Category Archives: Activism

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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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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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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Bicycle Bozo of the Year Award ~ Thomas Barraga

Bicycle Bozo of the Year Award ~ Thomas Barraga

Suburban NY Lawmaker: Ban Bicycling on Long IslandBozo the Clown

The Times Union ran an AP story on February 14, 2014 reporting tasteless and discriminatory comments by my candidate for “Bicycle Bozo of the Year.” Suburban lawmaker “ . . .says it’s too dangerous for people on eastern Long Island to ride bicycles or motorcycles on the street. Suffolk County legislator Thomas Barraga made the claim in a letter to the son of a Long Island woman who was injured by a car while bicycling. Wikipedia reports that he stated in the letter “no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or motorcycle.” Barraga goes on to state that signage and bike lanes would do little to solve the problem, since motorists ignore signs anyway. “Reality at times can be difficult for some to come to grips with but giving false hope would be inappropriate.”

Our own Josh Wilson, executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition says cycling fatalities in Suffolk made up almost 20 percent of the state’s total.

Here’s the whole text from People for Bikes:
January 29, 2014

Dear Mr. Cutrone
Thank you for your recent letter concerning bicycle safety and bicycle lanes. Let me at the outset express the hope that you mother will have a complete recovery from her accident in September while riding a bicycle in West Islip.
I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or a motorcycle. I cannot tell you how many constituents over the years have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise. I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen – 90 percent of those people eventually were hit by an automobile many like your mother with serious physical injuries.
I have heard the suggestion of bicycle lanes and additional signage but unfortunately this would do little to solve the problem. Suffolk County is a suburban automobile community—drivers expect to see other drivers on the road not bicyclists and motorcyclists. Even in those areas outside of Suffolk County where a portion of the road is for bicyclists—they still get hit by motorists. Signage has limited effects—there are currently 135 signs between Montauk Highway and Sunrise Highway on Higbie Lane and Udall Road—most of them are ignored by drivers.
Reality at a time can be difficult for some to come to grips with but giving false hope would be inappropriate.
Signed: Thomas Barraga

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