Student Climate Strike – Friday, 9/20/19

Panic March 9-20-19 (29).JPGThe PANIC rally and march started at 11:00 AM, at 79 Sheridan Ave., the state-owned, natural gas plant that heats/cools the Capitol/State Plaza Complex. Sheridan Ave., The march will stopped at sites along the way including DEC , NYS State Comptroller’s office, banks, and the Public Service Commission. Other marches begin from several sites including Albany High School and the downtown University at Albany downtown campus culminating in a rally at the State Capitol.th8AK20ODN

From observation, the march brought out some of the same people one would expect at any such “protest” but with the welcome addition of hundreds of high school-age participants many with ingenious signs stating their positions. See the young lady with the two-sided sign in the these photos.

Groups urged Governor Cuomo to declare a climate emergency. Specific demands included the following:

  • Ban on all new fossil fuel projects.
  • Halt to all New York State subsidies for fossil fuels.
  • Increase in funding to $10 billion for renewable energy/green initiatives in the 2020-21 budget with 40% of targeting “disadvantaged communities.”
  • Convert all public buildings and vehicles to zero “greenhouse gas” emissions by 2023.
  • Amend building codes to require all new buildings be carbon emission free by 2023.

[Ed Note: Sadly, none of these demands addresses taking direct and immediate action to reduce energy use. The demands focused on an assumption of continued energy usage but substituting non-carbon sources. This is a completely unrealistic and unattainable goal. This approach echoes the much vaunted, so-called “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” which pushes action off to 2030 and 2050. It calls for studies, not action. And joke of jokes, yet another state panel: The New York State Climate Action Council. Oh please! This will be a dithering group of political appointees with minimal qualifications and no pressure to do anything.

A valid approach would include proposals such as the following:

  • Adopt the California’s motor vehicle emission standards.
  • Progressively reduce speed limits from the current 55 mph to an eventual 40 mph (and from 65 to 50 on 4-lanes roads). Enforce the speed limit with vehicle confiscation after so many violations (e.g., 1 month for each mph over the limit for, say, the third violation).
  • Immedicte 40 mph limit for large trucks (“semis”) on secondary roads and 50 mph on 4-lane limited access roads.
  • Increase the sales tax for new vehicles based on EPA mileage ratings. Have a scale of so much percentage for EPA 20-30 mpg, 15-20 mpg, etc. There might be no sales tax for new vehicles in the 40-50 mpg range.
  • Progressively increase the fuel, tire, and related taxes (with provisions that the politicos not squander the increased revenue).
  • Progressively (but aggressively), increase all tolls.
  • Mandate bus pull-offs with bus operator controlled signalization to give buses priority to get back into the traffic flow.
  • Mandate that towns and cities (a) progressively eliminate parking and (b) meter all on-street parking.
  • … and on and on …

Sadly and in response to the march, the governor could only come up with a weak statement blaming the federal government for inaction while it is clearly in his power to lead NYS on climate action. From the Times Union, “Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the climate marchers. In a prepared statement he said, ‘I commend the thousands of students who are participating in the Global Climate Strike today and demanding solutions to this crisis before it gets worse. This next generation of Americans will pay the price if the federal administration’s inaction continues.’”]

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Filed under Activisim, Climate Change

Construction Begins – South End Bikeway Connector

Today, Monday 9/16/19, marks the official City of Albany date for commencing construction on the South End Bikeway Connector. A survey of the entire route revels serval “road work ahead” signs – generally, a sure indication that work is to begin. (These signs may well be from earlier projects.)

The City of Albany 9/13/19 press release with images follows:

 CITY OF ALBANY – OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

  • 24 EAGLE STREET, ALBANY, NEW YORK 12207, mayor@albanyny.gov, (518) 434-5100
  • Date: September 13, 2019
  • Contact:  Yasmine Robinson, Deputy Director, City of Albany Department of Planning & Development, yrobinson@albanyny.gov , (518) 434-2583

* * NEWS RELEASE * *

City of Albany Announces Commencement of South End Connector Bikeway Construction – Road Construction, Parking Restrictions, & CDTA Bus Stop Closures Also Announced

ALBANY, NY – Beginning on Monday, September 16, 2019 and continuing through Spring 2020, the City’s contractor will construct the South End Connector Bikeway – the highly anticipated connection between the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (map shown in Image 1).

SEBC - Map 9-13-19

The South End Connector will link these two highly utilized trails with a combination of off-road and on-road pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians. This initiative is consistent with recommendations within the Albany 2030 Plan and the City of Albany Bicycle Master Plan, and further connects the Capital Region to the Empire State Trail.

