Bay Farm Blog: More on the Bay Trail

Bay Farm Blog: More on the Bay Trail

Bill Pai

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If you have ever walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, flown a kite along the waterfront in Tiburon, rollerbladed along the Foster City levee, hiked through the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge or built sandcastles on Robert W. Crown Beach on Alameda’s main Island, you have experienced part of the San Francisco Bay Trail.

This is a planned recreational corridor that ultimately will encircle the San Francisco and San Pablo bays with a continuous 500-mile network of trails, connecting the shoreline of the nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities and all major bridges in the region.

Senate Bill 100, which became law in 1987, directed the Association of Bay Area Governments to develop a plan for this "ring around the Bay." It was mandated that the plan provide for connections to existing park and recreation facilities, create links to existing and projected transportation facilities, and be designed in a way that avoided causing harm to environmentally sensitive areas.

Adopted by the association in July 1989, the Bay Trail Plan has enjoyed widespread support. Alameda and most of the communities along its path have passed resolutions in support and incorporated it into their general planning. Here in Harbor Bay, the Bay Trail runs along Shoreline Park and completely circumscribes Bay Farm Island.

Since its founding, a primary goal of the San Francisco Bay Trail has been to enhance access to the bay shoreline, which by the 1980s had been cut off from many areas due to a variety of public and private actions. The connection between Bay Area communities and the San Francisco Bay had disappeared or was severely degraded by numerous industrial uses, and wetlands were perceived as undesirable “swamp.” In the quarter century since the Bay Trail project was officially begun, over half of the planned route has been completed (approximately 340 miles).

The Bay Trail now provides easily accessible recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, joggers, bicyclists and skaters. It also offers a setting for wildlife viewing and environmental education, and it increases public respect and appreciation for the bay.

It also has important transportation benefits, providing a commute alternative for cyclists and connecting to numerous public transportation facilities (including ferry terminals, bus stops, Caltrain, Amtrak and BART stations). At different points along its route, the Bay Trail consists of paved multi-use paths, dirt trails, bike lanes, sidewalks and city streets.

The Bay Trail offers access to commercial, industrial and residential neighborhoods; points of historic, natural and cultural interest; recreational areas like beaches, marinas, fishing piers, boat launches; and over 130 parks and wildlife preserves totaling 57,000 acres of open space.

Above all else, the Bay Trail links the communities of the Bay Area. More than three-quarters of Bay Area residents (5.4 million people!) live within 20 miles of the Bay Trail. It is used for an estimated 38 million trips annually, making it one of the most heavily used recreation and non-motorized transportation corridors in the region. It is one of the many things that combine to make the San Francisco Bay Area such a wonderful place to live.

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Submitted by Tom (not verified) on Thu, Jun 11, 2015

The bay trails maps on the web link are out of date.
There is much more bay trail completed on the north side of Alameda than is shown on these maps.