Arbor Hill/West Hill Slow Roll Bicycle Ride

Co-Sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition and the Underground Railroad Education Center. Join us for a leisurely tour of Albany’s Arbor and West Hill outdoor treasures.  Sunday, 8/15, 1 PM. Start and finish at the Meyer’s Residence/Underground Railroad Education Center, 194 Livingston Ave., Albany.

Take a RIde!

This will be a 3.5-mile fun, safe, low-stress, low-speed bicycle ride. The ride will take about 60 to 90 minutes. We will take advantage of numerous bicycle lanes, trails, and low congestion streets in the neighborhood. We will visit key sites in Arbor Hill/West Hill including Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence/Underground Railroad Ed Center, Arbor Hill Park, Tivoli Preserve, Bleeker Stadium/Swinburne Park, and the Arbor Hill Library. There will be time to discuss these neighborhood gems as well as a great potential new gem – the 9-mile Patroon Creek Greenway Trail currently undergoing study by the City of Albany. 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. 

There is no charge for the ride. The not-for-profit Underground Railroad Education Center and the Albany Bicycle Coalition would welcome your donations to support our respective programs.

Registration not required but if you want to join our ride, please e mail –

albanybicyclecoalition@yahoo.com with your name and the names of any additional riders in your group.

Conditions –

  • Unvaccinated riders must don masks when riders are stopped and congregating. If government health officials updated COVID-19 guidance, this policy may change.
  • All riders must be 12 years of age or older. 
  • All riders must wear bicycle helmets. 
  • An adult must accompany riders under age 18.

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Ride of Silence 2021

On May 19, 2021, seventeen riders commemorated the annual Ride of Silence to honor those injured or killed while riding their bicycles. Following the international standard of the third Wednesday in May, riders toured the four ghost bike sites within the city of Albany. The list of four riders we honored appears below in the order visited.

The Ride – The Albany Bicycle Coalition has planned and hosted this ride since 2008 – with the exception of 2020. After consultation with the Albany County Department of Health and other sources, we redesigned the ride to conform to COVID-19 safety standards and to ensure that riders enjoyed safe routes. This year’s changes included the following:

  • To facilitate COVID-19 safety, we required pre-ride registration and set out specific procedural steps (e.g., masks, social distance).
  • We developed a new route so that, with the cohort monitors, even traffic-adverse riders could join without hesitation.
  • Non-riding ABC staff displayed 2X3 foot posters at each ghost bike site showing the first name, date of death, and a bicycle symbol.
  • We posted a small weather-resistant sign at each site as in past years.
  • The ride was split into cohorts with a maximum of 10 riders each accompanied by a skilled ride leader and a “sweep” to assist any riders who fell out of the ride.
  • Rather than stopping at each of the four sites as in past years, we merely rode slowly by.
  • The ride was 13.9 miles long with 650 feet elevation gain.
  • We offered two starting locations so riders who chose to do so could avoid climbing the hill from the Hudson River level.
  • As in years past, each rider received a flyer listing all the local ghost bike cases with a factual summary.

Ghost Bike Summary – About one-half those listed on our handout were the fault of people in cars (54% -Cummings, Agne, Ratalle, Merges, Melnikoff, Zayhowski, and Ryan) vs. rider or both driver/rider (15% – De Loyaza, Richichi), and unknown (31%). In 10 out of the 31 bicycle fatalities listed by the Albany Bicycle Coalition, drugs, and alcohol use by the motor vehicle operator was a contributing cause.

Ghost bikes in the City of Albany remained undisturbed until early 4/2014 when the Department of General Services removed them.

Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60) Bicyclist killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany. Perez, who was dealing with liver problems, did not own a car, and used is bicycle to get around, often taking rides at the Corning Preserve bike path along the Hudson River. Dusk was falling at about 8:30 PM when Jose crossed into traffic near Quay St. and Broadway. A sport utility vehicle heading north could not stop and struck the cyclist head-on. Perez was pronounced dead at the scene. Some few days after the installation of Jose’s ghost bike, his sister left this note attached to it: “Attention: I greatly appreciate those who made this memorial in remembrance of my brother José Perez (Ray) I would very much like for you to contact me via cell phone _____ My name is Nivia. Thank you” Jose’s ghost bike was the first of many installed in the City of Albany. The city removed all the ghost bikes in 2016.

