A to Z 2021 – B is for Bay Bridge and Bart

Welcome back to the A to Z 2021 Blogging challenge. I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s visit to San Francisco. Today we are going to look at some ways to get to and from the City.

There are two bridges that connect San Francisco with the rest of the area. One is more famous than the other and I may talk about that later in the alphabet but today we have the Bay Bridge. It spans the San Francisco Bay to the east and connects with Oakland on the other side. The original bridge was designed by Charles H. Purcell and opened in 1936. It is one of the longest bridges in the United States.

There are two sections of the bridge, separated in the middle by Yerba Buena Island. The west side is a double decker with cars going east on the bottom and west on the top. That portion has been named the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge after former SF Mayor Willie Brown. I never call it anything other than the Bay Bridge.

The east side used to be the same but you may or may not have heard about a little earthquake we had in 1989 that caused a section of the top of the bridge to fall on the bottom. The bridge was closed for a month but it took 11 years and a lot of money to build a new section. It was quite interesting to see the construction going on during those years, but the most interesting was when the new section was finally completed and the old section was taken down. There is a video of some of that here.

In 2013 lights were installed on the bridge, intended to be for a short time only to commemorate the 75th year of the bridge but the project was so well received that it has continued. There are about 25,000 LED lights on the span and they go on and off in patterns selected by random number generator so they are always different. Also interesting is that you cannot really see the lights when you are driving across so as not to cause a distraction. Because of the unique system, the cost of operating the lights is only about $15 to $30 a night. Currently there is a program through the “Shine It Forward: The Bay Lights project” where for $100 you can actually dedicate one of the lights to someone and it will be yours forever. How romantic would that be for a Valentine’s Day or Anniversary gift? I mean, $100 is about what you pay for a bunch of roses that die anyway, right?

Here is a view of the San Francisco shoreline as seen coming from Oakland to SF. The pictures were taken several years apart because as you can see the buildings have changed. Sorry for the blurriness but it’s not easy taking pictures out the car window or even from a boat!

B is also for BART which stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit and is one of the ways to navigate through San Francisco. It runs from Millbrae in the southwest and connects to San Francisco International Airport and then goes through San Francisco and under the Bay to the other side north, east and south.

We use it quite often (or did before Covid) to go to San Francisco to see shows or over to Oakland to see concerts. The San Bruno Station is quite close to our house so technically we could walk there but we usually drive since we’d be coming home late at night. There are 8 stops in San Francisco, making it really easy to get to different parts of the City. It is reasonably priced too, especially considering what it costs to park in SF or in Oakland. It is a little scary knowing you are going under the bay in a tube and sometimes the speed makes my ears pop.

On Bart on the way to see Adele!

They have been starting to remodel some of the trains and repair some of the stations. I haven’t been on a trip since the pandemic but the website lists all the different measures they are taking to make it safer for everyone. I remember taking my first ride in 1982 when I went to my first real concert, Day on the Green in Oakland.

That’s it for “B” I guess. What do you think of those lights? Come back tomorrow for “C.” Any guesses?

Disclaimer notice. The coloring book pages are from the inserts the San Francisco Chronicle put out and I mentioned them in my theme reveal so you can go to that to get the info about the artists if you are interested. I did the coloring and all the picture taking.

About scr4pl80

I'm a 60-ish, married, mom to 3, creative soul looking to make the world a better place one smile at a time.
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29 Responses to A to Z 2021 – B is for Bay Bridge and Bart

  1. Pingback: A to Z 2021 – Reflection | Janet's Smiles

  2. debscarey says:

    The lights on the bridge are a lovely touch & so great that you can sponsor them too.

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A to Z 2021 – I is for Ina Coolbrith Park and Immigrant Point Overlook | Janet's Smiles

  4. ghostmmnc says:

    Nice to know something about the Bay Bridge. I like the photos and the lights. When we crossed over the bridge it was morning and it wasn’t lit up. But then maybe they hadn’t put lights on there at that time, oh yeah, I looked back… we were there in 1980 I think. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LA says:


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tamara says:

    I didn’t know you can purchase and dedicate a Bay Bridge Light – I’ll keep that in mind!
    One time we did not manage to find a suitable flight to SFO, so we flew into Oakland, which was great, too. First thing in the morning we crossed the Bay Bridge to start our tour.
    For the letter C… I’m guessing “Cable Car”. I mean, how could you not???


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fascinating. New names for such features never really catch on, I find. I imagined we were going to see Bart Simpson πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Iain Kelly says:

    I’ve just finished making a programme looking back at the 1980s, and featuring a short section on the earthquake of 1989, with footage of the bridge. Such a devastating tragedy, especially the damage done to the old areas and buildings. Nice to see the bridge all lit up in all it’s glory! My kids call it the ‘Baymax Bridge’ after it featured in the Disney film Big Hero 6!!


    Liked by 1 person

  9. John Holton says:

    So you live near the airport?

    Looking at the BART map gives me some idea of where I’ve been in the Bay Area. Thanks for posting that…

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Yep. We live in San Bruno. The planes fly over head all the time.


      • John Holton says:

        When I was in high school, our house was on the approach to O’Hare, and specially on Saturday nights planes were always flying overhead. When I got married I moved closer to Midway, just as Midway Airlines was bringing that airport back to life. Since moving here, we’re on the approach for Hartsfield, Dobbins AFB/Atlanta NAS, and McCollum Field, which is general aviation. Planes going overhead all the time….

        Liked by 1 person

      • scr4pl80 says:

        We were lucky enough to be included in the airport noise abatement program and our whole house was refitted with double pane windows and thick doors to help with the noise. We are actually smack dab between the airport and the train and I am glad that the windows work so well to hide the noise. Of course, after 24 years you kind of get used to things like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I bet the BART does make it super convenient to get in and out of the city – definitely a plus when heading to those concerts! We don’t really have that kind of public transportation here in Maine but when I lived in Boston I used the T (the subway) all the time. It was a great way to get around. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      We live so close to both the train and Bart that it is easy (or before COVID it was) to get to the city and walk around to wherever we were going. Hoping to get back to that ability soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Two iconic SF items–and Adele! I’m jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. J-Dub says:

    I love the idea of buying a light for someone special. I remember the earthquake and made for Tv πŸ“Ί movie that followed. Seems like a dream to those of us watching. I can only imagine how devastating that had to be. I’m enamored with mass transit and wish it made sense to have it here. It definitely rather ride than drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Right? My kids thought I was crazy about the light thing. I said, “Let’s see what my blogging friends think about it!” You validated me :). The earthquake was actually very scary. We felt it pretty good even where we live but fortunately only 1 thing fell off a shelf and broke. My husband was a truck driver at the time and frequently crossed the bridges and drove in the city. Fortunately he was done for the day at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J-Dub says:

        Glad I helped validate. Thank goodness hubby was done for the day. Earthquakes are scary in the randomness. I’ve never heard of predictions but maybe there is some sort of warning. Usually it seems like they measure the magnitude afterwards.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Vidya Tiru says:

    I did not know about the Shine it Forward project; definitely one I am going to look into so thanks for the share.. your posts are going to tempt me into driving north to the city sooner than later

    Liked by 1 person

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