Category Archives: Support the Cause

Articles dealing with bicycle advocacy and what people can do about it.

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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The First Step toward “20 in Plenty”?

Up until today, the only “20 MPH” signs in the City of Albany of which one would be aware are in school “zones” and at the recreation field/Hoffman Park. The two images are from the Willet/Madison entrance to Washington Park, 10/13/13.

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Maybe this is the start . . . of “20 is Plenty” in Albany . . .

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Madison Ave. Traffic Calming & NYS DOT Transportation Enhancement

The Albany Bicycle Coalition provided a letter of support for the City of Albany’s application for NYS DOT Transportation Enhancement Program funds to assist with the “Madison Avenue Road Diet.” The letter follows:Cycling - Madison 8-16-13 COMP

August 16, 2013

Ms. Joan McDonald
Commissioner
New York State Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12205

Dear Ms. McDonald:

The Albany Bicycle Coalition unequivocally supports the Madison Ave. Road Diet application for the Transportation Enhancements Program. This will allow for restriping, traffic light retiming, paving, and constructing cycling and walking enhancements. The Madison Ave. Road Diet consistently has had strong community interest. With completion of the feasibility study and with appropriate funding, the City and the community are prepared to move forward with a new, calmed Madison Ave.

The City of Albany completed a Bicycle Master Plan in December 2009. It identified Madison Ave. as a “Major Bikeway” needing infrastructure improvements for all bicycle riders. With its current configuration of two travel lanes in each direction, the existing roadway simply cannot function as a major bikeway.

The proponents of the plan believe a road diet will have multiple advantages, included but not limited to increased safety for all, more efficient traffic flow, improved access between uptown and downtown, and reduction in emissions from motorized vehicles.

We strongly support the Madison Ave. Road Diet application for the Transportation Enhancements Program to assist with the restriping, light retiming, paving, and bicycle and pedestrian enhancements.
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APD Chief Krokoff’s Traffic Safety Initiative.

A Moment of Silence - BLOG 8-3-13 Albany Bicycle Coalition calls for safe cycling and offers support for APD Chief Krokoff’s “Traffic Safety” initiative.

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August 3, 2013

Steven Krokoff, Chief
Albany Police Department
165 Henry Johnson Blvd.
Albany, New York 12210

Dear Chief Krokoff:

Thank you for your briefing at the July 17, 2013 meeting of the Safety Committee of the Albany Common Council. We found your planned approach to be both enlightening and encouraging. We are most interested in your plans and in working with the Albany Police Department to help on them.

We in the Albany Bicycle Coalition are concerned about cyclist behavior as it relates to their safety and to that of transit riders, pedestrians, motor vehicle operators, and, in fact, other cyclists. Our observations and those of other experienced cyclists suggest that much of the flagrant behavior is not malicious or intentional but rather derives from ignorance, lack of training, and a lack of appreciation of the impact on other road users. Our particular concerns are these:

– Riding against traffic – that is, on the left side (usually in the erroneous belief that this is safer)
– Racing (as opposed to coasting) through red lights and stop signs
– Riding on the sidewalk by those 10 years of age and older
– Riding the wrong way on one-way streets

As cycling increases in the city, and as more and more untrained or inexperienced cyclists take to the streets, we can expect an increase in the incidence of these adverse behaviors. As mentioned, we look to the Albany Police Department to develop a non-punitive way of addressing these issues.

We in the Albany Bicycle Coalition would like to support and, in fact, participate in this effort. To that end, would you consider meeting with the leadership of ABC this coming fall to brief us on your ideas and to outline how we might contribute?

Sincerely,

Albany Bicycle Coalition

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ABC Donates to Matthew Ratelle Benefit Ride

Tomhannock Bicycles is hosting a “Matthew Ratelle Family Trust” benefit ride on Sunday, 8/18, 9 AM. The Albany Bicycle Coalition made a donation to benefit the late cyclist’s children one of whom was born after his death.

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The ride starts at Tomhannock Bicycles, 3149 Rt. 7, Pittstown (10 min. east of Troy). There is a $25 entry fee for a 28-mile loop ride for all levels with food and refreshments after the ride. All proceeds from registrations go to the Trust. Register at bikereg.com. Those wishing to contribute individually may make checks payable to the “Matthew Ratelle Benefit Ride” and mail them to the following address:
Timothy Bonnier
ATTN: Matthew Ratelle Benefit Ride
Tomhannock Bicycles
3149 NYS Rt. 7
Pittstown, NY 12094

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