With the Bay Bridge, seemingly always in the news*, the question is becoming, what to do with the old eastern span? (You remember the eastern span, don’t you?) Current plans are to simply demolish it, but architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello has proposed something different. They wants to convert it into a housing and a park.
He calls his proposal, “The Bay Line,” is a combination of the Florence’s Ponte Vecchio and New York’s High Line. The upper deck would be converted into a greenway, while the lower deck (originally designed for freight trains) would contain commercial and residential spaces. Since the deck can support much weight than a typical home, additional space can be hung directly underneath the bridge.
Rael’s graduate studio, have come up with other similar ideas, but they’re all essentially the same thing.
It’s an interesting idea, but I do have some concerns. First, there’s going to be another earthquake. There just will be. So why would you want to be suspended a couple of hundred feet above the water, in a box that has been bolted onto a structure that is over 70 years, that is literally falling apart. (Well at least it’s not as bad as the old Cape Girardeau bridge. Yet.) Rael points out most of the damage back in 1989 was on the approach, not the cantilevers, but I still have my doubts. My other concern is that it’s right next to new bridge. Which means, you’re living right next to a freeway, and that’s got to ruin your view.
But really, I’d just be happy if they name the eastern span the “Emperor Norton I Span”, but Oaklanders are such killjoys.