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Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by car, Western Ave. at Homestead Ave., Albany. A motor vehicle operator made a left turn into University Place from east-bound Western Ave. and struck and killed Diva who was riding her bicycle west in the University Place crosswalk. Diva operated the “Some Girls” boutiques in Troy and Utica. For many years, store employees came to the ghost bike site during the ride. They also decorated her bicycle for Christmas, etc.

Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver, Manning Blvd. & Roosevelt St., Albany. Paul was returning home after visiting his daughters. The driver, Pablo Cruz, a drunken driver, ran Merges down on 11/24/12 in a gruesome 51-mph collision. A sheriff’s deputy was pursuing Cruz at high speeds through city residential streets at the time. Cruz, 39, had been released from prison on a drug charge less than four weeks before the crash. Cruz was accused of then driving 12 miles with Merges’s body pinned to the roof rack of his truck. He was caught in Rotterdam after his truck engine failed. Cruz received 25 Years to Life for second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter, and felony leaving the scene of an accident, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. He said at sentencing, “Nah, I’ve got nothing to say.”

Edston J. Kirnon – July 22, 2017 (age 42) Bicyclist collided with side of CDTA bus, N. Pearl St., Albany The fatality at Pearl and Wilson was not the fault of the bus driver. All the available data, plus an assessment of the location, indicate that the cyclist did not have control of his bicycle going down a steep hill, and ran the stop sign. The bus driver was so distraught she could not continue driving.

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Follow Up on ABC Project Proposals for the City of Albany

On 2/20/21, the Albany Bicycle Coalition sent a follow-up letter to Mayor Sheehan on a number of proposals that we submitted between 2016 and 2020. It is our position that each of these – albeit each with a primary focus on cycling – would add immeasurably to the safety, convenience, ambience, and economic vitality of the city regardless of their benefit for people on bicycles. Each project stands on its own merit in this regard.

February 20, 2021
RE: ABC Initiatives – Various

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

Over the last several years, the Albany Bicycle Coalition proposed a number of projects to enhance the value of our community to all its residents and to those who visit or work in the City of Albany. I would like your assistance in tracing down the status of these proposals with in the city. The base document for each item is attached for your reference.

  • South End Connector Safety Modifications (11/14/20) – One of the safety issues – the intersection of the South End Connector with Church St. and Broadway is of long standing. We were surprised that it remained unaddressed in the final configuration of the Connector. The second safety issue resulted from the new junction between S. Pearl St. and the Connector at the I-787 S. Pearl St. overpass. The city needs to address them both. At the same time we submitted these recommendations, we added some items to enhance the values of the Connector to the “south end” community.
  • Clinton Ave. Refreshment of Bicycle Lane Pavement Markings (10/12/20) – The benefits of the Clinton Ave. bicycle lanes to residents (traffic calming in a residential area), to people in cars (calmed speed with fewer wrecks) and to people on bicycles (easy climb “up the hill” and safety will only be maximized if the lanes are maintained so they are visible to all.
  • New Scotland Ave. Major Bicycle Commuter Route (4/18/20) – Again, New Scotland Ave. would jump to the top of any list as a major commuter route for people on bicycles as it connects many residential areas to places of employment or service along it. The section from Manning Blvd. to Bethlehem is the singular route for cyclists and is blessed with room for superior bicycle facilities for much of its length. Additional, those who participated in the traffic study were clear in their desire for traffic calming.
  • Western Ave. Traffic Calming (7/21/19) – As in the 2009 Albany Bicycle Master Plan, the November 2020 draft of the new Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan calls for Western Ave. to be a “major bikeway” with recommended protected bicycle lanes. Regardless, the clear need is to convert immediately Western Ave. into a traffic-calmed street with the same or better treatment as on Madison Ave. There is no evident need to wait for yet another study, as Western Ave. will always bubble to the top of the improvement list.
  • Albany-Colonie Connector (10/2/18) – Albany Bicycle Coalition is on a campaign for bicycle connections between the various municipalities. We want to develop a network of relatively low-stress, low-traffic routes. The Albany-Colonie Connector is one of our prime goals as it will join the Washington Ave. Ext./Guilderland to the Town of Colonie and Niskayuna and lead to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. The route is clear and all it needs is support of the municipalities to embrace it with way finding signage, and repair and bicycle facilities such as bicycle lane and protected bicycle lanes.
  • Close Washington Park Road to Motor Vehicles (8/26/16) – When the water/sewer repairs on S. Lake Ave. closed the park road along the southwest Washington Park Lake, it was apparent that this road need not be available to people in cars. Closing it permanently would have two benefits: (1) partially returning Washington Park to its park status and (2) preparing the way for more reductions in motor vehicle traffic in the park as part of the proposed Washington Park-Lark St. study.

