I’ve been driving over the Golden Gate Bridge for decades and I still get a thrill each time. If you’re not at the wheel you can space-out on the giant orange suspension cables overhead, take in Alcatraz and the boats in the Bay below, ponder the Pacific Ocean, or delight in the sparkling (or foggy mystical) views of San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. For drivers:
- It costs $6 to cross (for two axle vehicles), unless you have a FasTrak transponder (then it’s $5).
- The cost to cross only applies to one way: heading southbound into San Francisco. Crossing north is free.
- The speed limit is 45 mph.
- The length is 1.7 miles.
- I have never seen anyone get a speeding ticket, probably because it is hazardous to stop traffic.
- There are six lanes of traffic for both directions and the dedicated number of lanes in each direction changes, depending on the flow of traffic. During morning rush hour, for example, there are four lanes going into the City and two lanes exiting the City. This is usually the opposite for the evening rush hour.
- There are no people in the toll booths. The toll booths are from yesteryear when humans collected money. Now it’s all electronic. That way we can zoom through really fast.
- If you don’t have a pre-purchased pass, there are other options for paying the toll, but cash is not an option.
- There are sidewalks on each side of the bridge. Usually one side is for bicyclists and the other side is for pedestrians, but this changes all the time and there’s a bunch of rules that most drivers know nothing about.
- If the fog is coming “into the Gate” at night it is going to be a cold night (and next morning) across most of the Bay Area.
- Most of us drivers have serious looks on our faces because we’re all concentrating. Well, not everyone. Some drivers are not paying attention (so much to take in!), you keep your distance from them.
- It’s exhilarating to walk the bridge and biking is big too. If you’re dressed appropriately (it’s windy, cold, and loud) the adventure is a lot more fun.
If you do make the crossing, I know you’ll have fun!