Category Archives: City Review

PreRamble II ~ or ~ “I’m Movin’ to Troy!”

???????????????????????????????After a mandatory stop at the Troy Famers Market for a chocolate croissant and the Daily Grind for a mug of coffee, it was off to see what Troy Bike Rescue and “Transport Troy” were up to with “PreRamble II.”

Like all Troy cycling events, this had a wide range of activities – rides, walking tours, tune-up clinics, food, and entertainment.  Always a grand time!

Starting from the repair clinic on River St. and the TBR/Collar City Ramble info table, there was a series of short but inspiring orientation rides on a segment of the proposed “Collar City Ramble,” which, when done, will be an all-access network of multi-use trails, walkways, and bikeways.???????????????????????????????

During the dark hours the night before, a group of Transport Troy volunteers installed bicycle lanes, shared lanes, and a 12-foot wide protected bicycle lane (cycle track) on city streets going south from Monument Square.  Although a short sample route, it clearly showed that (1) the streets used have ample space for the different proposed treatments, (2) shared lane were property used as a connector between bicycle facilities, and (3) installation can be done at reasonable cost without the need for years of planning and deliberation – just the application of some common sense.  What a joy to ride!  Riding on the two-way cycle track on a two-way street illustrated that what is planned for Madison Ave. in Albany is do-able.

All in all a great day and great testimony to the energy of our colleagues in Troy.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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Filed under Activisim, City Review, protected bicycle lanes

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, and 11-12-foot lanes for motor vehicles.  Unlike the bicycle lanes on Clinton Ave. and the shared lane symbols elsewhere in the city, these on Northern Blvd. are spayed “epoxy” paint???????????????????????????????

 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 calm traffic and encourage more people to commute on bicycles.???????????????????????????????

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Filed under Bike Lanes, City Review

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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Filed under Activism, City Review, Local Bike Rides

Riding in Albany – The Days Are Getting Longer

Since 12/22 marks the beginning of our return to longer, warmer, snow-free days, here are some “riding (and yakking) in Albany” scenes from last August’s “Latino Festival” in Washington Park to keep us all focused.

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Filed under City Review, Events, Local Bike Rides

College of St. Rose Picks Up on ABC Position on Madison Avenue Traffic Calming

The College of St. Rose “Chronicle” nicely picked up on the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming letter ABC sent to Albany Police Department’s Traffic Engineering. ABC voiced support for the “traffic calming” proposals put forth but asked that the bicycle lanes be six (not five) feet wide. This sentiment was echoed in the article by recently re-elected (in the face of anti-bicycle lanes backlash) 10th Ward Common Council Member Leah Golby.

History buffs – and bicycle and pedestrian advocates looking for support for their own cause – will enjoy the comments by City Historian Tony Opalka about the “transposition powerhouse of the day” (the canal lobby) banning railroads from crossing the Great Western Turnpike (Western and Madison Aves.). If you ratchet up the dates to the present and the contenders (motor vehicle/big petro/big construction lobbies vs. cyclists and pedestrians) you’ll see that we are in the same fix today – those who have a right to locomotion are constrained by road and street design from exercising that right in safety.bike-in-traffic

The Text of the ABC letter follows:

Since April 16, 2013 when Creighton-Manning presented its suggested Madison Ave. “road diet” treatments for Madison Ave., the Albany Bicycle Coalition has considered many different approaches, and has concluded that there is only one that maximizes bicyclist safety, and would, therefore, encourage new cyclists. That approach is a modified “Option C” (in-road bicycle lanes), with the bicycle lanes widened to six feet to provide a sufficient safety margin.

By way of explanation, ABC’s goals remain firmly as follows:

• Calm Traffic on Madison Ave. – For the benefit of cyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and motorists.
• Make Madison Ave. the City’s Main East-West Bicycle Corridor – Of our three radial streets, only the Madison-Western Ave. combination offers all the desired benefits without negative impact on other street users. It has all the major destinations and connects easily with all major cross streets. With its expected continuation east to the river and west to Guilderland, it will be the heart of the long-needed “river-to-Fuller” bicycle route.

The consulting engineer’s Madison Ave. traffic calming study suggested only three options to meet the goals of that road diet. The suggested options (with ABC annotations) are as follows:

A. Shared Lanes in Travel Lanes – This option is unsuited to most cyclists. While shared lane have been installed elsewhere in the city to great benefit, their use on Madison Ave. would undercut the goal of its being a major route suited to cyclists of all skill levels.
B. Shared Lanes in Parking Lanes – This option seems to be used rarely elsewhere and exacerbates the potential for collisions between cyclists and opening doors of parked vehicles. ABC members who have ridden these “parking-bicycle lanes” found them unsuitable. This option should be considered only as a last resort.
C. Five-Foot Bicycle Lanes – This is the preferred of the three options. However, we believe that five-foot lanes would deter many would-be cyclists. The margin of safety with five-foot bicycle lanes is just not sufficient.

Thus, these three options have extremely limited potential for bringing new cyclists onto the streets. Options A and B might be suitable for experienced cyclists, but those cyclists are already accustomed to riding on streets with no bicycling features at all.

The overarching goal for the City of Albany is to build cycling infrastructure that will attract current non-riders, as well as those who hesitate to ride on the street with motorized traffic. Only by working toward this goal can we realize lower pollution, more parking, less traffic congestion, more public safety, improved health, and increased pedestrian use of the streets.

Consistent with that goal, our position is that a modified Option C – with wider bike lanes – is the best way to bring about the city’s objectives:

• The consulting engineer’s Option C consists of five-foot bicycle lanes located at the right side of the travel lane, adjacent to the parking lane.
• However, based on our extensive experience, five feet is not sufficient to protect cyclists from car doors, and from wide commercial vehicles parked at the curb.
• Therefore, we propose that the bicycle lanes be a minimum of six feet wide. Our design obtains the extra two feet (total) by subtracting approximately eight inches from each of the three motor vehicle drive lanes.

These modifications are feasible and justifiable. They vastly improve the safety of Option C, and they preserve the intent of the consulting engineer’s proposal. If implemented, they will provide a safe, inviting, Madison-Western east-west bicycle corridor that the city needs in order to become a real bicycling community.

We look forward to working with you and other project staff and supporters to realize the development of the Madison Ave. bicycle route.

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Filed under Activism, Bicycle Boulevards, City Review, Support the Cause