It was a beautiful day yesterday when we all met in front of the Delaware Ave. Library to start our ride around Albany to view and discuss the various bicycle improvements that have been done to the city. Arriving at the library I met a woman by the name of Katie Bronson and a man named Brad Glass both of whom work on the Albany 2030 project. Brad actually had the same Trek 7.3 FX as me so of course we had an instant connection right from the get go. After I arrived Ethan, commenter extraordinaire, arrived. Katie talked a little about the purpose of the ride and how the Delaware Ave. Library was trying to get a Green certification. When six o’clock rolled around we were off. There was a woman there, but she did not ride with us, and I find it the greatest injustice that I never wrote down her name.
We started going down Holland Ave, and we stopped just short of the ghost bike there. We talked a lot about the sharrows and how specific ones were created. Apparently maintaining them is a big deal. Katie said that they were supposed to last three to five years. Weather that number accounts for weather, cars, snow plows I am not sure, but she said that if anyone had a suggestion about how to keep them on the road a little longer she’d be glad to hear it.
The most interesting thing about that stop was the discussion we had about funding. It seems that every different set of sharrows that are put down are laid by a different organization inside the government. I got the sense that the bicycle infrastructure in Albany is more of a “do it while you have the money wherever you can get it” kind of deal rather than a unified “we are going to set this amount of money aside for bicycle infrastructure” thing. This is a little disheartening when I think about it. Maybe it is just how things work in the government, but if they create this Bicycle Master Plan without the backing to see any of it done what is the point of the plan? I have to say though that the things that they were able to get done so far have been great.
After we got rolling again we rode towards the sun down New Scotland Ave. and stopped at a school to talk there about the sharrows we had just passed. Ethan remarked about how much better things had gotten since the sharrows were put down. We started speculating on if there were more riders because of the new sharrows. I have not lived in Albany too long so I could not really comment. What I can say is that I see a lot of women on their bicycles which is an indicator of how many people your city actually has. For some reason the more women you have the more overall riders are on the road.
After that we stopped at the corner of S Main Ave. and Myrtle Ave. where I learned an interesting fact. You remember the CDTA’s bike rack program? Apparently the last year for that is next year. For everyone unfamiliar with the program, the CDTA will go fifty fifty on bike racks for businesses and non-profits. This is a big thing for ABC because next month at our public meeting we will be accepting memberships and ratifying by-laws which means that we will be able to become a 501C3 (non-profit organization) or not. There are pluses and minuses to both, but now we just found out another plus.
We kept riding to Washington Park where we ended our ride with a talk about the difficulty of planning spaces where bike paths end and roads start. After that we split into two groups; Katie and Ethan and Brad and I. Brad had to go to the Honest Weight Food Co-Op, and I love their muffins, which they did not have, so I joined him. I did not end up getting the muffins, but apparently they had just killed a cow so I bought some of the meat. At the co-op I met up with Clair and Bert, and we rode home together.
All-in-all it was a good day. We learned a lot on our ride. I hope that this movement towards bike infrastructure keeps going and if you have any questions or comments please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.