The history of transportation in the U.S. has been less about meeting needs than about creating them. From the “internal improvements” of the early republic, to the railroads, urban trolleys, and interstate highways that came later, development has been the object, more than serving the needs of people already in a place. Urban trolley systems were built out to farmland. The railroads recruited settlers from Germany and Scandinavia for the lands they opened up. (They described the Dakotas as a New Eden.)
The Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco to the Marin Headlands to the North, is a chapter in this same story. For all its iconic glory, the bridge actually was part of a development push to the North. The authority that governs it includes members from counties all the way to the Oregon border. One suspects that the main concern of those members is not the aesthetics of bridge design or the self-presentation of San Francisco.