Detailed directions about the route can be obtained from the altimetry (last figure of the gallery), from the captions of the individual photos and from the "Google Map" at the bottom right, which can be enlarged as desired. Double clicking on the photos you can view them at the highest resolution.
Description of the route
This bike route, completed in September 2017, allows you to reach Venice or the Lido almost entirely along a dedicated bike route, and therefore in relative safety. This route begins in front of the Antares Pavilion of the Vega [the Venice trade fair] at the underpass to the Porto Marghera train station, and ends at the far end of the Ponte della Libertà [Liberty Bridge] at the turnoff for Tronchetto [the artificial island that provides ferry service direct to the Lido. RB]. How to get to the starting point? From Mestre, it is advisable to follow this route; from Marghera follow this route; from the airport follow this route.
Attention : cyclists arriving along this route with bags, intending to go on to Venice, would do well to make accommodations (hotel, hostel, B & B ...) on the mainland (Mestre, Marghera ... ) and first drop off their luggage, and then shuttle back and forth the last stretch to Venice using the route described here. Using a bicycle in Venice is forbidden and also impractical due to the many bridges and their many steps. In spite of this, in 2017, the city of Venice banned bicycles from the city center, even if they were walked. In any case, even trying to carry a bicycle loaded with luggage up and down the Venice bridges is not only inconvenient but dangerous [and stupid. RB].
Emerging from the underpass, or arriving from Marghera, you will find a well-marked bike route running between the Vega pavilions and the train tracks; shortly afterwards turn right and then left continuing on the sidewalk along a Vega inner road. You then come to the first street-crossing, that of Via Pacinotti.
Once across Via Pacinotti, you will see a large white building built for Expo 2015, turn left and soon you will find a second street-crossing, over Via dell’Elettrotecnica, and railroad tracks used only by freight trains; there is no marked crossing, but train traffic is minimal, long convoys of freight cars, visible at a distance, moving as slowly as a person walking.
The stretch along Via dell'Elettrotecnica initially runs between route SR 11 on the left and the train tracks to the right, then to the left there are several parking lots. At the end there is a third street-crossing leading to a short stretch on the right side of the road.
Immediately after this, the fourth street-crossing, this time across aptly named Via dei Petroli [Street of Petroleums], the bike route follows the street along with oil tankers, tractor trailers on weekdays and tour buses over the holidays; so be very careful when crossing and riding. The bike path runs between yet more parking lots on the left and a concrete barrier on the right.
At the end of the area of parking lots, the bike path turns left and runs past a tour bus parking depot and shortly after you find the fifth and last crossing, that of Via dell'Idraulica, a street also used by oil tankers and tractor trailers; but it’s a very short stretch alongside a road with minimal traffic.
From this point on the bike path runs within a dedicated area defined by fencing to the right and a true guardrail to the left; from this point it is no longer possible to get off the path. Because this was the most recently built section, it is in excellent condition and allows for smooth riding. After about 300 m/1000 feet you arrive at route SR 11 with very heavy traffic, but which no longer is a danger to the cyclist; after another 800 m/half mile you reach I Pili, two stone pylons that mark the start of the bridge across the lagoon.
You pass behind a wooden kiosk used occasionally as a tourist information desk; immediately after be very careful at the constriction between the right pylon and the guardrail; at this point it is barely more than a meter/40 inches wide so that a cyclist can just barely get through; you need to be very careful especially coming from the opposite direction, when returning from Venice. Once past the narrow part you will arrive at the old sidewalk of the bridge, which for many years has been usurped by bikers as a makeshift bike path.
This bike path on the sidewalk, until a year ago, was the only bicycle route into Venice and at the time seemed like a pretty good solution; now, ironically, the situation is reversed and its limitations have become apparent, its width is barely sufficient for a two-directional route. From here the “spectacle” of the lagoon, with Venice in the distance, but seen from behind and Marghera's smokestacks on the right, is priceless; frequent jets fly low overhead as they prepare to land at Marco Polo airport.
Towards the final segment of this bike path on the sidewalk, there is a difficult stretch due to increasingly narrow sections(*); but at the point one could go no further, there is a break in the low wall onto a cantilevered boardwalk, constructed during 2015-16, and which takes one with a slight ascent all the way to the turnoff for Tronchetto.
At the turnoff for Tronchetto, there are two possibilities for the cyclist:
Turn right onto the road that heads downhill; at the bottom of the descent turn right onto a bridge and then follow the only road on the island until you reach the ferry that carries bikes to the Lido of Venice; service every 50 minutes.
Cross the road and head directly to Piazzale Roma; beware, though, the sequencing of the traffic lights here is poorly conceived and requires special attention; the green light for bikes is synchronized with the green light for vehicles coming from the end of the bridge, so that cars may whip around the curve from the left; with the red light, you get only those vehicles arriving from Piazzale Roma, of which there are far fewer and more visible; ironically, therefore, it is safer to cross with the red light than the green! A flashing light beside the green light along SR 11 only somewhat reduces the danger of crossing with the green light.
After the traffic lights descend to Piazzale Roma, no longer on a bike path, but a bike lane along the side of the road; concrete barriers were installed recently separating the bike lane from the road, to deter terrorists with cars; that caused encroachment for the cars; a slowing down of traffic for the cyclist is not seen as a negative.
The reverse route from Venice to Vega is substantially the same.
The City of Venice fortunately has approved and announced awarding of a contract to extend the cantilevered footbridge by another 170 m / 560 feet, so as to avoid these bottlenecks.