But it’s worth the effort, as its 600-foot observation pier offers beautiful views of the Bay Bridge, San Francisco and the bay itself.
One option is to drive toward the Bay Bridge on I-80, staying in the right lanes. Just before the toll plaza, take the Grand Avenue off-ramp on the right. If you miss it, though, you’re on your way through the toll plaza and off to Yerba Buena Island.
The Grand Avenue ramp heads up over the freeway and descends to street level. At street level, take the first right turn onto Maritime Street and then take the first right turn onto Burma Road. The park entrance is about a mile further.
If you’re driving toward the bay on Highway 24 in Oakland, take the Grand Avenue exit and turn right. As it nears the bay, Grand Avenue goes under the freeway to an intersection with Maritime Street. Turn left onto Maritime Street, then right onto Burma Road and proceed as above.
As you are driving down Burma Road, you will see the Bridge Yard building with a distinctive louvered roof. It is currently open only for special events, but you can park just past it at the signed park entrance on the right. There is no public parking right at the pier.
Once you’ve parked in the official lot, look for the San Francisco Bay Trail that runs alongside the vehicle bridge out to Yerba Buena Island. The trail is open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Due to construction, there is no pedestrian access from Yerba Buena Island to Treasure Island, and bicycle access between the two islands is on weekends and holidays only.
To reach the observation pier, walk or ride about a third of a mile toward the bay on the Bay Trail. Watch for some yellow pylons, a crosswalk and an information panel across the road on the left. Cross the road, turn right on the bicycle/pedestrian path and head for the pier.
Building on the foundation
When the new Bay Bridge was constructed to replace its earthquake-damaged predecessor, some of the original bridge footings were kept in place to form a foundation for the park’s new pier.
From 1903 to 1960, the site was the base of operations for the Key System railway. The 1930s-era Bridge Yard building was the maintenance center for the trains. The area also was part of the now-closed Oakland Army Base.
Sutter was a Superior Court judge, Oakland’s vice mayor and later a member of the park district board of directors.
The park was dedicated in a ceremony on Oct. 21. A video of the event can be viewed at ebparks.org/parks/judge_john_sutter.
For a brochure with a map of the park, visit ebparks.org. Click on “Parks & Trails” at the top of the home page, then click on Judge John Sutter” when the park list appears.
Here’s some good news: The park district plans to reopen Ardenwood Historic Farm on Nov. 18. And camping reservations have resumed at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore and Anthony Chabot Campground near Castro Valley.
For up-to-date information on these and other developments, visit ebparks.org.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.