Travel Lane Adjustments – Construction beginning on Monday, September 16 will include restriping and the creation of a raised-curb median along South Pearl Street from Old South Pearl Street to Mount Hope Drive. Concrete barriers will be temporarily used to note lane shifts until construction of the Capital District Transportation Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit River Line is complete in 2020, however no lane closures are anticipated during construction.

Parking RestrictionsDuring construction, parking will be prohibited on the east side of South Pearl Street between Old South Pearl Street and the Frontage Road.

CDTA Bus Stop Closures – During construction of CDTA’s Mount Hope northbound station, all existing bus stops along Pearl Street and Mount Hope Drive will remain operational except for one stop closure in the northbound direction on Pearl Street at Ezra Prentice Homes (as shown in Image 2).

PrintAfter completion of the Mount Hope northbound station, stops on Pearl Street south of the new station will be closed, with the Mount Hope station serving all northbound routes. Closed stops will be visibly indicated with a CDTA blue bag and public notices.

 About the South End Connector BikewayWhen complete, the South End Connector will create a bikeway from South Pearl Street & Old South Pearl Street to Church Street, along the Frontage Road intersection, and then continue underneath Interstate-787 to Broadway and Quay Street as depicted in Image 1. Between Old South Pearl Street and the Frontage Road, there will be a separated on-street two-way cycle track, the first in the City of Albany, depicted in Image 3.

SEBC - Two Way Cycle Track 9-13-19

Construction of a 10-foot wide multi-use trail will run beneath the Interstate-787 corridor from the intersection of the Frontage Road and Church Street to the Broadway and Quay Street intersection. At the intersection of Church Street and Bassett Street, the Connector will be on-road until Rensselaer Street where it will then shift off-road. The northbound lane of Church Street from Rensselaer Street to Bassett Street will be removed and Church Street will become a one-way roadway in the southbound direction.

Broadway currently consists of four travel lanes; two in the eastbound direction and two in the westbound direction. One lane on Broadway will be removed to construct the multi-use path on the south side of Broadway, resulting in one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes when construction is complete. Construction will include installation of new curbing along the south side of Broadway and modifications of existing striping along Church Street and Broadway.

Funding for this project has been provided in part by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund, as well as The Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Filed under Bike Lanes, Rail Trail, South End Bikeway Connector

A Bicycle That Is Loved Will Return the Sentiment

For the right person, this is truly a dream.

Here’s a happy cyclist with her “new” bicycle. Thanks to a gracious donation of this pristine “Japanese steel” bicycle, Lauren can join her family and friends on rides on the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail.

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Almost since purchase, this bicycle was stored inside and seldom ridden as evidenced by its overall prime condition. Just note the whiter-than-white handlebar tape! A forty or so year old bicycle in this condition is rare. All it needs is air, lube, and love.

This is the right bicycle but only for the right person.

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The donor of this Araya bicycle was unclear as to when it was purchased, but it was clearly one of the great Japanese steel frames from the 1970s and 80s. A hint comes from the SunTour V-GT Luxe rear derailleur – introduced in 1973 “ … In line with their process of continual improvement, SunTour took the SunTour V series and upgraded the parallelogram plates from steel to aluminum – the result is the 1973 SunTour V Luxe series.” (Image #3 below.) So … this bicycle cannot be older than 1973. (SOURCE: http://www.disraeligears.co.uk/Site/SunTour_V_GT_Luxe_derailleur_1500.html )

Araya, as a bicycle manufacturer, is little known because most of their frame production was re-branded (e.g., the Austrian Puch for example). Currently, Araya focuses on rims, wheels, spokes, and nipples. Araya Industrial has 100 years’ experience making bicycle rims with the first ones of wood. Current production is in aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, magnesium, and stainless steel. In the 70s and 80s, their rims were well known on high quality road, MTB, and BMX bikes. You might check the wheels on your own bicycles to see if any came from Araya.

Links: http://www.araya.co.uk/ and http://www.araya-usa.com/about-us

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Filed under Bike Tech, New Bicycle, Riding in Albany, Women on Bikes

Bicycle Lanes in the City of Albany

As part of the Northern Blvd.-Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 bicycle lane network, an additional 0.3 miles of buffered lanes are now open on Shaker Rd. (It’s “Albany-Shaker Rd.” in the Town of Colonie and “Shaker Rd.” in Albany.)

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The 6 ft. lanes have a 3-ft painted buffer. These facilitate the ride down (or up) the hill by Memorial Hospital to and from Broadway. The lanes also should reduce petrovehicles speeds on this busy route. Eventually the lanes will continue the additional 0.5 miles to Broadway.

