The Common Ground Team led by TLS Landscape Architecture has presented the “Grand Bayway” vision at the Resilient by Design Challenge in San Francisco, May 17th. The proposal looks at a resilient future for flood threatened and congested State Route 37 connecting the northern edge of San Francisco Bay as well as a vast restored marsh and tidal complex adjacent. The result creates a new Ecological Central Park bigger than the area of San Francisco itself.

TLS collaborated with architect Michael Maltzan, on an iconic bay crossing on a braided, elevated causeway with separated lanes and diverse transit options 25 feet above migrating tidal marshes. It creates a scenic experience of views to bay landmarks like Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tamalpais, and a front door on the immense open space of tidal sloughs and restored wetlands. Bike and pedestrian trail also “unspool” and provide access to trails, boardwalks, kayak routes, floating fishing camps, 19th century ghost towns that provide excursion train stops.

The marsh complex, largest in the Bay Area is also threatened with inundation by rising tides and flooding. Working with the local ecological community, a spectrum of terra-forming techniques for marsh and benthic habitat recovery will create a vast working laboratory for experiments and pilot projects to benefit similar conditions found around the Pacific Basin.

Urban gateways from the diverse and rapidly growing cities of Vallejo and American Canyon invite new populations to this 21st century, ecologically-oriented open space. Visitors can arrive at intermodal hubs by car, ferry, or train and be equipped and launched for explorations into a part of California, previously unknown to the public. First stage projects will take shape with the next 2 years and engineering of larger scale initial phases will be coordinated with Caltrans alternative planning over the next year.

Working with Exploratorium and Rana Creek Design, the team has also released an explorer’s map for the North Baylands as an outcome of this project which allows people to explore hidden cultural and ecological stories as they hike, bike, drive and kayak through the Baylands.

Team Common Ground

TLS Landscape Architecture


Michael Maltzan Architecture

Guy Nordenson and Associates

Sitelab Urban Studio

HR&A Advisors

Lotus Water

Rana Creek Design

Dr. John Oliver

Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley

Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants

Project video: