Graceful Bimla honored with new Yerba Buena Island public access pier

By Mark Prado
Bimla Rhinehart Vista Point
Steve Heminger, former MTC executive director, family and others dedicate the Bimla Rhinehart Vista Point on Monday. Photo provided by AECOM.

More than 100 people turned out under bright skies for the dedication of a public access pier adjacent to Yerba Buena Island named in honor of Bimla Gill Rhinehart. 

Bimla served as the California Transportation Commission's  member on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee before passing in 2013. Last December, that committee voted unanimously to recognize her with the naming.

On Monday, the boardwalk was formally dedicated to her.

"When Bimla joined the committee she was an incredible breath of fresh air," said Steve Heminger, former MTC executive director, who was on hand to dedicate the boardwalk. It was Heminger who came up with the idea to name the boardwalk after her. "This will be a wonderful way to remember Bimla, her achievements and her life."    

The pier will be open only on weekends until next spring, then daily.

Bimla earned bachelor of science degrees in finance and accounting from California State University, Chico, and later attended graduate school at the University of California, Davis. Bimla had more than 20 years of experience with Caltrans, where she began working in 1986. While at Caltrans District 4 in the Bay Area, she built a highly successful career while earning the friendship and admiration of everyone she came in contact with.

Colleagues remembered Bimla as a quiet leader who could bring all sides together to move a project forward. Her can‐do spirit, kind disposition and grace, and intelligent and professional approach to challenges endure in the memories of everyone who knew her.

The Bimla Rhinehart Vista Point sits atop Pier E2 of the original east span, which for 77 years supported the western side of the east span’s cantilever section. This Vista Point now provides new and unprecedented opportunities to view the new East Span.

It is furnished with a 30-foot communal table, amphitheater seating, bike racks and flexible performance spaces for community gatherings and events. Views from the Vista Point look out to San Francisco Bay, Port of Oakland, and the self-anchored suspension span of the new east span.