; offer “self-guided exploration” or a new museum; and include a new “Ferris wheel, gondola, art, or a destination restaurant.”

Reviewing the three final design proposals, The San Francisco Chronicle writes: “The only way to make such a space fulfill its potential – or be worth pursuing – is to approach it as an act of transformation, where nature and industry collide for everyone to see.” 

In a public review session of the first park concepts, Perkins + Will and PWP Landscape Architecture offered three very different design options: one focuses on creating green space and restoring the local ecosystem, another centers on a public perch at the western side of the bridge, and the third includes “such goodies as a skate park next to a playground next to a bridge-themed transportation museum.”

All designs “have enormous potential” and seem to “exalt the journey as well as the destination,” says The San Francisco Chronicle. “Imagine rows of tall trees threading the mess of ramps known as the Maze, tides rustling restored wetlands below. One element would offer relief to everyone in a car; the other would signal to people on the ground how close they are to the bay. Or imagine, above the Port of Oakland, an elevated path along West Grand Avenue and Maritime Street that bicyclists can follow to the new $6 billion span. The rationale is pragmatic, segregating two-wheel bikes from 16-wheel trucks. But it could also be poetic. Once you saw it, you’d want to be on it. And imagine that, as you endure the incongruously named FasTrak lanes, the illuminated billboards now in place are joined by Burning Man-scale sculptures or salvaged pieces of the existing western span.”

A final design is not expected to be released before the fall. More public hearings will lead to discussions on cost, functionality, and “balancing neighborhood needs and regional attractions.”

Read the article, learn more about the three Bay Bridge Gateway Park concepts, and take a public survey.

Also, see a slideshow of work underway on the new $6 billion bridge.

Image credit: PWP Landscape Architecture

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