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Albany COMMON COUNCIL Proclaims Bike Month 2015

Albany COMMON COUNCIL Proclaims Bike Month 2015 – Once again, the Common Council of the City of Albany has promoted Albany as the place for people on bicycles by proclaiming May as Bike Month 20. The resolution follows:

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Council Member Golby introduced the following:

Resolution Number 21.42.15R

RESOLUTION OF THE COMMON COUNCIL PROCLAIMING MAY 2015 AS BIKE MONTH IN THE CITY OF ALBANY

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WHEREAS, in 2009, the City of Albany, in partnership with the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) completed a Bicycle Master Plan identifying a network of bicycle routes to improve cycling as a viable mode of transportation throughout the City; and

WHEREAS, in April 2012, the Albany Common Council adopted the “Albany 2030” Comprehensive Plan which supports promoting and implementing the Bicycle Master Plan; and

WHEREAS, the growing network supports a safe and healthy transportation alternative that is paramount to achieving sustainability and enhancing the quality of life in the City; and

WHEREAS, in 2013 the Albany Common Council adopted a Complete Streets Ordinance and the Albany Police Department convened a Traffic Safety Stakeholders’ Committee that is continuing to work and focus on Engineering, Education and Enforcement efforts to promote safer streets for all users of the road; and

WHEREAS, in partnership with CDTC a Complete Streets Guidebook is being drafted, as required by the Complete Streets ordinance; and

WHEREAS, since the inception of the Bicycle Master Plan in 2008, the City of Albany has added or improved 17.4 miles of bicycle infrastructure, which includes multi-use paths, shared use markings (sharrows), signage, and bike lanes throughout the City of Albany; and

WHEREAS, the number of bike racks in Albany have increased to 344 throughout the city with an estimated total of 1446 bicycle parking spaces, all regular route Capital District Transportation Authority buses are equipped with bike racks; and

WHEREAS, each year the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) recognizes bicycle friendly communities with Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze level awards, and recognizes communities that are on the right track with Honorable Mention. The City of Albany received Honorable Mention in 2012 as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” from LAB for efforts to become more bicycle friendly. LAB feedback report stated that they were, “…impressed with the growing commitment to make Albany, NY a great place for bicyclists. The Honorable Mention given by the reviewers reflects their view that some of the key building blocks of creating a Bicycle Friendly Community are in place…;” and

WHEREAS, the LAB feedback report provided numerous recommendations to the City of Albany to make the city more bicycle friendly such as promoting active transportation by reducing traffic speeds, providing “protected bicycle infrastructure, such as cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes or parallel shared use paths” along arterial and collector roads, making intersections safer for bicyclists, and more; and

WHEREAS, in 2014, CDTC implemented the first region-wide “Bike to Work Day Workplace Challenge” where 350 people registered for bike to work day across the region, amounting to over 3,500 bicycle miles, replacing about 148 gallons of fuel, 2,900 lbs. of CO₂, and burning about 159,000 calorie. And, the City of Albany Employees team won in Albany County for having the most riders participate; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor’s Office of Energy & Sustainability was established in 2010 to coordinate energy conservation and efficiency initiatives among the municipal departments and to drive community wide efforts to become a more livable and sustainable city, which includes promoting and supporting  bicycling and other active transportation. The office’s website is http://www.albanysustainability.org; and

WHEREAS, in 2011, the Albany Common Council, recognizing the Livingston Avenue Bridge’s potential to connect a growing network of statewide multi-use trails, including the New York State Canalway Trail, the Albany County Rail Trail, and the proposed Rensselaer County Trail, passed a resolution urging State and Federal partners to re-establish the Livingston Avenue Bridge walkway at such time that the bridge is replaced and

WHEREAS, the League of American Bicyclists, the New York Bicycling Coalition, Capital Coexist, the Albany Police Department, the Albany Bicycling Coalition, and others are promoting greater public awareness of bicycle operation and safety education in an effort to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities for all; and

WHEREAS, the Albany Police Department will participate in “Bike to School Day” and bike rodeos across the city along with the Police Athletic League; and

