Sunday, November 20, 2011

Belmont Bicycle Bridge Open

The pedestrian / bicycle bridge over Highway 101 in Belmont finally opened on Saturday November 19. From what I read online, the idea was first proposed about ten years ago, construction approved and planned by city of Belmont in 2009, first scheduled to open in June 2011 and after one false broadcast on the web, opened in November.
This bridge crosses Hwy 101 just north of the Ralston Avenue overpass and connects to the Bay Trail at the Belmont Sports Complex on the eastern side, and drops you off onto Ralston at Hiller St. west of 101.
It will allow access to the Bay Trail at Oracle, as shown on the picture below, with possible (even though not very easy) access to San Carlos Caltrain and points south.

On the Belmont side, entering the bridge means veering off Ralston and making a left turn onto Hiller, then crossing Ralston at the pedestrian crossing light signal, which should work fine. On the way west, there will be couple of blocks of heavy traffic streets with no bike lanes until NDNU. As usual, the merge of the off-bridge lane onto the street crosses the right turn only lane, so one will have to watch for mindless drivers here:

Overall, the bridge is big and ugly, as many things in this country are, and if it really cost $8.8M (this figure is not from a reliable source), I think the whole Belmont and San Carlos could have bike lanes painted on every street and perhaps even some bike-only traffic signals installed, as they do it in Holland, for example. But it is great that the bridge is here, since it will open a possibility for me to ride to work on chilly winter days when the San Andreas trail is too cold, and ride home after dark instead taking the train.  
Foster City Patch has a report and a slide show here.
Here is a shaky iPhone video of my inaugural bridge crossing:

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