Mayor Sheehan, as always the Albany Bicycle Coalition believes that it has put forward ideas that will enhance the City of Albany for all street users by adding safety, economic growth, and pleasantness. When we were pushing for protected bicycle lanes on Madison Ave., you once stated to me “protected bicycle lanes would make it a ‘bicycle project’” vs. a traffic calming project. While we operate under the umbrella of cycling and the needs of people on bicycles, my several years of observing the new Madison Ave. and many of Clinton Ave. convince me more than ever every one of our projects stands to have benefits far beyond that primary focus.

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#1 – Safety and Access Enhancements to the South End Connector ~ As submitted 9/17/20 to the City of Albany with updates 2/19/21 ~

Multiuse Path Maintenance – the City of Albany Department of General Services was quite responsive to our recent call for mowing and cleanup of the median/divider on the I-787 access/frontage road portion of the South End Connector. The city needs to ensure that this maintenance be a regular part of DGS’s role in the area. Glass in the cycle track will continue to plague people on bicycles.

Signage, Lighting, and Striping at S. Pearl St.-South End Connector Intersection – There is a need for signage and re-striping of the crosswalks and new lighting at the intersection of S. Pearl Street and the I-787 access/frontage road. This would alert people in cars who are making both left and right turns from S. Pearl onto the access road that bicyclists and pedestrians could be using the crosswalks. These are swooping turns that are, unfortunately, plentiful in the City of Albany. Motor vehicles traveling north on S. Pearl make the turn at excessive speed. It is awkward for bicyclists wanting to continue north on S. Pearl to see cars coming from the south. (That is, those who are not staying on the Connector beyond this intersection). Similarly, people on bicycles heading south on S. Pearl St. but wanting to enter the Connector (i.e., a left turn off S. Pearl St.) have difficulty making a safe turn. Pedestrians also have to look awkwardly to their left before stepping into the crosswalk, when heading north on S. Pearl, or their right, when heading south. We raised this issue at the public meetings hosted by the City.

Attention to this intersection (as well as Bassett St. and Broadway/Quay St.) is integral to making the Connector a community/local street asset and not merely a recreational, end-to-end experience. It is part of recognizing that the “South End” needs access to current and future bicycle facilities in the City of Albany.

Pedestrian And Cyclist Entrance/Exit at Bassett St. – To encourage safe access to the Connector and to promote it as a community resource, there needs to be an entrance/exit connecting Bassett St. and the South End Connector. Addition of a striped area (e.g., a green path) could easily accomplish this purpose with the addition a “no entry for motor vehicles” sign.

Enhanced Motor Vehicle Traffic Control at Broadway/Quay St. – This intersection has been a barrier for people on bicycles and people walking since its original construction. This long-standing problem predates the South End Connector by many years and was the site where a motor vehicle operator struck and killed cyclist Jose Perez.

Ghost Buke for Jose at Broadway and Quay

Looking east toward the Hudson River, people in cars swoop off Broadway at high speeds to the right/south. When they make this right turn onto Broadway, they come up on the bicycle rider’s blind side. The only current traffic control is a yield sign. This sign is ineffective since it is clear to a driver that there is no motor vehicle traffic to which to yield. At an absolute minimum, a stop sign should replace the yield sign. This alteration is a small task that could be done in an hour or two at minimal cost.

