Category Archives: Activism

John J. Cummings, Bicyclist, Run Down from Behind and Killed

Richard Whalen, 75, of Amsterdam, driving a 2008 Subaru, ran down from behind and killed bicyclist John J. Cummings in Glenville as he rode his bike along Amsterdam Rd., on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Go here.John Cummings 1-27-16

And here’s the full list of area people killed while on their bicycles (note causes) –

John J. Cummings – January 27, 2016 (age 65) Bicyclist run down from behind and killed, Amsterdam Rd., Glenville

Robert Agne, DVM – September 7, 2015 (age 54) Bicyclist killed by sleeping driver who crossed centerline, Rt. 30 Pawlet, VT)

Stephen Nolan – June 2, 2014 (age 53) Bicyclist 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)

Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45) Bicyclist killed by drunken driver/pickup truck, Manning Blvd. & Roosevelt St., 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, Western Ave. at Homestead Ave., Albany)Diva with Dog COMP

Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72) Bicyclist hit by car/died, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam)Fairbanks 6 (Susan + Patrick Briggs)  5-9-08

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 drunken driver, Rt. 32, Bethlehem)

David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32) Bicyclist killed by reckless driver, Riverview Rd., Rexford)

Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43) Bicyclist killed by drunken driver/SUV, Rt. 66, Sand Lake)

Leave a comment

Filed under Ghost Bikes, Ride of Silence

Whack the Walker …

Box Score = 7

  1. 1/14/16 – Colleen A. Burke, 69, of Saratoga Springs used her Mini Cooper to strike Damon E. Hinchcliff, 40 of Clifton Park who was crossing Rt. 9 near the Saratoga Springs city line at 8:41 pm.
  2. 1/8/16 – Motor vehicle hit and killed a 79-year-old man who was crossing State St. and Veeder Ave., Schenectady.
  3. 1/4/16 – Car traveling west on Columbia Tpk. left the roadway, ran over road signs, and killed Paul Greene, 50, of Rensselaer who was standing on the shoulder.
  4. 12/14/15 – Van hit and caused fatal injuries to Paul Williman, 75, of Troy, who was crossing Hoosick St., Troy.

    The Force Be With You

    May the Force Be With You

  5. 12/9/15 – Motor vehicle struck and killed Jodey Farrell, 81, as she made her way to a bus stop on Van Rensselaer Blvd., Menands.
  6. 12/6/15 – Motor vehicle fatally hit Marine Corps veteran Zachary Unser, 2009 graduate of Colonie Central High, who was walking across Central Ave., Colonie at Osborne Rd.
  7. 12/6/15 – Maria Lentini of Saratoga Springs struck and killed Patrick Duff with her SUV. Duff, 30, of Clifton Park, died on Rt. 9, Halfmoon. Lentini, 30, was charged with leaving the scene of the accident and first-degree reckless endangerment, both felonies.

SOURCES: Albany Times Union with special thanks to columnist Chris Churchill who seems to be the singular voice supporting roadway sanity.

Ed Note – Of the three “Es” of traffic safety – Engineering, Education, and Enforcement – only the first is of real consequence. The roads and streets we have where people get run down and killed or injured did not land here from Mars – they were proposed, approved, designed, and built by the New York State Department of Transportation and by county and city highway departments. The excessive lane widths, absence of pedestrian “bump outs” and refuges, poor signalization, and obliterated markings are all planned conscious acts and decisions. You can “educate” and “enforce” all day long but if the streets are planned to encourage speeding, lane changing, right (and even left and straight) after pause, and so on, these efforts will be of momentary effect. Passing out flyers and posting signs or telling pedestrians to wear reflective clothing are all nice but not a solution.

 If you are content with this, just change the channel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activism, City Review, Death on the Road, Riding in Albany

What’s Goin’ On? Albany County Public Meeting on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

lbany County Public Meeting on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail –  1/12/16

Albany County hosted an informational meeting for the public on the status of the new Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. The speakers were representatives from the Albany County Executive’s office. Albany Bicycle Coalition members compiled the following notes.

