By Dan Brekke, Jon Brooks, Katharine Fong and Lisa Pickoff-White
Need to get to work from the East Bay to San Francisco on Thursday? Heading from the city to Berkeley for a Labor Day barbecue? The Bay Bridge may be closing down for five days, but that doesn’t mean you need to put your plans on hold.
The bridge will be closed beginning at 8 tonight (Wednesday, Aug. 28). There will be limited access to and from downtown San Francisco to Treasure Island via the bridge’s western span, but Caltrans plans to keep the bridge closed to all transbay traffic until 5 a.m. next Tuesday, when it’s scheduled to open the bridge’s long-awaited new eastern span. If you absolutely need to drive from the East Bay into the city, your only options will be to head north and use the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge or to head south to the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. You can expect lots of company on the roads.
For everyone else, here are a few suggestions on how to avoid traffic during the closure:
511.org: We’ve got lots of helpful stuff here, but let us cut to the chase: The No.1 best source of transit information in the Bay Area is 511.org. You’ll find everything you need to know on every alternate train, bus and ferry line in the Bay Area during the closure. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorite alternates to crossing the bridge:
BART: Beginning tomorrow night through Labor Day morning, BART will provide hourly all-night service to 14 stations. (Download the schedule.) MacArthur Station is serving as the main transfer point between lines. On Labor Day, BART will operate on a Saturday schedule. There will be no overnight service Monday night into Tuesday morning.
AC Transit: Transbay lines will stop at four BART stations to drop off passengers going to San Francisco and pick up passengers coming from San Francisco: Coliseum/Oakland Airport, MacArthur, North Berkeley and West Oakland. Get more information about AC Transit plans on its website. AC Transit will offer limited overnight service through Monday morning.
San Francisco Bay Ferry: San Francisco Bay Ferry is adding several extra boats to accommodate additional riders during the Bay Bridge closure. There will be direct service from Alameda Main Street to San Francisco, and direct service between Oakland and San Francisco. Changes vary by terminal and day. Spokesman Ernest Sanchez said they’re expecting extra passengers, but not the 23,000 extra people who took the ferry during the recent BART strike.
Golden Gate Ferry and Bus: Golden Gate operates ferries from Larkspur and Sausalito to the Ferry Building in San Francisco, as well as buses from the San Rafael Transit Center into the city. Golden Gate Larkspur Ferry will operate an additional late-night, round-trip ferry on Friday night and additional ferries on Saturday and Sunday. There will not be additional vessels on Monday. Golden Gate Transit is warning commuters to expect significant delays on the bridge. During the the Bay Bridge closure in 2009, Golden Gate Bridge southbound traffic increased by an additional 40,000 vehicles.
Treasure Island: Residents, employees and special event attendees may obtain a permit from the Treasure Island Development Authority, which will allow passage through the CHP checkpoint at Harrison and First streets in San Francisco. There will be one bus only open to residents and employees running from San Francisco to Treasure Island. Call 415-274-0660 for information.
Amtrak: Transbay bus connections between the Emeryville Amtrak Station and San Francisco will be rerouted to the Richmond BART station. Get schedules and tickets online.
Getting to Oakland International Airport: AC Transit’s regular service connects travelers between Capitol Corridor’s Oakland Coliseum Station and Oakland Airport.
Parking: Use Park Now app to find parking spaces in San Francisco or other Bay Area locations.