Albany Bicycle Coalition 2021 and Our Goals for 2022

Dear Friends of Albany Bicycle Coalition,

We hope this finds you well and able to be out on your bike. We wanted to give you a quick update on what our activities have been during 2021 and ask for your support to assist us in 2022.

After having to cancel our rides in 2020, this year we bounced back to again sponsor a number of rides and in 2022, we aim to bring back our popular Earth Day ride! This year we were able to gather for our annual Ride of Silence, where we remember and honor cyclists who were killed or injured in collisions with motorists. In August, we instituted the first of our “Slow Roll” rides, through the Arbor Hill/West Hill neighborhoods of Albany. Starting at the Stephen and Harriet Meyers Residence/Underground Railroad House, the ride explored the neighborhood at a leisurely pace, highlighting historic places, the Tivoli Lake Preserve, and the Arbor Hill branch of the Albany Public Library. We then enjoyed ice cream sundaes in the beautiful, shady backyard of the Meyers Residence.

Our second “Slow Roll” was a “Bike the Branches” ride where we explored select branches of the Albany Public Library. We hope to make these “Slow Roll” rides regular events. We will explore different neighborhoods in the City of Albany in a leisurely manner that emphasizes the life of the neighborhood rather than the motor traffic infrastructure. They will be community oriented and open to all levels of riders with families welcome.  

We also brought back our popular Albany-Troy Daily Grind ride and capped our riding season with another popular Halloween ride through the Albany Rural Cemetery. Future rides we hope to sponsor in 2022 include a demonstration ride on New Scotland Avenue, a ride focusing on area churches that is part of the annual Hudson Valley Ramble, and a Patroon Creek-Hudson River ride which is a continuation of ABC’s efforts to make the proposed Patroon Greenway Trail a reality.

ABC also continues to take a broader approach to bicycling across the Capital Region by networking with other local bicycle groups to implement a region-wide bicycle infrastructure. As part of this endeavor, we are excited to propose a series of intercity rides in 2022. These will be a series of rides involving ABC, Cycle Schenectady, Transport Troy, and Bikeatoga. This will be one of the biggest projects that ABC has ever undertaken and will require coordination with the other bike groups, non-cycling not-for-profits, as well as private sponsors for each ride.

In addition to sponsoring rides, ABC continues to monitor existing bike infrastructure in the region and make sure it remains safe and useful for bicyclists. This includes the South End Connector, the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail (MHBHT), and the Empire State Trail. In fact, our treasurer, David Pisaneschi, practically single-handedly, through years of dogged perseverance, finally got the State DOT to repave unrideable parts of the MHBHT, making for a smooth ride over miles of formerly root damaged trail.

In addition to this work, we’ve also kept a focus on developments on Rapp Road, and Albany’s 2021 Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. We have greatly expanded our renamed CapitalNYBikeMap to include many more routes in Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties, thus encompassing the entire Capital Region. By attending public meetings, meeting with and communicating with local elected and appointed officials, and keeping abreast of transportation issues, we will continue to advocate for safe streets for all users and safe trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. As evidenced by the recent defeat of the proposed Delaware Ave. Complete Streets project in the Town of Bethlehem, organizations like ABC are needed more than ever.

In order to continue this important work, we are asking for your support by contributing what you can at this moment. A voting membership is $25, but any amount is appreciated. As a reminder, ABC is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. This year we are excited to introduce new levels of membership: $Free: Basic Member, $25: Voting Member, $100: Century Member, and $250: Long Haul Member.

To assist organizations, such as ABC, in 2020 Congress passed the CARES Act. A provision of that Act allows individuals, who do not itemize their tax deductions, an above-the-line credit up to $300 for charitable contributions. This was extended into 2021 through the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The Consolidated Act also expanded the deduction to $600 for married couples who do not itemize their tax deductions and file jointly.

You can donate through our https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/about/donate/ website via PayPal or send a check to Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc., ATTN: Treasurer, 180 South Main Ave., Albany, NY 12208. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can reach us at albanybicyclecoalition@yahoo.com.

We greatly appreciate any support you can provide and hope to see you soon on a trail and/or street. In the meantime, safe riding.

From your fellow riders at the Albany Bicycle Coalition.

Ed Brennan

President, Albany Bicycle Coalition

Leave a comment

Filed under Article, Fundraising, Support the Cause

Down in Flames – Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project

“Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.” – Martha C. Nussbaum [SOURCE: https://www.azquotes.com/author/18217-Martha_C_Nussbaum]

Election Day 2021 was a very sad day for people in cars, on foot, in wheel chairs, on public transit, and on bicycles and for business growth. “No” votes for Bethlehem’s Prop. #6 came from 4,461 (56 percent) “anti” people vs. 3.386 (43 percent) “pro” voters – a difference of 1,075 votes. (See (https://www.timesunion.com/elections/albany/.) Even without data on the non-voting, “I-can’t-be- bothered” people (there are some 35,000 people in Bethlehem), a good number were affected by “off year malaise.” This result squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to convert 1.3 miles of Delaware Ave. to a traffic-calmed, walk-able, drive-able street vs. a high-speed highway. It appears that the concepts of “Complete Streets” or “Vison Zero” or “road safety” or “livable community” present an insurmountable mental barrier for many Bethlehemers.

Prop #6 – Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project Revisited – The “pro” contingent waged a good campaign based on a factual presentation of the issues and how Traffic Calming would address them. They produced a very impressive video, had many lawn signs, and several supportive letters, commentaries, and articles in local media. See https://www.facebook.com/Bethlehem-Bicycle-Pedestrian-Committee-130190633781279/ The feasibility/design consultants produced a fact-filled, analytical report that left little doubt as to the benefits of the Traffic Calming movement. At two public meetings, all but one or two voiced unequivocal support for the project.

Why the Loss? – One local analyst noted that “off-year” elections bring out the angry voter. The results in the City of Albany mayoral race suggest this. Other opponents are simply ignorant. The “anti-Prop. #6” cabal (jokingly self-identified as the “Bethlehem Coalition for Common Sense Urges Voters to Vote No on Proposition 6”) was masterful in repeating and repeating half-truths and untruths to influence successfully many voters (a familiar stategy?). Essentially, 4,461 voters decided the issue for all of the 35,000 town residents and all those many others who use Delaware Ave. Therefore, between these “angry voters,” the voluntarily ignorant, and those who prefer not to vote at all, this opportunity for Delaware Ave. and the larger region slipped away.

++++ UPDATE +++++ UPDATE +++++ UPDATE +++++ UPDATE+++++

Dumb and Dumber Cont’d – The Times Union weighed in on the failed Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project in its 11/8 editorial. The Times Union has been generally supportive of the project and against the referendum. The report reminds one of the adage: “Stupidity is not inherited; it is learned and nurtured.” See – https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/ (The Bethlehem piece was not live on the website (https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/ ) at 9:15 AM, so check back later!

++++ UPDATE +++++ UPDATE +++++ UPDATE +++++ UPDATE+++++

Bicycles? – Some of the “anti” arguments were against bicycle lanes as either unneeded, unsafe, or unwanted. This position completely ignores the calming effect of narrowing the road using bicycle lanes as a device – even if no cyclists ever used it.  That is, the Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project was never a “bicycle project” although people on bicycles were included along with all other road users (that mysterious “complete Streets” idea again).

From the Peanut Gallery – The following verbatim comment is from a local “next door” webpage and serves to illustrate the above points (Italics added to highlight the writer’s “thought” process.

“Prop. 6, why I am voting no! I remember when Delaware Ave. was widened in 1958 to accommodate more businesses and more traffic on the road. Supporters of Prop. 6 are afraid to call it what it is: less (sic.) lanes of traffic. A road does not eat food, so it cannot diet. Road diet is a misleading term to get more support. Less (sic.) lanes of traffic will not work. Delaware Ave. has always been a way for people to go to Albany, and come back again. There will be more traffic congestion during the rush hours. A minute or two in Delmar can mean another longer delay in Albany and beyond. There will be delays going to Albany, and delays returning to Delmar. The bike lanes will not be used most of the time. People do not ride their bikes in the cold, snow, icy winter weather, or in the rain. People do not ride bikes to shop at the supermarket, and usually they do not ride them to go to restaurants or do other shopping. It is a safety issue. The bike riders will be in danger. On one part of Delaware Ave., there are 15,000 vehicles a day. On another part of Delaware Ave., there are 18,000 vehicles a day. We do not put bike lanes on very busy roads like Central Ave., route 787, or the Thruway. Why is Delaware Ave. the only place in the town where people are insisting on dangerous bike lanes? And I have been a bicyclist for many years. I am not against bicyclists. I am afraid there could be bad accidents involving them and motorists on a very busy road. I drive on Delaware Ave. a lot. I see very few bike riders, but when I do, I fear for their lives and safety. Most days I see no bicyclists. The less (sic.) lanes of traffic plan would also mean delays for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. Delays of a few seconds or minutes could result in deaths, destruction of property, or serious crimes. Fewer lanes of traffic mean more congestion, longer travel times, danger for bicyclists, and longer response times for emergency vehicles. Town businesses were never consulted in the beginning. Nor were delivery companies, bus drivers, or a lot of commuters and town residents. And how many tens of thousands of dollars did the town pay to the consultants? I support our local businesses, who will be harmed by this proposal and oppose it. The economy is bad enough already. I am voting no on Proposition 6. It has too many flaws.”

Businesses Join Together – Coupled with the promulgation of these truths and half-truths, the “anti-Prop. #6” cabal ran a very impressive campaign to recruit businesses to support its position Quote: “The Coalition counts the following organizations in support:” Andrianos Pizza, Bliss Juice Smoothie, Bueneau’s Opticians, Capadona’s Pizza, Choices Hair Salon, Dave’s Glass, Delaware Plaza, Delmar Beverage Center, Delmar Bistro, Delmar Chiropractic, Delmar Wine and Liquor. Dunkin Donuts, Empire SiteCom, Inc./New Scotland Communications, Expanco Holding, LLC, Fortitude Lyfe Fitness, John Fritze, Jr. Jeweler, Geurtze Builders, Gustos, Handy Dandy Cleaners, Havill’s Auto Body, Kelly Kleeners, LC Smith, Los Panchos, My Place & Company, Nail City, Nationwide Insurance, O’Slattery’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Phillips Hardware, Pratt & Associates, Rain Hair Studio, Scissor Society, Shalimar Restaurant, St. Croix Tan, The Paper Mill, Tool’s Restaurant, Uncrushable Nutrition, and Upstate Wine and Liquor.

++++++

Leave a comment

Filed under Activisim, Bethlehem Delaware Avenue Traffic Calming Project, Bike Lanes

The Leaves are Falling (and a Little Snow Too)

Get Out and Ride While the Leaves are Falling

While COVID-19 has limited some bicycle-related activities, the fine fall weather provides plenty of opportunities for socially distanced rides. Looking ahead, there is some nice riding in fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to encourage your riding and to keep you safe:

  • Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.
  • Add a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
  • Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
  • Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
  • Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
  • Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
  • Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  • Maybe shop for and use a helmet mounted rear-facing light.
  • Be fair to people in cars – let them see you. Driving can be challenging at this time of year. Don’t join the “ghost bike” program.
  • You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.
  • As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a reflective vest from your locally owned hardware or big box home center for around $20.00. You might add this vest to your year-around “kit.”
  • Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
  • Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes, ruts, utility caps, and craters in the paved surface. City streets are worse than ever so watch for crevices, bumps, patches, and so on. Good front lighting will help here!
  • Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.

  • Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
  • You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them).
  •  Consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
  • Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  • When riding into that low fall sun, remember that the people in cars behind may not see you, as they also will be blinded.
  • Plan your braking and turns to avoid a spill.
  • Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  • Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

Other winter riding tips –

To plan for low stress, safe cycling, plan you route with the free, interactive CapitalNYBikeMaphttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find more bicycle-related events, go to – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/upcoming-events/   

++++++

Leave a comment

Filed under Lighting, Local Bike Rides, Winter Cycling

Deborah Carpenter – Hit and Run 9/1/21

A utilitarian cyclist, Deborah Carpenter, who (apparently) was struck down by a motor vehicle while riding home from work. The crash was near 847 Loudon Rd, Colonie. She was left in the road alive but in a coma and in critical condition. Deborah faithfully rides her bicycle to and from work.

