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Scenic

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Ease

May 2001
4.6 mi.  AVS 50  G13  6"

3/3 lanes elevated expressway becoming 5 over 5 lane double-decked suspension bridge.

Events: eastbound from origin off Hwy 101
0.0: End of transition ramp of Hwy 101 southbound from Van Ness Ave
0.2: 7th St exit
0.7: 4th St, Embarcadero
1.4: Begin Bay Bridge (five lanes)
3.4: Treasure Island exit (left)
3.6: Yerba Buena Island exit (right)
4.5: Alameda County line, Oakland city limit (pop: 376,000) (1.2 mi. from east end of bridge)
Events: westbound from Alameda County line on Bay Bridge
0.9: Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island (left)
3.2: Harrison St, Embarcadero (left only)
3.2: Fremont St (right only)
3.7: 5th St, 101 North, Golden Gate Bridge
(less efficient through route for 101) (2 lanes off to left)
4.2: 9th St, Civic Center (1 exit only lane, right exit)
4.6: 101 North (Central Freeway) to Van Ness Ave and Fell St. Becomes 101 South (James Lick Freeway)

The San Francisco Skyway kicks off one of the longest transcontinental freeways in the country which begins unceremoniously as a seamless interchange from Hwy 101. Interstate 80 is 2,930 miles from San Francisco to New York City. It is the most central rush hour bottleneck in the Bay Area, and rated as one of the ten most congested traffic jams in the United States. It is also quite pretty. It is perhaps the grandest entrance into San Francisco, especially at night, and especially when the fog barrier is pouring over Mt. Sutro. Locally, however, it is known mostly for the nightmare of its logistical use.
Some practical things to know. The Bay Bridge has no shoulder (2001) which contributes badly to an already bad situation in the event of a stall or accident. Since the most common violation is following to closely, the most common accident is therefore a rear-end and multiple vehicle accidents are not uncommon. Most times the problem is a stall, however, and it is amazing how few accidents there are considering the volume. A carpool lane only exists on westbound approach to the toll plaza at the extreme right from West Grand Ave (nowhere else). Rush hour is defined for carpool purposes as weekdays between 5am-10am and 3pm-7pm. Congestion seems to really range from eastbound 2:00 pm-8:00 pm, and westbound 6:30am-11am* on weekdays. Weekends include a massive westbound backup in the early to mid afternoon (toll plaza to the maze in Oakland) and milder late afternoon exodus just like rush hour (eastbound). This is important to note. The Bay Bridge has one turn around opportunity at Yerba Buena Island. 80 does not access any parks. Exits are significantly different in different directions.

* 11am marks the average end of morning wait at the Bay Bridge toll plaza entering the city.

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