In 1987, then California State Senator Bill Lockyer had a vision. He wanted to build a 500-mile public bike trail that ringed the Bay Area. After two years of campaigning, the plan was approved.
“It took time to have the plan approved, and even more time to put the plan into action,” remembers Bill Lockyer. “But at the time it was one of the biggest things I’d done, and I was so proud of it – still am if I’m being honest. It took twenty years of hard work and dedication to see this thing through to the end.”
As the trail neared the 300-mile mark, local politicians wanted to find a way to honor Bill Lockyer for his contribution to preserving the region’s scenic landscape. “The bike trail was a multi-faceted project,” says Bill Lockyer. “It was meant to bring the community together, promote health, and also to preserve the beauty of the area and protect it from commercial development.”
In a dedication ceremony in May of 2010, a segment of the Bay Trail was named after Bill Lockyer. “It’s a bridge between San Leandro and the Oakland Airport and overlooks a lovely slough,” Bill Lockyer says. “I was honored of course when they told me a section was being named for me. But all the satisfaction I need, I get walking the trail and watching the people of the community enjoying it.”
“Lockyer, in the opinion of everyone–including myself–is responsible for the BayTrail,” said then San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos. “He’s worked on the idea for over twenty years and should be recognized for his work.” Santos lobbied for the naming of the bridge and was supported by former Assemblyman Johan Klehs in his mission.
Bill Lockyer first won a State Assembly seat in 1973 and served in the legislature for twenty-five years after. More than half of that time was spent in the state senate where he was chosen to serve as President Pro Tem in 1994 – the most powerful position in the upper legislative house. In his spare time, Bill Lockyer attended law school classes in Sacramento and eventually received a law degree from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.
Bill Lockyer went on to serve as the California State Treasurer and the Attorney General of California. Now the retired politician entertains himself by keeping up with California politics, finally reading his vast collection of mysteries and historical non-fiction, and spending time with his loving family.