Photo courtesy of the Times Union

From the report, it is hard to conceive that this was a bicycle-only event. Details hopefully to follow from police. Read on – https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Police-ask-for-witnesses-in-bike-crash-16444059.php

Several cyclists wrote in with these comments:

From DD: I live not that far from the Latham Traffic Circle and frequently have to deal with the potential hazards of that intersection. I experienced a minor incident a couple of years ago where I was heading North on Route 9. I entered the Circle when a car coming up from behind through the Circle on my left; decided to make a right onto Route 2 heading East. I was thereby forced to alter my course at the last second and turn to the right. I was side swiped by the car and was knocked to the ground. The car did stop and I was able to get up off the pavement before the passing of additional traffic. The driver apologized and asked if I was all right. Both the car and the bike had minor scratches and I experienced some minor cuts and bruises; but was basically all right. I saw no need to get the insurance companies involved. He asked again if I was all right before we continued on our ways. I am NOT a fan of traffic circles. I am cautious when dealing with traffic circles and depending on the time of day and volume of traffic will go out of my way to detour around them. [Emphasis added.] I sincerely hope for a speedy recovery for the injured cyclist.

Photo courtesy of the Times Union

From IV: I heard a newscast, but missed the TU article. Please let me know if I can donate to a fund for Deborah. RE the exam of the bike by police: sometimes if only the back tire is hit, no scratches, paint chips etc. are found, however the rear wheel is significantly out of line with the brakes out of line as well. (My back wheel after the crash impacting me was greatly distorted.) It is worth getting that thought to Colonie Police.

From JF: So awful to hear. Hope they get the information they need to move forward.

Leave a comment

Filed under Colonie, Ghost Bikes, Ride to Work, safety, utilitarian cyclists

Arbor Hill-West Hill Slow Roll Ride

Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence – Underground Railroad House
Getting Ready to Ride

On the picture perfect Sunday afternoon, August 15, the Underground Railroad Education Center and the Albany Bicycle Coalition jointly conducted an Arbor Hill/West Hill “Slow Roll” bicycle ride (see stats at end of this post). The fun, safe, low-stress, low-speed bicycle ride took advantage of numerous bicycle lanes, trails, and low congestion streets in the neighborhood. The group stopped at several points where speakers led discussions on the history and future of the neighborhoods. Stops included the Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence, Arbor Hill Park, Tivoli Lake Preserve, Bleeker Stadium/Swinburne Park, and the Arbor Hill Library. The Tivoli Preserve stop highlighted the 9-mile Patroon Creek Greenway Trail currently undergoing study by the City of Albany (see http://albanyny.gov/800/Patroon-Greenway-Feasibility-Study). The new Greenway Trail would connect the Albany Waterfront to the Six Mile Waterworks and points beyond with access from Arbor Hill and West Hill. We also discussed the daylighting of the Patroon Creek and making nearby mountain bike trails more accessible to Tivoli Preserve and its adjoining neighborhoods.

Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence

Paul of the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence at the Start

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arbor-hill-ride-8-15-21-4.jpg
Assembling the Ride

Arbor Hill Park -1

Our Arbor Park Stop pointed out the nearby site of the original Dudley Observatory. We also noted 1962 Urban Renewal Plans for the area that would have put a school where the historic Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence still stands. The 1964 plans are more representative of the current configuration.

Arbor Hill Park Was Once Site of the Dudley Observatory and Park
Proposed School (See #4) on Site of Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ed.jpg
A little history lesson . . .

Arbor Hill Park – 2
Tivoli Lake Preserve – 1
Tivoli Lake Preserve – 2
Rider in the Preserve
Patroon Greenway Project
Surprise! Street Fair
What Albany’s Library Does for You
Ride End at the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence Underground Railroad

RIDE STATS – The ride covered 4.37 miles “door-to-door” and started at 1:15 and ended at 2:45 (1 hour 30 min) with 44 min of actual riding with an average speed of 5.7 mph. The ride thus met its goal of being a “slow roll” that riders of all abilities could enjoy.

What a Reward! – Ice Cream Sundaes on a Hot Day

We ended the ride with an “ice cream social” in the shady back yard of the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence.

The Albany Bicycle Coalition will be conducting a “Bike the Branches Slow Roll” in conjunction with the Albany Public Libraries on September 25.

Leave a comment

Filed under City Review, Rides