Category Archives: Activism

Ride of Silence 2105 – Wed, 5/20, 6:00 and 6:30 PM

Please attend the annual and national Ride of Silence on this Wednesday, May 20. Your participation honors cyclists killed or injured in collisions with automobiles. Our silence during the ride promotes safety awareness and mutual respect on the road. We will visit the ghost bike sites in the City of Albany and Colonie.

There are two Starting Points – Boat Launch area, Albany Corning Preserve, 6:00 PM and W. Capitol Park & Washington Ave. & State St., 6:30 PM.

Anyone with a bicycle and helmet is welcome to this slow-pace and quiet ride. If you prefer not to ride, please meet at Diva De Loayza’s site at the corner of Western Ave., Homestead, and University Place (near Sunoco station, the Uncommon Grounds plaza, and All Saints RC Church).

Diva with Dog COMPFairbanks 6 (Susan + Patrick Briggs)  5-9-08Please remember your fellow riders:

  • Stephen Nolan – June 2, 2014 (age 53, killed by car, King & Federal Sts., Troy)
  • Brian Bailey – March 11, 2014 (age 37, bicyclist killed by truck, Route 9W, Ravena)
  • Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40, bicyclist killed by impaired driver, Rt. 22, Petersburg)Matthew Ratelle 10-26-72 -- 12-20-12 C
  • Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45, bicyclist killed by pickup truck/drunk driver, Manning and Roosevelt, Albany)

Paul J. Merges Jr 11-24-12

  • 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, Western Ave. at Homestead, Albany)
  • Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72; bicyclist died after being hit by car, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam)
  • Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60; bicyclist killed by SUV, 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, Riverview Rd., Rexford)
  • Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43; bicyclist killed by SUV/drunk driver, Rt. 66, Sand Lake)

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Filed under Activism, Ride of Silence

People on Bicycles – Welcome to Albany!

The City of Albany recently installed bicycle lanes on Northern Blvd. at Rt. 377/Van Rensselaer Blvd.  This is one of the major entries to the city.  The new lanes run from Van Rensselaer Blvd. to the Rt. 9 overpass.  The understanding from Albany Police Department’s Division of Traffic Safety is that, at some point, the lanes will be extended on into the city passing Memorial Hospital, a couple charter schools, and the (former) Livingston Middle School (being converted into residences).

??????????????????????????????? A closer look shows 5+ foot paved shoulders, 6 foot bicycle lanes, 12-foot right-hand (inside) lane on the south-east side (11 on the north-west side), and a left (outside) lane of about 11 feet.

Installation of the new lanes comes after a long dry spell since lanes were put in on Clinton Ave. (from Ten Brock to Lexington).  The Northern Blvd. area has always been a challenging ride.  The presence of the bicycle lanes should cause some traffic calming and may encourage more people to commute on bicycles.???????????????????????????????

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Filed under Activism, Bike Lanes, City Review

Breaking the Ice – Ride #1 South End Bikeway Link

PRE-RIDE – We kicked off the monthly series of planned orientation rides on the proposed South End Bikeway on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Nine intrepid riders – with the youngest being 18 months old – met under the (pounding) I-787 at the Boat Launch/Row Center in the Albany Corning Preserve. We started with a League of American Bicyclists mini “Safe Cycling” course sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition. We had several adults and one youth for the class which featured a description of the full course, helmet selection and fit, pre-ride “ABC Quick check of our bicycles,” signaling, “rock dodge,” and scanning (to the rear).

HEADING OUT – Leaving from the start of the Erie Canalway Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, we headed along the current multi-use pathway to the central parking area where we learned about the $8-million Albany Corning Preserve project and the proposed South End Bikeway Link. He pointed out the “flyover” – an adaptive re-use of an unneeded I-787 ramp into a multi-use “high line-like” parkway for people on bicycles and on foot. This would connect the waterfront to Clinton Ave. as well as to the bike-hike path over the new Livingston Avenue Bridge that, in turn, would open a water-level route to Rensselaer and to S. Troy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A LITTLE ICE – With temps in the high teens, we were bound to, and did, encounter a few icy spots but a little walking or a steady had on the bars got us through that so when we arrived at our next orientation spot at the Slater we were all nicely warmed up. At the Slater, we looked at the terminus of the Albany County path and then to the 1.8-mile on-street gap separating us from the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail head on S. Pearl.

TERMINUS – With the sun getting warmer and warmer, we headed south past the choke point at the U-Haul on Broadway toward Island Creek Waterfront Park (with its potential as a spot where people can begin their rides or walks) where we again paused to look at the planned off-street crossing, the Island Creek Waterfront Park, the UA Alumni Row Center, and the proposed full-service marina on Broadway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA LITTLE HISTORY – Just before the rough-and-tumble railroad crossing, we looked at the reported site of Fort Nassau, the tank bombs, and the off/on ramps for I-787, one of which will be the protected bicycle lanes for the South End Bikeway Link. We swung around to western ramp, noted the super wide shoulder, and went on to S. Pearl. We stopped at Mt. Hope Drive to hear about Ezra Prentiss, Joel Rathbone, and other historical notables who lived in or settled the area. We learned about the now-vanished Kenwood village and gained an appreciation for the powerful history of the immediate area and how it will enrich the SEBL’s value for all. We observed how critical would be enhanced signalization at Mt. Hope and Pearl to facilitate people crossing form the west side of S. Pearl (from the 2-way cycle track) to the I-787 ramp, one lane of which will become the protected bicycle lanes.

CRAZY STREET – While heading toward the end of our tour, even the experienced road riders noted the aggressive, on-your-tail, outta-my-way behavior of the people in cars and trucks and how meaningless the shared lane markings and “share the road” signs were in helping us along. In covering the route, we noted with sadness the loss of life – Jose Perez (2006) and Qazir Sutherland (2013) in the very streets we are trying to bypass on our preferred route. This enhances the urgency for protected bicycle lanes by this fall in time for the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail opening.

START HERE – At the intersection of South and Old South Pearl, we looked at the railroad overpass, the area of the planned 12-car parking lot, and the to-be-closed pedestrian tunnel under the roadbed. Crossing under the railroad overpass, we swung onto Binghamton St., went to the end, and learned about the Mohawk and the Mohicans. While we did not spot the promised bald eagle, we did see a red-tailed hawk.

TANK BOMBS – At this point, we made our way speedily back on our route, using the eastern I-787 ramp. Our plans to return via Broadway were dashed by the stopped fleet of DOT 111s on the crossing. We noted sadly that yet another 103-tanker train had yet another derailment in Illinois. With 34,500 gallons in each car, the explosion/conflagration caused evacuations in a one-mile radius where the Galena River joins the Mississippi. (By the way, if about half of those gallons was converted to gasoline [the rest being waste, heating oil, spillage, plastic bottles, etc.] an Escalade could go 1,326 miles – well worth it Commissioner Martens!) In any case, we returned to our starting point via Quay St.

For info, go to:

https://www.facebook.com/albanybikewaylink

https://www.flickr.com/albanybikewaylink

https://www.twitter.com/albanybikeway

https://www.facebook.com/albanybikewaylink

 

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Filed under Activisim, Bicycle Boulevards, Bike Lanes, Rides, South End Bike Link

Albany Ride of Silence – 5/21/14

A group of 18 riders toured the sites of the local ghost bikes to commemorate the 2014 Ride of Silence.

We visited Jose Perez (August 3, 2006 – age 60; killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany), Diva De Loayza (June 6, 2007 – age 40; killed by car, Western Ave. at Homestead, Albany), Nicholas Richichi (October 19, 2007 – age 53, killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie), and Paul J. Merges, Jr. (November 24, 2012 – age 45, killed by pickup truck/drunk driver, Manning and Roosevelt, Albany). The placement of decorations at each site is depicted in the photos (with the lead photo being Paul and Diva’s ghost bikes that accompanied the ride).
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The ghost bikes within the Albany city limits have been removed.)

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Month, Ghost Bikes

Bread & Honey and Traffic Calming Too

The new Bread and Honey bagel, bread, and coffee shop at 809 Madison Ave. hosted a recent meeting on Madison Avenue Traffic Calming. Bread & Honey 4-18-14 COMPThe proprietor, Naomi, having had a near-death experience in the “Bermuda Triangle” (intersection of Quail and Madison Ave.), was very interested in the proposed re-do of Madison Ave.

This is an expected response from small business owners who can only benefit from slower traffic, more bicycles, and more pedestrians. Her interest was amplified by having been one of many with a bad Madison Ave. experience.

A delicious Bread and Honey bagel and coffee suggests that there will be many more visits. One authoritative member of the group also attested to the baguettes’ deliciousness.

The staff says that a bicycle rack is in the plans (a convenient fence is just east of the shop) and that a shop sign will be installed soon.

Gimme Coffee rectangle 4-19-14 COMPAs a bonus, Bread and Honey is the exclusive local vendor for Gimme! coffee, a roaster and wholesaler with retail outlets in Ithaca, Brooklyn, Trumansburg, and Manhattan – and now Albany. Here’s a little promo from their website: “Gimme! espresso bars are found in New York City and Upstate New York. We served our first shot of “world-class neighborhood coffee to go” in 2000 at our Cayuga Street [Ithaca] location. Since then, we’ve opened a few small cafes, usually favoring worn spaces that call for a little revitalization. Each place feels “like a Gimme!” while showing its own local style. We’ve been amazed and inspired by how neighborhoods come alive and people come together when there’s a new gathering place on the block.”

Bread and Honey is just west of Quail St. on the north side of Madison so stop in a support your local business.

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Filed under Activism, Feature, Support the Cause