Support the Cause: Madison Avenue Calming Common Council Meeting – 9/1/10, 6:00 PM, City Hall

Dear Cyclists,

It would be nice if we had some cyclists in the room at tonight presentation by the “Madison Avenue Calming Taskforce.”  You do not have to speak or ask questions.

However, if you do choose to speak, the following are some background points.  Of cause, your wealth of experience as a cyclist and an observer of bicycling would make for the best “testimony.”  Remember, these streets are yours just as much as they are those of motor vehicle operators, pedestrians, etc.  ABC has backed this plan since its inception.

If you e-mail me directyly, I can send you the Power Point we will present tonight.  (Too big to go through listserv.)  It has some info of which you may not be aware and might be helpful to you in your other work promoting bicycling.


Background Information re: Madison Avenue Traffic Calming, Addition of Bicycle Lanes

1. Vision/philosophy

  • Role of cars in the life of cities should be second to that of pedestrians and bicyclists. CDTC planning publication calls for more bicycle and pedestrian friendly cities and a less traffic dependent capital region.  Madison lane reduction would allow room for bicycle lanes.
  • A Sustainable Design Assessment Team Report for Albany. pg. 13 “Environment and Open Space” section, states:

As the city of Albany has grown, many people are less connected to its open spaces, not only because of the greater distances created by sprawl but also due to the growing reconfigure of the region around automobile travel over the years. This is reflected in many different ways:

–Traffic signal times do not allow people to cross streets comfortably.

–Major streets need more bike lanes, and other streets need traffic-calming measures.

2. Reasons for traffic calming through lane reduction:

  • Increased safety for all users — bicyclists, transit riders, pedestrians, and drivers
  • Growth of local businesses from increased visibility and more pedestrian and bicycle traffic
  • Calming of traffic to reduce passing, speeding, sudden lane changes, red-light running, making right turns from parking lanes, and related violations
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions following from steadier automobile speeds and increased bicycle use
  • Improved access for emergency and response vehicles
  • Increased maneuverability for buses and convenience and safety for bus riders
  • Decrease in number of accidents due to fewer points of conflict and enhanced visibility

The spending habits of cyclists and pedestrians, their relatively high travel mode share, and the minimal impact on parking all demonstrate that merchants in this area are unlikely to be negatively affected by reallocating on-street parking space to a bike lane. On the contrary, this change will likely increase commercial activity.

3. Reasons for lane reduction/addition of bike lanes on Madison in particular:

  • Madison Avenue lane reduction has written support from Albany Bicycling Coalition, NY Bicycling Coalition, CANA (29 Albany neighborhood associations, the College of and The Muddy Cup (Madison Avenue business).
  • Parking is a problem in Pine Hills. Increased bicycle traffic would reduce parking congestion.
  • Increased use of Madison Avenue as a State-designated bike route (#5) due to enhanced bicycle safety (bicycle lanes).
  • Relatively short route from Manning/Allen to Lark, making costs associated with lane reduction less than other similar roads.
  • Pine Hills NA, representing 10,000 residents of Pine Hills (population comparable to City of Watervliet) unanimously supports it.
  • Madison corridor contains many businesses, churches, students, and elderly (St. Rose, St. Andrew’s, St. Vincent’s church, and senior housing) that generate significant amounts of pedestrian traffic, and potentially much more bicycle traffic if the street were safer.
Written by Chris Belsole

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