Phase III – Veterans Park, Delmar to S. Pearl St., Albany is nearing completion and will ave a ribbon cutting ceremony in the spring of 2016. Paving is now complete.

Things that held up the opening were shoring up of the creek issues that cost an extra $350,000 and the Delaware Ave. Bridge that took longer than anticipated (see photo).


A Hard, Ditty, Long Job at Delaware Ave Bridge

Minor things still to be completed – Fencing along trail, “gateway entrances” with kiosks, signage, etc. at Booth Rd. and other places. Mileage markers will be installed every half mile.

Cost of phase I, $3.2 million, 80% federal, 20% county

Parking in Delmar is limited at present (pointed out by members of the public). The county responded that it did not anticipate how many people would drive to the trail; they assumed that in Delmar, users would be walking or biking to the trail. The county will have to look into it.

At S. Pearl St., work is in progress on pedestrian crossing signals.

No garbage cans planned at present, due to extra expense required to cart trash away.

No good Rockefeller Rd. access at this time. They are “looking” at it. Possibly, there could be a winding path from the road down to the path. No new bridge will be built to replace the demolished bridge, as it is too expensive.

Phase II – Slingerlands Fire Department to Veterans Park, Delmar) – 9,000 foot long. Have money for paving a 3,000 foot section in 2016. The town and county are negotiating on the remaining 6,000 ft. It should be completed in the fall of 2016.

A parking lot is planned near the Slingerlands firehouse trailhead. A trailhead will also be at Adams St., Delmar. Both sites will have kiosks and signage.


Rough Paving Done

Phase I – Voorheesville to Upper Font Grove Rd.) (Upper Font Grove Rd. to Slingerlands Fire Dept) – Apparently there is some kind of funding to have the section between Voorheesville and Upper Font Grove Rd. paved by 2017. The section between Upper Font Grove Rd. and the fire dept is still up in the air for two reasons: the bridge over New Scotland Ave. and a homeowner that has property on the trail near the bridge. The bridge is a significant problem. It is in poor shape, and the area has poor drainage. Unfortunately, the bridge cannot just be eliminated in the unlikely event that the route ever reverted to the railroad; the bridge must be left intact.

Common complaints heard included the following: landowner complaining that people are coming on to his land; conditions on the trail itself (e.g., water flooding onto the trail between Rockefeller Rd. and the bridge over the Normanskill); unleashed dogs on the trail; lack of dedicated parking near trail; and one instance where someone saw a motor vehicle on the trail at night in Voorheesville.


Clear Cutting for Cars

Other things mentioned were that there will be an archeological dig on the south side of the trail on the Albany side (Native American site?). There may be a celebration on July 16, more news to follow. One person asked about any plans for the much-needed South End Bikeway Link to the Corning Preserve/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. The response was that there isn’t any plan. Note – While the county isn’t taking it on, the City of Albany has Capital District Transportation Committee funding for a feasibility study which is in process according to the City of Albany at the 1/12/16 Capital District Transportation Committee Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting. One of the county people mentioned that the first meeting is at the end of this month, January.

Did you know there is no law that prohibits motor vehicles from accessing the trail? It has to be enacted at the local level and it hasn’t yet (can’t make this stuff up).

There are no further phases in the pipeline. The railroad still owns the rest of the route going north to Altamont.

Policing – The County said that it is difficult to police the trail. It simply recommended calling 911 to report issues. A Town of Bethlehem representative said that they do conduct some patrols.

Publicity – A county representative said he didn’t think a special publicity campaign is necessary. One person disagreed stating that there are paved bike paths near Albany that he discovered only by accident or via Google Maps.

Leave a comment

Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, South End Bike Link

Parking Day in the City of Albany ~ PBLs Forever!

