Just when you thought it was safe to go back over the water...the Golden Gate Bridge bike lane is closing for the second time in a year as the structure undergoes long-scheduled repairs.
Starting on January, the iconic span's western sidewalk, which is usually the sole province of cyclists, will be shut down for approximately three months. During that period, bikers will be forced to share the eastern sidewalk with pedestrians.
Bridge officials are working with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to improve a section of the Bay Trail at Battery East that connects state parkland with the span. The work will focus on a turn-back loop of the trail that leads directly to the bridge's west sidewalk, which is normally reserved strictly for cyclists, bridge transit district spokeswoman Mary Currie said.
This closure comes only a few short weeks after a five-month block when the two sidewalks, one after the other, were closed as part of the $660 million seismic retrofit underway since the late 1990s.
During the previous closure, cyclists and pedestrians alike said they often felt unsafe having to share the relatively cramped quarters of a single sidewalk with both modes of transportation. As a result, bridge officials put up signage urging people to use caution as they traversed the span and painted lanes onto the eastern sidewalk dividing pedestrians from cyclists--hopefully giving each group a little breathing room.
On any given holiday or weekend, the bridge' two sidewalks can carry up to 10,000 pedestrians and 6,000 bicyclists between the city of San Francisco and the southern tip of Marin County.
Bridge officials expect the western sidewalk to reopen by the beginning of April.
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