For guidance for people on bicycles, bright green bicycle lanes (similar to Colonie St.) would help southbound riders coming from the Corning Riverfront Park to see clearly the correct bike diagonally across the street. Bicyclists cannot see the Connector since it is across the intersection under I-787. Prominent wayfinding signs, a map, and green pavement markings would guide riders from the waterfront to South End Connector without mistakenly riding in the street.

It is also unclear as to how bicyclists are to navigate crossing Broadway when either exiting the Connector or the Corning riverfront trail. When the light is red for vehicles traveling north on Broadway, riders coming off the Connector are scanning to their left and rear. Riders exiting the Corning trail have to scan straight ahead and be far enough out of the intersection to clear traffic turning onto the I-787 ramp, often at high speed. (We have even witnessed the running of red lights.) People on bicycles also have to be alert to motor vehicles coming north on Broadway to continue on Quay St. or Broadway into the city proper. This issue was raised at the public meetings hosted by the City of Albany. Overall, we need more demonstrative traffic control and signage at this intersection.

South End Connector Grand Opening Ride

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#2 – Refresh Lane Markings Clinton Ave.

October 12, 2020 – RE: Lane Markings Clinton Ave.

It’s Easier to Smile on Clinton Ave. When We Can See the Bike Lane Markings

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

This is to draw your attention to the need to refresh the bicycle lane markings on Clinton Ave.

Because of its Ten Broeck-to-Manning bicycle lanes, Clinton Ave. is a favored “up the hill” route for people on bicycles. The street also connects directly to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and, ultimately, to the Skyway. With the advent of the bicycle lane network in the Northern Blvd. area and the hoped for on-street bicycle link between it and the lanes on Clinton Ave., maintenance of the lane markings on the avenue is critical.

In many areas only ghost images remain. This is especially so at cross streets where traffic scrubbing is heavy. People in cars entering Clinton Ave. need the markings to alert them to the presence of bicycles and people.

Over and above all bicycle and motor vehicle issues, Clinton Ave. with its adjacent streets is essentially residential with people coming and going, children playing, and many enjoying time with neighbors and friends on stoops and sidewalks. For those who remember when Clinton Ave. was essentially a 4-lane superhighway, although unmarked as such, the installation of bicycle lanes in 2008 brought traffic calming to the street. Even so, the route still has unending through- and cross-town traffic. Equity alone suggests that the city have a thorough and regular program of refreshing pavement markings to preserve this major side benefit of bicycle lanes – reduced motor vehicle speeds.

On behalf of people on bicycles and the residents and visitors to Clinton Ave., I ask that you arrange for an inspection and timely remediation of the bicycle lanes.

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#3 – Bicycle Lanes on New Scotland Ave. – Manning Blvd. to White Hall Rd.

April 8, 2019 – RE: New Scotland Ave. – Manning Blvd. to White Hall Rd.

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

We in the Albany Bicycle Coalition are pleased to learn of progress on New Scotland Ave. Traffic Calming and appreciate your attention to this major route through the City of Albany. Even though we understand that this project has a long completion horizon, we would like to offer our comments.

  • Speaking not only as cyclists, but also in consideration of all users of New Scotland Ave. – pedestrians, motorists, disabled, and local businesses – we fully endorse a complete streets/road diet approach. We believe two motor vehicle lanes, superior bicycle lanes, and appropriate and supportive signalization and signage is the only proper treatment for this road. As you well know, New Scotland Ave. could be a major bicycle commuter route – any effort to Traffic Calm this street will benefit all.

We recommend the following specifically:

  • That the city install high-quality bicycle lanes for the entire segment. To install other than full-dimension bicycle lanes will lose the traffic calming befit that derives from them (as we know from Madison Avenue Traffic Calming).
  • That any traffic circles/roundabouts be single lane and not “hybrid” in nature.
  • That Creighton Manning refine and adopt the “bump out plan” for the New Scotland/Lenox/Buckingham intersection to decelerate people in cars turning from New Scotland onto Buckingham and from Buckingham onto New Scotland Ave. This will reinforce what we understand to be the planned treatment for Quail St./New Scotland Ave.
  • That between Manning Blvd. and Whitehall Rd. there should be no Shared Lanes for these reasons:
    • Shared Lanes markings, being in the travel lane and subject to damage by traffic, street sweeping, and plowing will disappear in 1.5 to 2 years. Their modest benefit for people on bicycles then will be lost and motor vehicle traffic will return to the (high) road design speed.
    • According to NACTO, shared lanes should support a complete bikeway network.  They are not a facility type and should not be considered a substitute for bicycle lanes or other separation treatments where these types of facilities are otherwise warranted or space permits.  Accordingly, we suggest that as a matter of city policy you never recommend Shared Lanes unless they are part of a planned “bikeway network.”
    • Shared Lanes might have a place on New Scotland Ave. if we look at the entire Whitehall Rd.-Madison Ave. route as a bicycle network. For example, approaching the Albany Medical Center Hospital from the west heading downtown, they might be installed just west of Holland Ave.
    • With the customary “three alternatives approach” used on planning assessments such as New Scotland Ave., an alternative based on Shared Lanes becomes a throwaway. A preferred set of alternative might include, say, Buffered Bicycle Lanes, Protected Bicycle Lanes, or conventional Bicycle Lanes.
  • This last thought leads to our final recommendation that the City of Albany to do a preliminary, non-binding assessment of the entire Whitehall Rd.-Madison Ave. stretch so that whatever decisions are made on the Whitehall-Manning segment will be compatible with an overall objective of making New Scotland Ave. a major bikeway.

Albany Bicycle Coalition looks forward to helping bring this project to fruition.

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#4 – Western Ave. Traffic Calming

July 30, 2020 – RE: It’s Time for Western Ave. Traffic Calming

Western Ave. Begging for Bike Lanes ~ Plenty of Room!

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

As we come off the high of opening the South End Connector, it’s time to revisit an old favorite – connecting the City of Albany and Madison Ave. to Guilderland.

Over the past years, motorists, bus patrons, pedestrians, and cyclists have adapted to Albany’s highly successful Madison Ave. Traffic Calming initiative. The four-lane, crash-prone thoroughfare is now a pleasant urban street on which to drive, walk, bus, cycle, and patronize businesses. The new programmed/on-demand traffic lights and pavement markings allow Madison Ave. pedestrians to cross at every light between Allen and Willet Sts. without having to touch a button. Motorists cruise along at 20-30 mph without fear of being rear ended in the left-turn lane or experiencing unannounced, sudden lane changes. Drivers have become accustomed to cyclists and cyclists have flocked to Madison as a major uptown-downtown connector. It has been a boon to CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare users and to growth of the BikeShare program.

The Town of Guilderland and the NYSDOT refreshed the Western Ave. bicycle lanes running from the city line/University at Albany to Stuyvesant Plaza.

It is time to connect these Madison and Western Ave. projects into a seamless, calmed commuter and recreational route. Western Ave. from UA to Madison has two schools with posted 20 mph zones and many business and residences with exiting and entering traffic. The too-wide double lanes encourage speeding and crazy lane changes threatening everyone’s safety. This is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. This wide street section with essentially no parking has ample room for buffered bicycle lanes without impeding the smooth flow of motor vehicle traffic.

This approach will create a street design that matches the posted speed and gives all users a safe and efficient route from Guilderland to downtown Albany. It will address the inequities of those who are “car less,” those who feel unsafe on crowded buses, and those who value environmentally sound, safe solo exercise.

Mayor Sheehan, you know all of the features and benefits already and that this is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. The street’s pavement is in pretty good shape so this is an easy lift – no big bucks for utilities, curb cuts, and so on. In its 2009 Bicycle Master Plan, the City of Albany identified Western Ave. as one of its 18 “major bikeways” and will likely so re-designate it in the new Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan. We seem to be on the cusp of a “bicycle boom” brought about by the COVID-19 conditions (Times Union 5/8/20; New York Times 6/13, 15, 19 and 25/20; Adventure Cyclist 8/20). “We are selling bikes faster than we can assemble them out of the boxes … I can’t tell you how crazy it is,” stated the Freeman Bridge Sports service manager.

The City of Albany will have to do this job someday. Why not now?

I ask your support in raising this project to the “can do.” We look forward to working with you and staff to bring it about.

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#5 – Rapp Rd. and the Albany-Colonie Connector

October 2, 2018 – RE: Rapp Rd. and the Albany-Colonie Connector –

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

We are trying to promote what we have termed the “Albany-Colonie Connector.” The route connects a series of presently independent elements to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian travel from the City of Albany through the University at Albany to the Six-Mile Trail and thence along Rapp Rd. through the Village of Colonie and to the Shaker Multiuse Path, and shortly thereafter to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail/Empire State Trail at Lions Park. We are hopeful for your interest and support.

Enclosed please find “Safe Bike Travel Between Colonie and UAlbany/Western Avenue:  Rapp Road the Weak Link.” As all in the Capital District know, Central Avenue is notoriously dangerous for non-motorists and has been the focus of many articles, studies, and traffic design efforts. A bicycle ride between Albany and Colonie along busy Central Avenue is not for the faint of heart. The Central Avenue interchange with the Northway is particularly hazardous for cyclists.   

As described in this document, the Albany Bicycle Coalition has identified a much safer existing alternative route from Central Avenue at Jupiter Avenue to the University at Albany’s Purple Path, and Western Avenue (with its newly re-installed bicycle lanes in Guilderland). The route encompasses several multiuse paths and wide bicycle-friendly roads. The biggest barrier to the proposed route is the sad state of a 0.6-mile segment of Rapp Road. It is ripe for redesign and repaving.Hon. Kathy

We trust that you will agree that this route provides a safe and direct connection using existing (or slightly modified) facilities. With the notable exception of Rapp Rd., we are asking merely for “tweaks” to the present components of the route. That is, we are proposing use of facilities we already have and that are suitable for the intended use. This is not a huge capital expenditure proposal. As the Washington Ave. Corridor project develops, it too will play an important role.

The Albany Bicycle Coalition respectfully requests that you review the attached booklet and consider this modest proposal to make bicycle friendly improvements to this short section of Rapp Road a part of a Rapp Road repaving project.  

Mayor Sheehan, we ask that you consider supporting this campaign by working with us to identify what can be done and how we might make it happen.

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#6 – Close the Lake Road in Washington Park

August 26, 2016 – RE: Close the Road – Washington Park

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

Why not just keep the Washington Park road closed?

No Cars in Sight!

During the “big dig” on Lake Ave., the one-way road along the south side of the lake in Washington Park has been closed to motor vehicle traffic. Since no apparent disaster has occurred because of this closure, may I suggest that it be made permanent?

The residents (and their attendants) of The Royce on the Park (former B’Nai B’Rith Parkview Apartments) as well joggers, walkers, and cyclists regularly use this path into and out of the park. Fir many of them, I would guess that this is a treasured experience of the day. The road could be, of course, open to emergency vehicles and for major park events such as “Holiday Lights.” In the many times I have been on this road, I’ve never seen any constructive use except as a pass through for people in cars and for a few who enjoy parking by the lake.

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Filed under Albany Riverfront Park, Albany-Bike/Ped Master Plan, Albany-Colonie Connector, Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan, City Review, Road Diet - Traffic Calming, South End Bikeway Connector, Support the Cause, Washington Ave., Western Ave.

Monkey Wards Way Now Open

Good News! – The Monkey Wards Way Connector linking Rt. 32/Broadway in Menands at the former Montgomery Ward retail store and warehouse and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail just south of Troy is now open. This is a fine addition to the trail network. 

There is still a little work to be completed (e.g., control panels for the bicycle-pedestrian crossings at Broadway).

UPDATE – as the following two photos (taken 3-30-21) show, the combined bicycle-pedestrian traffic light controls are operational.

#1 – Controls for crossing the I-787 ramp
#2 – Control on west side of Broadway for crossing Broadway
Entry from Broadway (older photo)

Exiting onto Broadway – Bike Route #9

The Route

The RouteMonkey Wards Way is the only Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail entry/exit between Albany’s Corning Riverfront Park and the Rt. 378 Bridge entrance to S. Troy and the only MHBHT access on the West side of the Hudson between Corning Riverfront Park at the Colonie St./boat launch area and 4th Street in Watervliet. The new Menands entrance is about 2.2 miles on Broadway from Watervliet’s 4th St. entrance and 3.1 miles on Broadway from Albany’s N. Lawrence St. Those going to or coming from a location on Broadway would have to choose an entry point – based on their traffic tolerance level and total distance.

Area Map

Previously, once riders started out south from S. Troy or north from the Corning Riverfront Park on the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, they committed to a 6-mile ride. This new Connector is the only modification to entry to the MHBHT since the July 2010 installation of the connection from the trail to S. Troy over the Rt. 378 Bridge (10 years ago!).

Connection Ramp to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail
A Unicycle Maybe?
Looking Down onto the MHBHT and the Hudson River
Another View of the MHBHT – Note Walker

Sidebar – As an editorial note, this MHBHT/UST connection, as great as it is, was never 100 percent completed. First, there is no wayfinding features at either end so that only the “in-the-know” riders are aware of it. The Troy portion of the trail leaves people on bicycles with 2 options: dive into the “crazy-driver convention” at the Mill St./High/St./Burden Ave./Morrison Ave. traffic spaghetti bowl or ride the narrow, unkempt, bumpy sidewalk from the bridge to the traffic signal at Mill and Water. Not a feat for the faint of heart. One then makes a mad dash to the relative calm of Troy’s wonderful on- and off-street Uncle Sam Trail. For a review of the Uncle Sam Trail, go here – Uncle Sam Trail | Albany Bicycle Coalition On the plus side, the “serpentine” ramp connection between bridge sidewalk and the  trail was carefully engineered so that – although it looks steep – the majority of riders can climb it.

Potential Benefits – For some people, this new connector will be useful. Broadway is slowly being converted to semi-bicycle friendliness with a big gap between N. Pearl and downtown Albany (where there are zero facilities worth note). Northbound, there is a gap from Monkey Wards Way to Watervliet in which there are ample “low stress” side streets until one gets to the (off road) side path at 4th St. (See the CapitalNYBikeMap.) The traffic volume between the new Connector and Watervliet – with the exception of the Rt. 78 exit/entrance ramp area – is manageable for many riders, albeit in a low-low gear.

Westerly View – Note Wards (aka “Riverview Center”)
View from the Trail – Entrance Ramp to I-787 North and Exit Ramp from I-787 South – Noisy!

Monkey Wards Way offers options along that stretch as well as potential connection to other popular cycling routes such as the network of bicycle lanes on Van Rensselaer Blvd. and Northern Blvd. connecting the City of Albany and Albany Rural Cemetery. New explorers should note that most Van Rensselaer Blvd.-Broadway connections involve some notable hills.

Crossing I-787 – Looking South

Monkey Wards in the Background Looking North – Bike Lanes Approaching the Entrance to Monkey Wards Way

Maintenance – Maintenance will be a major concern, as the bottle throwers will continue their usual practice leaving a trail of potential flats behind them. The sections closest to the roadway will be the most troublesome as motor vehicle traffic sweeps trash into the path. The Rt. 378 path connecting the Uncle Sam Trail to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail suffers from the same malady. Volunteers have occasionally taken to cleaning the area (as it seems to fall in one of those municipal border twilight zones that “is not my problem”). The 378 bridge substantial curbs lessen the sideward movement of road trash, unlike the Monkey Wards Way Bridge where the road way and trail are on one surface near and over the I-787 overpass (see photos). It will need frequent cleaning with non-standard-width equipment.

Construction 1 – Looking West with Monkey Wards to the Right on Broadway

Construction 2 (looking east toward Troy)

Caveats – On the trail, there are two very sharp bends necessitated by the land available and the underpass at the southbound entrance ramp form Rt. 378 to I-87. There are “turn arrow” warning signs on both sides of the underpass, but it is sharp and fast and the tunnel is narrow. Riders will have to be cautious particularly when riding downhill.

