Biking or walking the new Bay Bridge? Some tips for safety — and bliss

For personal and professional reasons, Phyllis Orrick made not one but two exhilarating detours onto the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge this Tuesday, its first full day in operation.

Phyllis Orrick

Phyllis Orrick

A bicycling enthusiast and the communications director for the campus’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Orrick altered her usual morning route to be among the first to travel the bridge’s bicycle and pedestrian path – pausing to tweet her progress — then returned after work for a second ride atop her recumbent bicycle.

“They said it would change the way we would experience the bay, and it’s true,” says Orrick, citing the thrill of it all – fresh white cables and railings, blue sky and gradual climb as you travel west (ending short of Yerba Buena Island, for now), then an effortless, “heavenly” descent on the return trip). Not to mention close-up looks at cormorants diving from the now-silent eastern span, and the odd thought that, just days ago, “hundreds of thousands of cars were tearing across” the rusty-looking hulk.

Information for cyclists and pedestrians

• CATSIP website, with Orrick’s step-by-step guide to finding the Bay Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path

PDF version of Orrick’s guide

Division of Transportation information on the Bay Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path

“I can’t believe we were driving on that!” Orrick recalls thinking.

Because she spends her working hours at SafeTREC (a joint project of the Institute of Transportation Studies and School of Public Health) and maintains a website for those working to promote pedestrian and bicycling safety, she was pedaling, as well, to document a safe approach to the bridge, avoiding congestion and road hazards.

Orrick’s photo-illustrated cheat sheet, showing a street route leading to a paved and landscaped pathway from the Emeryville shopping area, is posted on the CATSIP website, short for California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages.