The Golden Gate Bridge is the oldest, longest, tallest single span bridge in the United States. The bridge is a uniquely special bridge because of age and construction. Plus from the bridge, you can see Alcatraz and Angel Island, which makes it even more special. Right? What we're saying is true, right?
Well, not quite right.
Actually the Golden Gate bridge is no longer the longest single span bridge. Actually, the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge opened earlier than the Golden Gate Bridge did. Actually the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, which is what locals call the Bay Bridge, is longer than the Golden Gate Bridge. Actually the Bay Bridge offers great views of Alcatraz and Angel Island.
However the Golden Gate Bridge does have one strength that the Bay Bridge does not. The Golden Gate is the gateway to San Francisco. Still, the question is why the Golden Gate Bridge is so much more revered by tourists, sightseers, moviemakers and photographers.
Here's some San Francisco bridge information:
1. Golden Gate Bridge as an icon
The Golden Gate Bridge has become a San Francisco icon because it had skillful public relations. PR has done a magnificent piece of work creating this bridge as an icon. From early in Golden Gate Bridge history, public relations were part of the bridge budget.
2. San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge as a non icon
The Bay Bridge has not become an icon. This non icon status is partly because the bay bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland. Public relations could develop the Bay Bridge as a San Francisco to Berkeley icon. Berkeley has the university, restaurants, shops, parks, and theaters. Unfortunately that has not happened.
3. Walking, running and biking across the bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge was designed for walking, running and biking. One side is for bikers and the other is for walkers and runners. The Bay Bridge was not so designed. Walking, running and biking are prohibited because there are no side lanes.
4. San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge facts
The Bay Bridge is 8.4 miles long, the longest high-level steel bridge anywhere. The bridge is painted silver. When the bridge opened in 1936, the upper deck was for cars and the lower deck was for street cars, trucks and buses. In 1958 the bridge was modified. Traffic into San Francisco used the upper deck; traffic out of San Francisco used the lower deck. On the average day, 280,000 vehicles cross the Bay Bridge.
5. Golden Gate Bridge facts
The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and Golden Gate Bridge is painted international orange. The bridge opened in 1937. On an average day, 120,000 vehicles cross the Golden Gate Bridge. This bridge is also a landmark for suicides. Although the common belief is that people come from all over to commit suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge, most people attempting suicide from the bridge are Northern Californians.
6. Pre bridge history
Before 1928, that is, before the two bridges, you could get across from Oakland or Marin to San Francisco via ferry. Ferries were crowded and bridges seemed a necessity.
7. Marin County and Alameda County
The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County, and the Bay Bridge connects San Francisco with Alameda County. The two counties share some attributes, but Oakland and San Francisco share few such attributes because the two cities are polar opposites. Most of Marin County is green and lush. Trees are plentiful; restaurants are everywhere; well-dressed people on cell phones meander through Sausalito and Larkspur. Their vehicles are new and shiny. Most of Marin County presents the image of the good American life.
Alameda County has nineteen cities. From what I have seen of Alameda County, parts of Oakland represent poverty and hopelessness. I know the Oakland hills are a zone of comfort, but Oakland, the downtown and the area around downtown, can seem to be a city of deserted buildings and houses with railings on windows. Trees, restaurants, and well-dressed people seem to be rare in many locations. The city tries hard, but is not even in the running for the good life.
My image is that on Sundays people in San Francisco jump into their cars to get out of the city for the day. They take the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and spend the day in the restaurants and the shops. They eat crab at restaurants near the water. Then they walk around and buy a gadget or two at one of the many galleries. They stop for ice cream and eat their ice cream on a bench near the water. They watch the people fishing.
A good public relations campaign could link San Francisco with Berkeley, but Berkeley may not need the additional people or traffic.