WHEREAS, Section 152 of the New York State Traffic Law defines “traffic” as “Pedestrians…vehicles, bicycles and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for the purpose of travel;” and

WHEREAS, in summary, three key components of the New York State Traffic Law that relate to bicycling are:

  • Bicyclists must ride with traffic and thus travel in the same direction as motor vehicles.
  • A bicycle is a vehicle and as such must observe all traffic laws and obey all signals, signs, and pavement markings.
  • Bicyclists must signal to turn on a roadway, a bike lane or bike path; and

WHEREAS, there are numerous events to promote bicycling, including: The Earth Day lunch time bike parade on April 22nd, The CDTC “Commuter Workshop” on Thursday April 30th, The Albany Bike Expo 2015 on Sunday, May 3rd, Bike to School Day on May 6th, National Bike-to-Work Day and the Capital Moves Bike to Work Challenge on May 15th, and The Ride of Silence on May 20th;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Albany Common Council hereby proclaims May 2015 as Bike Month in the City of Albany, urges all motorists and bicyclists to follow New York State’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, and share the road respectfully and responsibly.

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To:                  Mr. Nala Woodard, City Clerk

From:              Leah Golby, Council Member

Re:                  Request for Common Council Legislation

Supporting Memorandum

Date:               April 20, 2015

RESOLUTION NUMBER 21.42.15R

TITLE

RESOLUTION OF THE COMMON COUNCIL PROCLAIMING MAY 2015 AS BIKE       MONTH IN     THE CITY OF ALBANY                                                                          

GENERAL PURPOSE OF LEGISLATION

To promote bicycle safety and awareness for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists, and to promote the environmental and health benefits of bicycle riding during bike month and throughout the year.                                                                                                                           

NECESSITY FOR LEGISLATION AND ANY CHANGE TO EXISTING LAW

It is important that members of the public understand bicycle safety. No change to existing law.  

EXPLANATION OF DEADLINE OR REQUESTED TIME FRAME FOR PASSAGE

It is requested that this be passed prior to May to provide ample time to promote May as Bike Month.                 

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Big Weekend – #1 Tour the South End Bikeway Link and #2 Bike EXPO 2015

#1.    Albany’s Past and Present ~ Bicycle Tour of the South End Bikeway Link and Area

Saturday, May 2 – 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

START: Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center –Broadway and Clinton Ave. Free parking in lot behind the Pump Station (Enter on Spencer St. off Broadway). Free event followed by on-your-own social gathering at the Pump Station.

Tour the South End Bikeway Link and some interesting historic sites. In October, the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail will connect Delmar with the South Albany – reaching statewide via the Corning Preserve Bike Path, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, and the Erie and Champlain Canalways. Except for a 1.5-mile gap in the south end. How will all the cyclists/walkers, neighbors/tourists, and south enders/suburbanites connect to this network?

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#2.    5th Annual Albany Bike EXPO 2015

Sunday, May 3 – 10 AM – 4 PM

Raffles and Prizes – Vendors – Entertainment

Lakehouse – Washington Park – Albany

Free Event

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Dead, Dying, and Born Again . . . Plus the Winners

Update on changes and stability in the bicycle magazine world.

Urban Velo – Dead. Urban Velo passed away at issue #45, December 2014 with an all-black cover. ABC fondly recalls that Urban Velo sponsored our showing “Premium Rush,” a 2012 bicycle messenger action-thriller, at the Madison Theater and gave us multiple copies of the magazine and frame stickers. Uraban Velo’s content had been slipping slowly away during 2014 . . .Urban Velo DEAD 12-14 COMP

They closed with this statement: “It has been a good run. . . . Most every city has taken it [cycling facilities] up to some degree, with the best featuring a spider web of lanes and dedicated paths, ample bike parking, and a healthy and diverse bike culture. Large-scale bikeshare was unthinkable not long ago . . . Simply riding a bicycle is hardly countercultural at this point, and there is no doubt that some of the closeness of the relatively under-the-radar city bike culture has gone to the wayside as the pool has gotten larger. The change isn’t without growing pains and nostalgia for the way it was, but the way it is shaping up to be the way we always wanted it to be. It is a good time to be a bicycle believer.”

