They Are Here – Bicycle Lanes on Madison Ave.!

They Are Here – Bicycle Lanes on Madison Ave.!

Finally – workers are today, Monday, 8/22/16, putting the finishing touches on the new road layout on Madison Ave. from Partridge St. to Allen St.

 See more photos here – https://lorenzworden.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/august-22-2016-madison-ave/

Not surprisingly, when people in cars complete the new one-travel lane segment delimited by the center turn lane on one side and the bicycle lanes and parking lanes on the other, they continue in a “traffic-calmed” single file. How easy it was! Attention Naysayers! – Before the job is 100 percent completed, people have learned how to drive in it.

Moreover, what a dream to ride one’s bicycle.

Dimensions (unofficial – taken from centerline of stripes):

  • Parking Lane – 7’
  • Bicycle Lane/Parking Lane Stripe – 5”
  • Bicycle Lane – 6’
  • Bicycle Lane/Travel Lane Stripe – 6.5”
  • Travel Lane – 10’ 3”
  • Turn Lane – 10’

Credit for this success lies largely with Virginia Hammer, president of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association, whose diligence, persistence, initiative, and presence at many events guided this new era for the City of Albany into fruition. We need also recognize all those who attended meetings, carried banners and posters, wrote letters, and signed petitions to support the effort to calm Madison Ave. for the benefit of all.

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, City Review

Leave That Prius in the Garage …

… and get out in the sun with your family for summer fun on your bicycles. The following builds on some of the thoughts expressed in the January 2016 Bicycle Times.

Family Bicycle Rides 8-17-16 A

The magazine highlighted some of the many benefits of getting your family out on bicycles to enjoy the summer in a healthful and non-polluting fashion. Regardless of its size or composition, nothing beats a bicycle ride for learning (or re-learning) to enjoy each other’s company. Not only is the ride healthy as opposed to traveling by car to some high-cost destination but also it brings the family members closer together. This is particularly true if you are a car free or near car free family as the simplest chore or errand can turn into an A+ social experience.

In addition to the immediate benefits to the family members, a bicycle ride always presents an opportunity to engage more intimately with your surroundings and with your fellow citizens. What better way to build community than a friendly “hello,” “good morning,” “or good afternoon” – a social grace that is missed when we travel around air-conditioned cocoons. This is particularly true if your family includes an infant or toddler in a trailer or bicycle seat. Who cannot smile at the sign of a small child riding with his or her parents on a bicycle and waving happily to everyone? On a more altruistic note, the active presence of a family unit riding together shows others that it is safe and fun.

If the ride is of reasonable length and includes frequent stops for playgrounds, running around, and exploring, any small child will enjoy the experience. Parents would be wise to enhance this experience as opposed to the building the mileage. Typically, a family with young or inexperienced riders will seek out routes that have minimal or slow motor vehicle traffic. A side benefit of this type of exploration is that the cycling family can discover the low stress ways to navigate the city. In this regard, parents would be wise to confer with other families on the routes that they’ve discovered with a special emphasis on the attractive features of that route or the features of that route that will be attractive to young ride-alongs who are looking for some adventure. A benefit of family bike rides – particularly when the young members are riding their own bicycle – is engendering a spirit of independence as well as awareness for the needs for the skill of riding in traffic. What better opportunity to learn the rules of the road than to ride as a family with close adult supervision and guidance? (If you expect your children to wear a helmet when you are not around, you’d better wear one yourself at all times.) As children grow older, they can map the route and lead the ride for the entire family.

For longer rides that may involve an overnight, other considerations come into play. The same Bicycle Times issue offered some ideas on bicycle touring with young children. Aspects include careful planning of the route, careful packing, and – above all – ensuring that the experience will be positive for the youngsters. The fact that the trip is short is less relevant than the quality of the time spent together and the opportunities for exploration and excitement. Not only do the young family members experience the joy of independent travel but they have an opportunity to learn valuable living skills such as cooking over an open fire or camp stove, pitching a tent, basic care of their bicycles, gathering firewood, and roasting marshmallows.

In the same January Bicycle Times a number of tips were offered for planning a trip. First, select a route that is relatively traffic-free. Forget the miles – focus on having a good time. Factor in the terrain as a hilly route will reduce the number of miles between needed rest stops. If your child is small, ride while he or she is napping with the suggestion to limit “trailer time” to about 4 hours a day. Remember that a child will need his or her own baggage, so plan to lighten the load as much as possible leaving behind many toys, heavy books, and related items. Nevertheless, never pass up a good playground!