Green Lane in Albany – Fri, 9/18/15, 11 AM – 4 PM

The Protected Bicycle Lane Coalition and Albany Bicycle Coalition coordinated on a Protected Bicycle Lanes demonstration project as part of “Parking Day” in the City of Albany. Our exhibit was coordinated with Parks & Trails New York that had a campsite set up just at the end of the PBL green lane. This suggests that acceptable in-city facilities for people on bicycles will enhance there access to parks and trails that surround our urban areas.  PTNY was also promoting its “Close the Gaps” initiative to have all on-road portions of the Erie Canalway Trail replace by trails for by the time of the bicentennial of the beginning of Erie Canal construction – July 4, 2017.

“Parking Day” is to illustrate alternative uses for street space – uses other than as a tax-subsidized, frequently free place for people to store their motor vehicles.

The Details:

Thanks to Jim’s inventive genius and Rossana’s artistry with sidewalk chalk, ABC+PBLC had a credible full-scale Protected Bicycle Lane demonstration project on Washington Ave. on Parking Day, 9/18/15.

From 11 AM until around 3:30 PM, Claire, Jim, and Rossana were on duty to greet the visitors and explain how PBLs “work.” We were impressed with the number of positive comments – “way to go,” “I agree with this,” “good idea,” “when are we going to have these in Albany,” and so on from the many passersby.

We also noted several questions about the new Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and how it will be accessed from Delmar, Voorheesville, and Albany.

Photos Below –

Official schedule:

  • Friday
  • September 18
  • Event: 11 am – 4 pm

#1 – Jim demonstrating his “Mark I – Corn Starch Lane Builder.” We experimented with different exit hole sizes in the trough. Several passes were need followed by a gentle brooming to get the material spread evenly and into the surface depressions.

Mark I – Corn Starch Lane Builder

Mark I – Corn Starch Lane Builder

#2 – The full lane covering three parking spaces of about 20 ft each.

5-ft lane with buffer

5-ft lane with buffer

#3 – Rossana tries out the PBL – so secure that she felt no need for a helmet. Note entryway. The lane is “NATCO-regulation” 5 ft wide with a 3 ft buffer consisting of paint (chalk) and PVC delimiters. (As a result, we are just outside the 7 ft. Albany standard parking lane.


Trail Run!

#4 – After a relaxed, safe ride, Rossana arrives at her camping place, courtesy of Parks & Trails New York and just in time for the ever-vigilant Time Warner Cable News reporter to record this first-time event in Albany.


Safe Arrival at Camp

Leave a comment

Filed under Activism, protected bicycle lanes

A Beautiful Day in Troy


PreRamble HQ

Once again, Transport Troy, Troy Bike Rescue, the Better Bicycling Bureau, and the PreRamble organization hoisted an exciting Saturday full with events.

One whole block of Second St. was blocked for a PreRamble booth, children’s riding skills area (fun for adults too), free bicycle parking, a TBR fixit booth with helmet give away, and so on.

The pictures tell just part of the story.

There were “expert” and causal escorted rides to give guests a taste of the proposed ”Collar City Ramble” which visited hidden trails, scenic overlooks, city parks, and lesser-known green spaces amidst the urban fabric of Troy.

The good news is that work is planned to begin at the Rt. 378/Menands/South Troy bridge to connect the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (via the easy-to-climb “serpent’) to the heart of Troy with bicycle lanes (and, where no room, shared lanes) and signage. A key feature of this year’s event were intersections decorated to facilitate use by all road users – to step out of the “all cars/all the time” paradigm that has dominated our streets for the past 65 years – check ‘em out.

Sage College Crosswalk
Sage College Crosswalk
First Street
First Street
Young Lade With Her Like-New Bicycle

Young Lade With Her Like-New Bicycle

Free Parking - 20 Bicycles Instead of ONE Car

Free Parking – 20 Bicycles Instead of ONE Car


An Expert Completes the Course

ABC Shows Its Colors

ABC Shows Its Colors

Fulton and Fourth

Fulton and Fourth

Leave a comment

Filed under Activism