San Diego

Sneak Peek: SANDAG's Pedestrian Tube Over Coronado Bay

SANDAG to view plans for cyclist/pedestrian tube aligned with the San Diego/ Coronado Bay Bridge

Imagine the opportunity to bike or walk the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge.

The idea is as old as the bridge itself but on Thursday, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will, for the first time, look at plans to build a bikeway-pedestrian tube along the bridge.

NBC 7 got a sneak peek at the plans Wednesday night.

A pedestrian bridge spanning the two-mile Coronado Bay Bridge will cost around $210 million. Plans for the pedestrian tube show a path expected to be 15 feet in diameter, 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide -- large enough for cyclists, runners, and walkers.

"That would be amazing,” Coronado resident Marjorie Lloyd said.

The tube also promises spectacular views, seen at your leisure instead of whizzing by in traffic on the bridge.

“I can't think of how many times somebody has wanted to stop pull over and take a picture because it's such a gorgeous view of the city up there,” Lloyd said.

SANDAG will get a look at the feasibility study and architectural renderings Thursday during a 2 p.m. meeting. The plans include three tube configurations: one aligned with the bridge deck, another the pier cap and the third aligned with the pier archway.

Renderings show an observation deck and entrances and exists on and off SANDAG’s Bayshore Bikeway.

"It's hard to get from here to over there easily,” Coronado cyclist Natalie Leonard said.

With the tube, Leonard said she sees the solution to two problems: finding easy access to Downtown San Diego and a chance to prevent those wanting to jump from the bridge.

"It could be a blockade because that is another thing we are all interested in here,” Leonard said.

But there are issues with the plan, and not everyone is on board.

Such an addition would change the look of an iconic bridge, which is about to reach historical status. The bridge also includes specific vertical clearance that is necessary for military and other large ships.

With the price tag so high, for some, it is yacht luxury in a community with a dinghy budget and greater needs.

"A bigger improvement would be putting a better way of managing traffic here on the island," Coronado resident Julio Gutierrez said.

The blue prints for a pedestrian tube that connects these two most desirable places may come from great thinkers but could likely end up a pipe dream.

Tolls for bridge users paid for the original structure, could a toll for tube users cover the cost?

That possibility hasn't yet been calculated.

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