Bike_Lane.jpgA state Assembly committee will conduct a hearing this afternoon on a proposal to allow authorities to spend future Bay Bridge toll funds to construct a bike and pedestrian pathway for the western span of bridge, from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco.

The proposed pathway would connect to the pathway currently under construction on the new eastern span.

An alliance of bicycle advocacy groups and environmental organizations successfully lobbied for the inclusion of the bike and pedestrian pathway on the new eastern span.

When the same groups pushed for a shore-to-shore pathway, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission indicated that the Bay Area Toll Authority did not have the ability to use bridge toll funds for such a pathway.

The bill on the floor today, introduced by state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, would give them that authority. It passed the Senate on June 1 on a 23-11 vote.

Caltrans commissioned a study in 2001 to analyze engineering issues associated with constructing a bike and pedestrian pathway on the western span and estimated that the cost would be between $168 and $350 million.

However, the Bay Area Toll Authority has said that toll revenues are limited because they are committed to seismic safety.

A more up-to-date feasibility study will be available in April 2011, according to Hancock’s office.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled before the Assembly Transportation Committee at 1:30 p.m. today in Sacramento.

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