"A Machiavellian plot" to kill a Bay Area dream
Thank you for the exquisite depth of research. I thought I knew this history, as a Marin resident. As it turns out, I only had the cover story.
“Second, Paine claimed Gronquist's calculations were too lenient, arguing ‘the size and importance of the Golden Gate Bridge demand its design loads and stresses be conservative.’ Paine also argued that all construction work on the Golden Gate Bridge ‘must be done without interference with traffic’ and any alterations of the roadway to reduce weight on the bridge was unacceptable as it would be ‘obnoxious to automobile drivers and passengers.!’”
Man, this kind of NIMBYism is just so transparent and it’s really sad to see it is a routine that is trotted out year after year. Great post!
Sheldon Cooper would have loved this article!
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, BART produced a series of extension studies as it undertook the new lines it opened in the next few decades. One study was of a Marin extension, done about 1990 if I remember correctly. While it was no longer politically feasible, the "BART to North Bay" study looked at alignment options (GG Bridge vs new tube), design and engineering, and cost. It again concluded that a bridge alignment was technically feasible. It noted that the bridge district had removed lots of excess weight in a 1980s renovation.
Additionally, after killing BART, the bridge district spent much of the 1960s pursuing a second Auto deck for the bridge. This awkwardly required them to issue an engineering report saying that was feasible, in clear conflict with the earlier BART infeasible studies. As you explain, the opposition was political and parochial.
Be careful what you wish for though - the 1962 BART vote needed a 60% yes vote district wide. It cleared that in Alameda, but only secured a bare majority in Contra Costa, and the whole thing was saved by a 2/3 vote in San Francisco, with the total vote a hair above 60%. Would Marin have nudged that down or up?