By most accounts, the recent opening of the High Line park in New York City has been a raging success. The formerly abandoned 1.5-mile-elevated railway has transformed into a popular public park, with surrounding retailers reporting a significant uptick in business. Now Rael San Fratello, a San Francisco architecture firm, wants to perform a similar makeover to the abandoned east span of the Bay Bridge.
The proposed Bay Line project would be a linear park that includes "bicycle and pedestrian access, housing and cultural activities, such as theaters, commerce and museums, as well as 1.92 miles of bicycle lanes, sporting facilities, such as tennis courts, climbing walls, squash courts, and skate parks in addition to orchards ,gardens, and meadows". It's a lofty goal, and one that could cost at least $350 million—a sum that could be recouped over many years through bridge tolls and rental costs.
Unsurprisingly, then, the Bay Line is a long shot at best. There is a strong chance that the east span of the bridge won't hold up in an earthquake, and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) representative Randy Rentschler went so far as to call the proposal a pipe dream. Still, the High Line park was a pipe dream once too. Who's to say this one won't come true?