News Flash: Bay Bridge Closes, but World Does Not End

By Dogtown Commoner | Posted at 11:13 pm, September 3rd, 2007 | Topic: environment, cities, oakland

Contrary to predictions of gridlock, mass confusion and worse, Bay Area residents coped just fine with no Bay Bridge over the long weekend. As the SF Chronicle says:

This weekend’s closure tested people’s ability to get around without the major connection between San Francisco and the East Bay. Although there were scattered traffic backups, people appeared to heed the call to stay off the roads and take public transit.

Caltrans officials mounted a nearly $1 million publicity campaign warning motorists as far away as Southern California of the closure and urging Bay Area drivers to take public transit or expect delays along alternate routes. The agency also subsidized overnight BART service and extra ferry runs.

While official ridership figures are not yet available, it’s clear that transit was popular. BART carried huge loads all weekend, and large crowds were reported on ferry systems as well.

“We’ve pretty much shattered every ridership record we have,” said BART spokesman Linton Johnson. “Weekday, weekend, all ridership records we have look like they’ve been broken.”

The past record for daily ridership is 381,200, which was set June 13 when there was a Police concert at the Coliseum in Oakland. The previous Saturday mark was March 3, when 229,583 people rode. The Sunday record was June 24, when 196,000 showed up, many drawn by the gay pride parade in San Francisco.

None of this should come as a surprise.