Stop early enough in the day so that there’s time to enjoy the campsite as a family unit. Pack delicious, nutritious food. Bring a favorite bedtime story book (but just one) to help children get to sleep. Engage children in helping out at the campsite whenever possible. One last thought is to team up with another family (or families) with children of similar ages so that there is a portable playgroup to help the success of the trip.

While some families have traveled internationally with their youngsters, a simple ride to the river, a favorite park, or Stewart’s ice cream store presents a tremendous opportunity for family growth and enjoyment.

Family Bicycle Rides 8-17-16 B

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The Black Bridge and Beyond

If you’ve taken the Black Bridge (or some other) route to Waterford (see earlier post), you’re in for a pleasant (but unusual) treat if you use it as your starting point to explore the Champlain Canal Trail north toward Mechanicville.

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Hee Haw

After riding from the Black Bridge along the bikeway and after crossing from Peebles Island into Waterford, turn left/west of 2nd St. onto Broad St. (10.9 miles from the Row Center at the Corning Riverfront Park). Pass four streets on your right and come to the old Champlain Canal (11.1 miles from the Row Center). If you’re on 700X25 tires, lock up and take a nice walk up the canal towpath. If you are on wider tires, take the towpath (you’ll cross Division St., the only intersection in this area) past the foundations of the Weigh Lock and then those of Lock #5 and dry dock about 1.5 miles to the landfill and Momentive Performance Materials industrial complex (12.7 miles from the Row Center). The northerly path then continues on to Mechanicville.

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What’s comin’ outta those pipes?

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Momentive Monolith

But where is that path?

As you cruise over the landfill (with its ominous ventilators spewing forth God knows what) toward the fencing, you think that you’re in Gitmo with no way out. (The landfill covers the Old Champlain Canal – so guess where the leakage goes?) But as you get to the end where it appears that you are completely fenced in, you’ll spot a narrow, deeply rutted path leading down to the right (easterly) through the tall weeds and grass. After a tick check at the bottom, remount and head on a winding, unmarked  narrow paved road (Google says cross Clute St. onto Bells Lane North which changes into School House Lane). Notice up and to your left the original towpath that is inaccessible at present. Lo and behold, where the unmarked Schoolhouse Lane bears left at 13.4 miles from the Row Center and 2.3 miles from Waterford, you’ll come to the Half Moon Trail skirting the old Champlain Canal on your left.

The Half Moon Trail is a nice ride on hard-packed stone dust. At “high noon,” there is no shade, so choose your ride time accordingly if it’s hot hot hot. A curious feature of the trail is frequent “Hazard – 100 Feet Ahead,” “Hazard – Keep Left,” or just plain “Hazard” signs. After expecting an alligator or two to rise from the canal, it seems that these signs are to alert trail users to the utility poles along the side if the trail. Those lawyers in Hal Moon must be looking for something to do…

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The North End Trail Head

Along the trial, watch for historical markers and remnants of the 200-year-old canal and later railroad structures. Cross Brookwood Rd., Lower Newton Rd., and an unmarked gravel pit road.  At 16.4 miles from the Row Center and 5.3 miles from Waterford, you’ll arrive at a trail head with parking for 4-5 cars, no hint of where you are, and stick-on letters on a utility pole saying “1 Mechan School” (20 Upper Newton Rd. according to the Town website). Just across the road is a barricade across the trail, which at this point is just grass, weeds, and brush leading on to Lock #8 and Mechanicville – clearly unrideable. There must be a plan here …

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Future Plans?

Time to turn around and enjoy the peaceful, quite trail back to Waterford to continue learning about “Canal Days.”

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A peaceful ride back to Waterford…

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The Black Bridge Isn’t

Here is a nice day ride from Albany to Sunny Waterford. From Albany Bicycle Coalition HQ in Pine Hills, it’s 4.4 miles to the Boat Launch/Row Center at the Corning Riverfront Park via the Conventional Bicycle Lanes on Clinton Ave., Broadway, and Erie St. (Can’t wait for the new entry to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at Colonie and Quay Sts. so one can avoid the crazy exit ramp from I-787.)

