Category Archives: Editorial

Every Day is a Good Day

What better way to recover from a hot day of doing user counts on the Erie Canalway Trail/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail than a hot coffee and a snicker doodle at the Brakes on Lark?

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Trail Count & Survey

After the sun shifts a little, the outdoor seating is a perfect spot to (see earlier post) to capture some images for Albany Bicycle Coalition’s“riding in Albany” scrapbook.

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Patio at Brakes

But wait – just when leaving Brakes, who should appear but Natalie, the owner/chef at Tapasia – an Asian tapas soon to open on the lower level in the Brakes building. Natalie described her riding experiences in Chicago where she lived for some time – and contrasted them with the scary situation she found in Albany – riding to the HWFC, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and so on. Natalie was enthusiastic about the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming Protected Bicycle Lanes project, as it will help her new venture.

Asian Tapas on Lark 001

Never idle, Natalie and husband – who has extensive experience riding in Burlington with its pedestrian “mall” on Church St. and who asked when Lark St. would be car free – stopped at the Protected Bicycle Lane Coalition sign-up table in front of Upstate Artists Guild on 1st Friday.

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Protected Lane Sign Up – Have You?

UAG hosted the Protected Bicycle Lane Coalition booth on both the 7/3 and 7/7 1st Fridays as part of its community support mission and to enhance walk ability of the City of Albany.

But wait again – Brakes is now complemented by the new Healthy on Lark vegan restaurant (in the old ‘Lil Buddha spot). At both spots, you’ll find great food and a pleasant atmosphere.

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Healthy on Lark

Sharon, the owner/chef at Healthy on Lark is no newcomer to healthy living with this expansive mission: “Healthy In A Hurry” motivates and supports clients to define a personal vision of optimum health and begin living the life they truly crave. We assist you to turn off auto-pilot and make conscious daily choices that impact your health: food choices, exercise routines, self-care choices, and sleep habits.”

But wait some more – The well-established Hudson River Coffee House at Quail and Hudson is now branching to Delaware Ave. in the former Tierra/Ultra Violet site next to one of Albany’s gems, the Spectrum 8 Theater. Once again, a nice dinner with a movie to follow will make a nice “evening out.” Hudson River Coffee House opened in 2010. Owner/operator Anton Pasquill, who expressed enthusiasm about coming to Delaware, will bring his years of experience to remodel and operate the new location. He even bought a motor vehicle!

It’s just too much to absorb . . .

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Filed under Editorial, First Friday

Tips from the “Land Down Under”

Catherine Deveny’s 5 Tips For Stylish Cycling, By Claire Wilson @styleshespoke, February 28, 2014

 SOURCE: http://styleshespoke.com/719/catherine-devenys-5-tips-for-stylish-cycling/

Intro – Melbourne comedian Catherine Deveny only started riding seriously in 2010 when she got what she describes as an “old Dutch grandmother style bike.” She says that this bike changed her life, not only because it made her want to ride, but because it made her want to find gorgeous frocks to go with it.

She prefers to cruise about town in 1940s inspired floral, accessorised in red to go with her polka dot panniers and black Lekker step-through.

To the ever-pragmatic Catherine Deveny, however, cycle style is less about what you are wearing and more about how you act on the road – a sentiment that I applaud wholeheartedly. So, without further adieu, here are Ms Deveny’s 5 tips for stylish cycling [Ed: #3 is the best]:

5. Look hot – It is a simple truth that when you look hot people are going to notice you faster, which is excellent news if you want to be seen by drivers.

4. Be predictable – Use hand signals, get into the turning lane early, and just generally let other road users know what you are up to. A confused driver will get flustered and angry whereas one who can tell what you are doing (and gets a smile and a wave of thanks into the bargain) will have a smile on their face.

3. Assume you’re invisible – It’s undeniably true that bikes are harder to spot than cars, so it’s safest to assume that other road users probably haven’t seen you. For me this translates to keeping my hand on the brake lever at all times and a constant eye on the road conditions.

2. Maintain your line – Swerving all about the place is going to contradict rule #4, it is also going to freak out drivers in much the same way as a herd of kangaroos – you just don’t know when one of those things is going to smack into your bonnet. Choose a line, signal your intention, and don’t change your mind.

1. Own the road – It’s official, bike riders have every right to own their lane. While this doesn’t mean obstinately riding in the middle of the road wherever you go, it does mean riding in the middle of the lane when you believe it would be unsafe for a car to pass you or where the risk of being car doored is high. If you have stuck to rule #5 and look hot then any driver shouldn’t mind cruising behind you for a while. 

SOURCE: http://styleshespoke.com/719/catherine-devenys-5-tips-for-stylish-cycling/

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Filed under City Review, Editorial

“All Cars All the Time” ~ Albany Bike Count, 5/20/15, 3:30-5:30 PM, Delaware & Morton

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Even though Delaware, Morton, and Holland Avenues all technically have bicycle “accommodations” (shared lanes), 62 percent of the adults riding through the intersection were on the sidewalk and crosswalks. Perhaps here is why (based on the “Bike Count Location Feedback Form” responses):

  • Where there an obstacles/negative conditions effecting bicycle travel? – Absence of any bicycle infrastructure.
  • Were there any incidents or close calls between bicyclists/pedestrians/motorists?
    • Yes, between bicyclists and pedestrians – Due to people on bicycles riding on the sidewalks/crosswalks who were weaving through people walking and waiting for buses.
    • Yes, between bicyclists and motorists – Many people on bicycles had difficulty wending their way through the motor vehicle congestion in the intersection without some quick avoidance maneuvers. This was by those riding the correct way in the roadway. For those riding on the sidewalk/crosswalks, they were the source of their own problem.
  • Were there any cases of bicyclists disobeying traffic laws? – Yes. Adults riding on the sidewalk in conflict with local law – apparently to avoid the heavy motor vehicle traffic on Delaware Ave. and Morton/Holland Aves.
  • Based on your observations (and experiences), do you have any additional feedback regarding bicycling in Albany? – The City of Albany has to get serious about implementing its 2009 Albany Bicycle Master Plan. Since the plan was approved, only two sections (totaling one mile) of bicycle lanes have been installed. There are no Protected Bicycle Lanes.

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Filed under Bike Lanes, City Review, Editorial

Resolutions for People on Bicycles

Resolutions for people on bicycles who want to promote a positive image of cycling are probably best left for when the weather is more conducive for getting out on the streets.tumblr_mt3biqgEoE1qblohxo1_1280

So, here goes –

 I will –

  1.  Obey the law – stop for signs and signals especially when setting an example for people in cars or on foot . . .  and stay off the sidewalks
  2. Lube my chain and check my tires
  3. Check that my brakes work
  4. Be deferential to all pedestrians no matter how crazily they act
  5. Smile and say “good morning,” “good afternoon,” etc. to everyone I meet while riding
  6. Shop locally at locally owned businesses who hire local people and pay a fair wage
  7. Speak out on behalf of people on bicycles in a polite and non-confrontational manner
  8. Signal my stops, scan and signal my turns, and make eye contact with people in cars and on foot
  9. Support my local bike rescue and bicycle shops
  10. Wave and smile to those in cars who are bothered by my presence on a bicycle on my streets (no “one finger waves,” s.v.p.)

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Month, Editorial

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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Filed under Activism, Editorial