Alb-Shaker BL at Northern Blvd 8-11-19 (3).JPG

Below is an inventory of installed bicycle lanes in the City of Albany. Please report any change/corrections to lorenzworden@gmail.com

Madison Ave.

  • Partridge St. – Allen St.     0.4 (2016 completion, no buffer)
  • Partridge St. – Willet St.     0.9 (2018 completion, no buffer)
  •            SUBTOTAL               1.4 (measurement error – Total = 1.4)

 

  • Clinton Ave.                       1.7 (Manning Sq. to Ten Broeck St., no buffer)
  • Northern Blvd.                  0.9 (McCrossin Ave./Pennsylvania Ave. to Van Rensselaer. no buffer)
  • Ten Broeck St.                   0.2 (Clinton Ave. to Livingston Ave., no buffer)
  • Albany-Shaker Rd.           0.3 (Northern Blvd. to Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 (2019 completion, buffered))
  •             SUBTOTAL           3.1

 TOTAL (installed)   4.5 (2019)

 Bicycle Network – The bicycle lane-to-lane connections are as follows:

  • Ten Broeck Ave. and Clinton Ave. – Total mileage of 1.7 + 0.2 = 1.9 mi.
  • Northern Blvd. and Albany-Shaker Rd. – Total mileage of 0.9 + 0.3 = 1.2 mi. (This also ties in directly to the 1.5 miles of Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 bicycle lanes which are mostly in Menands (for a total mileage of 0.9 + 0.3 + 1.5 = 2.7 mi. See – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2017/07/08/89398/ )

The Madison Ave. bicycle lanes are isolated.

Albany Bicycle Master Plan – The City of Albany approved its Bicycle Master Plan in December 2009. It called for a 20-year completion period as follows: “This bicycle master plan identifies a bikeway network to be phased in over the next 20 years,” (SOURCE: Pg. ES3, https://albany2030.org/files/City%20of%20Albany%20Bicycle%20Master%20Plan.pdf ) In the first 10 years, the city installed 4.5 miles of bicycle lanes for an average of 0.45 per year. At this rate, the City of Albany will have 9.0 miles of bicycle lanes at the end of the 20-years.

By comparison, the City of Troy’s Uncle Sam Trail is 6.3 miles in a combination of shared lanes, cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, and off-road multiuse paths. Troy plans to close the 0.8-mile gap for the “Hudson River Promenade,” now under construction, in 2021.

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Big Doin’s on New Scotland Ave

The Setting – New Scotland Ave. has four business districts: way out there (Whitehall-Krumkill – Stewarts, Russian gasoline), mid-town (Manning-West Lawrence – post office, bank, booze, RX, etc.) lower (Ontario-Quail – gas, bank, Stewarts, barber, booze), and lower-lower (Holland-Madison Ave. – banks, RX, eats, booze).

The first two will be addressed as part of the New Scotland Ave. Corridor Study. Lower-lower is in a state of constant flux because of the unending Albany Medical Center Hospital and residential building spree.

The Changes – The lower district (Ontario-Quail) is the “walkable neighborhood” section with several dining establishments, ice cream, banking, etc. It is currently being rebuilt to provide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, space for patio tables for the restaurants, and notably an effort to rationalize the New Scotland Ave. – Quail St. intersection. There are now “bumpouts” on both sides of Quail. They may encourage people in cars to slow down (we hope) and to enter and leave New Scotland Ave. at a closer to a 90-degree angle. This is opposed to the swooping turns previously favored by the City of Albany’s street designers (e.g., Willet and Madison Ave., New Scotland Ave. and Krumkill, New Scotland Ave. and Buckingham/Lenox, New Scotland Ave. and Euclid, and, Lark St. and Madison Ave.).

The walk area curb-to-curb across Quail St. is now 61 feet. The visual width for people in cars coming south on Quail is somewhat less at around 45 ft due to the bumpouts. Back from the crossing, the street is about 32 ft wide with some parking and two motor vehicle travel lanes. Once the lane markings are in, we’ll have a better idea on the impact on people in cars, on busses, on foot, and on bicycles.

Photos:

  1. Bump out on east side of Quail
  2. Bump out on west side of Quail
  3. New intersection layout viewed from New Scotland Ave.
  4. New intersection from New Scotland Ave. – looks plenty wide and a little scary for people walking. Is it better?
  5. The sprint zone – 61 feet across.
  6. Looking west on New Scotland Ave. with new sidewalk configuration. Once parking is added, looks like bicycle lanes will be impossible.

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Filed under City Review, Road Diet - Traffic Calming