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Row Center

Starting from this nice view of the Hudson, you have 4.5 miles from the Row Center to the car park/fishing spot in Watervaliet where the tunnel leads under a roaring I-787 to the pretty calm streets of the city.

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Under I-787

Take a right onto Broadway. A recommended detour of a couple blocks (take the first left you can) will result in the best glazed doughnuts in the area from the Schuyler Bakery (637 3rd Ave. – open Tue – Sat) (Coffee is a Stewart’s – four or five doors south of the bakery.)

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Yummy!

You can take your coffee and goodies down Broadway to the memorial park behind McDonald’s or save them for Green Island – see below.

Pay attention, as there are several challenging intersections and sometimes-heavy traffic on Broadway. As you get near the north end of Watervaliet at 23rd St., follow the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail straight ahead and not to the right onto NY Bike Route 9. Caution advised. Simply follow the MHBHT signs until you enter the Sovereign and Independent Nation of Green Island (which is green but not an island) for a rest stop at the Heatly School or the GIG (“Green Island Gazebo”) Park (with views of N. Troy and the Federal lock [it’s federal because its tidal]) (3.3 miles and 7.7 miles from the Row Center).

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Green Island Gazebo & N. Troy

Now, here’s the well-kept secret – just past the school and park on Hudson Ave., the route turns left onto Tibbits Ave. and passes the large Paine Street Park on your left. Take the first right turn after the park and leave the MHBHT to go on Cannon St. Ignore the road closed signs as you pass between the gigantic concrete barriers and you’ll be on gravel but only for 1/10 mile, so don’t despair. Travel on and you are at the non-black Black Bridge (1.2 miles from the Green Island School and 8.7 miles from the Row Center).

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The “Black” Bridge

The bridge takes you across the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson – stop and lean on the rail to enjoy the sight (on both sides) before you enter Van Schaick Island, Cohoes. (Cannon St. now becomes Railroad Dr. and later Delaware Ave. and finally Second St.)

You are now on a paved “multi use” path which will take you to Peebles Island and then again over the Mohawk to Broad St. in Waterford. While on the path, be mindful of the several intersections especially the intersection with Van Schaick Ave. that has no advance warning or stop signs and that of Ontario St., Rt. 470 where people in cars will show no mercy and there is a busy Cumberland Farms “quick stop.” (Be sure to contrast the Van Schaick House on your left with the monstrous development on the right.)

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Van Schaick House

Be courteous to the walkers and joggers and verbally announce your presence when you overtake and with a “thank you” especially if they step aside to let you pass.

As you cross from Peebles Island into Waterford, see our remaining Dutch replica ship, the “Onrust,” to the right and the Canal Harbor. At Broad St., you’re about 12 miles and 1.5 hours from the Corning Riverfront Park.

You can spend days in Waterford exploring the old and new locks and other structures of the Erie, Champlain, and NYS Barge canals. The Waterford Historical Museum is located in the 1830 Hugh White Homestead just east of Saratoga St. Rt. 32 as it heads south to Cohoes. However, all this is another adventure.

Turning left/west onto Broad St., from Second St. and passing four streets on your right, you’ll come to the old Champlain Canal.

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The Champlain Canal Trail at Waterford

If you’re on 700X25 tires, lock up and take a walk up the canal towpath. If you are on wider tires, take the towpath past old Lock #5 about 1.5 miles to the landfill and Momentive Performance Materials industrial complex. The northerly path then continues on to Mechanicville … but more on that later…

Heading back south to Waterford, continue directly across Broad St. to join up with the bicycle/walking paths for some easy touring along the canal with a visit to the Harbor Visitor Center (scene of the annual tugboat rally). Again, you can spend days exploring.

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Filed under Local Bike Rides, Rides

Thus Said Moses

tumblr_mgz5nkx3gG1qlqoc2o1_400Moses said to the people: “For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’

“No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” For the command is this: Thou shalt get thy bicycle out of thy garage and ride upon it. And others will see thee riding. They will exclaim – ‘Lo, what is this strange site? One rideth his bicycle upon the streets and is not struck down!’ They will then follow thee for they are My Chosen Ones – those who are interested but concerned. And you shall be blessed all the days of thy life for what thou has wrought. [SOURCE: 1 Dt 30:10-14]tumblr_l2fpsvqjxX1qbz0dlo1_400

 

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