Riding & Walking in Albany – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today, Sunday, April 13 was too pretty a day not to have some “riding in Albany” shots to enjoy. You will know from the foliage that these were not taken today but rather, during the bicycle count on 10/9 and 10/10/13. All are from two of our “killer intersections,” Madison and New Scotland Aves. and Allen-Western-Madison.

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As a significant footnote, Assembly Member Fahy made a left turn off Madison Ave. onto New Scotland Ave. during the count on 10/10/13.

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What’s the Rush?

In December 380 years ago, Harmen Myndersz van den Bogaert set out by foot for Mohawk country to reaffirm a beaver pelt relationship on behalf of the Dutch West India Company. He and his buds, Willem Thomassen and Jeronimus dela Croix, probably followed a path not far from Route 5S and eventually walked almost to Lake Ontario.

In October, 106 years ago, the 1909 Model T rolled off the Piquette Avenue Plant line in Detroit.

In October 8 years ago, a car ran down Alan Fairbanks, 72, while he was crossing Route 5S to continue cycling on the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. Al died in hospital a month later. The photo shows his daughter and grandson setting up Al’s ghost bike. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAl was an experienced cyclist. The precise nature of the collision was never clear. Those who know this highway-trail crossing will attest to its danger. A posted 55 mph would be a minimum.

In both cases, although for different reasons, all these men were going about their business in the Mohawk River Valley.

In May 6 years ago, the Daily Gazette reported that Al’s ghost bike appeared “. . . on the trail the same week Rotterdam officials unveiled the Exit 26 and Interstate 890 land-use and transportation study. An outpouring of concern brought the trail crossing to the forefront of the Capital District Transportation Committee-funded study, even though it wasn’t an intended focus. ‘It’s a bad intersection,’ said Peter Comenzo, the town planner.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today, April 1, 2014, the Albany Times Union reports plans to improve safety by altering the Mohawk Hudson Bike/Hike Trail that runs along this section of Route 5S. Schenectady County plans to spend $148,000 on the project. The County will realign the crossing of the roadway and slow trail (but not highway?) traffic as it approaches the crossing. It will include signs on the trail and roadway to alert travelers. Follow the Times Union link for photos and for information on the public hearing.

Other ghost bikes in the area include the following: Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40, bicyclist killed by impaired driver, on Rt. 22, Petersburg), Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45, bicyclist killed by pickup truck/drunk driver, on Manning and Roosevelt, Albany), Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53, bicyclist killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie), Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40; bicyclist killed by car, on Western Ave. at Homestead, Albany), Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60; bicyclist killed by SUV on Broadway at Quay St., Albany.), Joel Melnikoff – July 3, 2006 (age 49; bicyclist killed by car/drunk, Rt. 32, Bethlehem), David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32; bicyclist killed by car/reckless driver on Riverview Rd., Rexford), and Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43; bicyclist killed by SUV/drunk driver on Rt. 66, Sand Lake). (Notably, at least four of these fatalities were caused by “perps” on drugs, alcohol, or both.)

So . . . whats’ the rush?

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Albany Tweed Ride Returns on April 27

TweedIt’s time for Albany’s third Tweed Ride – Sunday, April 27, 10:00 AM.

Don’t have any tweed? Don’t worry: just dress in your Sunday best and leave the spandex & Day-Glo at home. Meet at The Cheese Traveler, 540 Delaware Ave., 10:00 AM where there will be breakfast specials. We will depart around 10:30 AM. There will be ride marshals to help through intersections and to keep us together. This is a casual ride and is neither fast nor competitive. No one will be left behind.

There will be a group photo shoot in Washington Park after which we will end at Olde English Pub & Pantry at 683 Broadway for brunch. Riders get 10 percent off their orders. Previous Tweed Rides were a lot of (very civilized) fun with friendly people. If you are looking forward to getting back on your bike this spring, and meet some other cycle-friendly people, this could be a good opportunity.

Eric tweed

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Promoting the Pedestrian/Bicycle Pathway ~ Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge

OAlbany Bicycle Coalition is a long-time supporter of the re-establishing a pedestrian/bicycle pathway over the to-be-built Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge. ABC has joined with the Livingston Ave. Rail Road Bridge Coalition and other organizations to support this critical river crossing to include writing to the Governor as follows:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

The planned rebuilding of Albany’s Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge presents a one-time, unique opportunity to provide a pedestrian and bicycle link between both sides of the Hudson River.

Within a very short time, Amtrak, NYSDOT, and other organizations must begin work to replace this aging but critical rail link. We in the Albany Bicycle Coalition, on behalf of pedestrians and cyclists in the Capital Region, are asking your support for one small but key provision: restoration of a walkway/bikeway on the new bridge.

The numerous pedestrian and cycling projects underway throughout the Capital Region will benefit enormously, when connected together by this vital link. One can easily envision both recreational and commuter bicyclists using the link to decrease traffic congestion, promote tourism, reduce pollution, and increase health.

The cost of this minor augmentation to the bridge will be minimal within the project’s scope. By contrast, its impact on economic development, recreation, and environmental quality, will be great and lasting. Local governing bodies and planning commissions have fully endorsed this project, as has Senator Schumer.

We urge your involvement to ensure that residents, commuters, and tourists on both sides of the river can once again have a convenient and safe crossing over the Hudson.

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Barry Wins Bicycle

Long-time Albany Bicycle Coalition member Barry Trachtenberg of Albany won a Raleigh MISCEO 2.0 in the Bicycle Times “mega sweepstakes” as announced in the March 2014 issue. Other winners were in NYS, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Texas.

Raleigh MISCEO 2.0 -- 2-17-14 COMP

(As I recall, to enter the sweepstakes, one has to complete an on-line survey. From the website, it seems a 2014 contest is yet to be announced.)

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