The Tunnel – Slow Down!
Exiting the Tunnel Heading West Toward Wards and Broadway

Along Rt. 378 (esp. east bound), the trail is a noisy, noisy route with very high speed traffic just off one’s left shoulder and a skimpy, low-level guard rail.

Trail and Road on Same Surface Level – Low “Guard Rail”

People on bicycles entering the Monkey Wards Way from the south and those continuing north on Broadway will have to deal with a merging motor vehicle right turn lane and the bicycle lane that ends abruptly at the Connector entrance. It is not clear if there will be bicycle-level traffic control for people on bicycles coming south on Broadway and wanting to enter the Connector and the MHBHT. The bicycle lanes run south to the Broadway intersection with N. Pearl St.

Bike Lane-Motor Vehicle Turn Lane – Note Bike Lane Moves from Curb to Through Lane on the Left

Project Description – “Monkey Wards Way” is a playful name used until an official name is chosen. New York State Department of Transportation refers to the $7.9 million project as “Bicycle and Pedestrian Connection from Broadway to the Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail Along the Hudson River, Crossing Interstate 787 in the Village of Menands,” clearly not a catchy title to remember. See more on Department of Transportation’s project here –   NYSDOT | DYN_PROJECT_DETAILS

Conclusion – The new Monkey Wards Way presents an exciting option for riders going to or coming from various destinations. As the so-called warehouse district evolves and bicycle amenities on Broadway are expanded, the Connector suggests some interesting benefits. As always, people on bicycles will be the final judges on any the new bicycle travel option.

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Filed under Capital Trails-New York, Empire State Trail, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Trail Network, Watervliet

Rossi Junction – Honoring a Bicycling Hero

Rossi Junction – Honoring a Crucial Bicycling Activist – New York’s network of bike trails, paths, and routes that we enjoy today did not just materialize. In the 1990s laws were enacted that allowed the federal Highway Trust Fund to be used for bicycle and pedestrian needs. Afterwards, public investment in bicycle infrastructure exploded. No activist contributed more to New York State’s bicycle infrastructure than did Lou Rossi. He was a principal influence in opening the trust fund, and then became the driving force behind New York’s system of 21 signed Bike Routes. He wrote popular books on touring the state by bicycle. Moreover, as a founding member of NYBC, the New York State Bicycling Coalition, he formed an organization that vigorously lobbies State government to make cycling in New York friendlier and safer. You can learn more about Lou Rossi’s career and contributions to New York’s bike systems at this Internet link: https://tinyurl.com/RossiStory.

When Lou passed away in 2020, his colleagues at the State Department of Transportation decided to construct a memorial to honor his immense contribution to bicycling. Lou’s work exemplifies the best of Civil Service. Few in the broad bicycle community are aware of his contributions, but we all owe him immense gratitude. His colleagues hope to dedicate the memorial this spring. The memorial will be in Albany the intersection of the two longest Bike Routes – Bike Route 5 from Niagara Falls to Massachusetts and Bike Route 9 from Canada to New York City. ROSSI JUNCTION will denote the junction’s significance and have a rest area for local and touring cyclists’ enjoyment. If you want to know more about the memorial plans, go to this link: https://tinyurl.com/MemorialDescription.

Proposed Memorial Site at Corning Riverfront Park

We are raising funds to erect a suitable junction marker with interpretive plaques. If you enjoy New York State’s bike network or otherwise have benefited from Lou’s efforts we hope you will help.

If you would like to assist, please make a check out to the New York Bicycling Coalition and put “For Lou Rossi Memorial Fund” on the memo line. Mail it to New York Bicycling Coalition, PO Box 8868, Albany, NY 12208. Alternatively, go online at NYBC.net where you can use a credit card.

Thank You from the Committee for a Memorial to Lou Rossi:

Rich Brustman

Barry Hecht

Dick Maitino

Jeff Olson

Questions? You can email us at LouRossiMemorial@gmail.com or call at 518-461-8803

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Filed under Fundraising, Local Heros, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail