People walk onto the Bay Bridge before it was reopened to traffic after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Parts of the structure had collapsed in the quake. The new eastern span should be finished in 2013.

As planners and bureaucrats start making the case for putting a park at the foot of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, they’re urging us to be ambitious and think big thoughts.

In that spirit I offer my own idea to mark the transition from old to new: Let’s leave one section of the span right where it is, and make it a showcase of renewable energy.

This wouldn’t change what is planned for completion in 2013 (keep your fingers crossed). We’d still have our new eastern span with its twin viaducts extending west from Oakland to a single attention-getting tower and then to Yerba Buena Island.

But we’d also have something that even in this age of global wonders is genuinely unique: a single bridge section, 508 feet long. rising from the waters of the bay, a trussed weave of thick steel perched atop X-braced piers.


John King
San Francisco Chronicle