Read more here.

“Bicycle Times” – Dying. Losing its way. Once editor Karen Brooks departed (abruptly – boom!), “Bicycle Times” seems to be lost in space and seems to be recreating itself as a music and beer mag. Have to watch how this develops. . .

Bicycle Times 2011 COMP

“Bicycling” After years of imagining that everyone on a bicycle wants to be super fast and thin, ride on carbon only, and is rich, “Bicycling” has recognized that there are other markets out there – cargo carriers, commuters, fat-tire fans, parents, e-bike advocates, women, people who can’t spend $12,000 on bicycle No. 26 and $425 for a GPS, and so on. So far, “Bicycling” seems to be hitting a nice mix with the last several issues. Now if they could just get past the cutesy language, the superlatives, and meaningless personal reminiscences in their reviews, we’d be all set.

Bicycling July 13 COMP

And the winners are . . .

“Momentum” – Remains the ultimate “unracer” bicycle magazines for the real world with lots of practical (and some impractical) tips, pointed reviews, great layout, and news for people on bicycles. Well worth the modest subscription price (print – $19.95, digital – $4.99) or pick up a comp copy at the Downtube Bicycle Works.Momenturm Winter 2014 COMP

“Bicycle Quarterly” – The absolute best from a technical viewpoint. No poetic baloney to wade through (like “Bicycling”). Hard hitting reviews, technical competence, clear editorial theme, tremendous photos, great ride stories, and no ads for cars, beer, sex toys, or “Blue Lagoon Skin Care” (again, a la “Bicycling”). Not only are the reviews plainly presented but also the manufacturer is given an opportunity to comment on the review as part of it – great strategy.

Bicycle Quarterly Spring 2014COMP

Special Interest  . . .

Two other special-interest mags are Adventure Cyclist and American Cyclist. Under the editorial leadership of Michael Deme, Adventure Cultist has a nice mix of ride narratives, product reviews, and bike touring tips. American Cyclist, the bi-monthly published presence of the League of American Bicyclists, features legislative/lobby efforts and successes and victories for people on bicycles and promotes education, cycling, bicycle clubs, and the benefits of the cycling lifestyle. Both of these are very well done and are provided as part of membership in the sponsoring advocacy organizations.

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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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Is There Hope for I-787?

tumblr_l3fmm8IrTN1qzl4rno1_500On 3/4/15, the Times Union stated that “Supporters of the effort to give downtown Albany more access to the Hudson River should take heart from what’s happening 300 miles to our west” and then described how Buffalo/Niagara falls is ridding itself of  a 2-mile stretch of parkway to allow enjoyment of the Niagara Gorge and Falls.

Read the complete story here.
Albany now has a chance to right a 50-year-old disaster, the riverside I-787 and return it to a surface street with city-appropriate speed limits, traffic patterns and cross streets.

I-787 is just one of many misguided “all-car-all-the-time” projects that plague Buffalo, Binghamton, Endicott, Syracuse, and other cities across the state and nation – four-lane, limited access highways that cut cities and neighborhoods in half, block views of architecture, lakes and rivers, and add to noise, congestion and crashes.

Depending on which plan is adopted, the I-787 change may cost between $30 million and $50 million.  Not cheap, but there always seems to be plenty of public funds for local motor-centric projects like the following:

  • $99.7 million to add two more motor vehicle lanes to the 7 miles between exists 23 and 24 NYS Thruway ($14 million per mile)
  • $18 million for the fly over etc. on Fuller Road
  • $29 million for the repaving the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge (Kosciusko, 1746 – 1817, Hero of America and Poland)

The paper noted “. . . the Riverfront Arterial, the steel and concrete roadway that became Interstate 787 was part of the massive Empire State Plaza project. Thousands of state employees needed [it] to get in and out every workday. A massive highway system was deemed more important than maintaining access to the scenic Hudson River.”

Stay tuned for public meetings where those who care about a new and lively Albany can speak their piece.

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