Art and (Bicycle) Access

Art and (Bicycle) Access – 1st Friday Gallery Spin and Bicycle Boulevard Mapping  – A number of new 1st Friday Gallery Spin riders plus some regulars departed the Soldiers and Sailor Monument in Washington Park for the traditional first stop at the Upstate Artists Guild.  The show there, “Fashion and Art,” was a real treat with live models/mannequins showing off some of the wearable entries.  There was a nice array of fashion-themed 2-D art in the main, back, and side galleries, all augmented by a DJ.

We next zipped out Delaware Ave. (love those shared lane makings and signs!) to disrupt the diners at Mingle  by examining an impressive mix of paintings and photographs (including one bicycle-themed piece).  On the way, we waved to baby Indiana and her parents, Laura and Perry, longtime cycling advocates.

We were then off to the Opalka Gallery for a must-see show featuring John Van Alstine, “Arrested Motion/Perilous.  Do not miss this one (ends 10/14/12).  Our last gallery visit was the Massery at College of St. Rose for the closing night of the Art and Design Faculty Show.  As one of our riders expressed interest in displaying his art in Albany, we checked out the Madison Theater windows  where the theater and the Beautify Upper Madison Avenue Project sponsors installations by local artists.  There we saw Matt Ramsey’s commissioned piece for the Upper Madison Street Fair, “When We Destroy the World Around Us, We Destroy Ourselves” and an installation by Kimberly Marks of College of St. Rose student entries to the Street Fair poster contest.  (As a side note, the Upper Madison Street Fair – 2012 will feature an Exotic Bicycle Exhibit .

As an add-on to this 1st Friday Gallery Spin, we were committed to reconnoitering Berkshire Blvd. and connecting city streets.

Berkshire Blvd. is designated officially in the Albany Bicycle Master Plan (page 39) as a “neighborhood bikeway.  Our interest was to explore the possibility of its being the main spine of a bicycle boulevard connecting the western extremes of the city to downtown.  As a bicycle boulevard, this would be a low-volume street optimized for bicycle travel by traffic calming and diversion, signage and pavement markings, and intersection treatments.

Bicycle boulevards are shared roadways that are comfortable and attractive to cyclists with a range of abilities and ages.  Ideally, they are inconvenient as through routes for automobiles.  Bicycle boulevards serve major origins, destinations, and travel corridors and should be as direct and intuitive as possible.  As a residential roadway, Berkshire Blvd. already has low motor vehicle volume and could serve well as a bicycle boulevard. As with many bicycle-focused improvements, there would be spillover benefits to the Berkshire Blvd. community – less speeding, more quiet, enhanced walk-ability.

If it were so designated, some low-cost treatments could include the following:

  • Prioritizing bicycle movement with stop signs that favor the bicycle route
  • Reducing motor vehicle speeds by traffic calming
  • Reducing motor vehicle volumes by traffic diversion
  • Providing crossing improvements at intersections with major streets (refuge islands, signalization, or curb extensions)
  • Helping cyclists find and use the facility with pavement markings and signs with both directional and destination information, which are likely to be destinations

After circling one of Albany’s gens, Buckingham Pond, we headed out Berkshire, crossed Russell Rd., wound through Albany’s 15th Ward, rode trough parts of Bethlehem, and ended up in Guilderland looking across Western Ave. to the glare of Crossgates Mall.  The route we rode – which avoids the high volume/high speed Western Ave. completely – presents political challenges (impact on motor vehicle traffic) and jurisdictional issues (it encompasses streets Albany, Guilderland, Bethlehem, a town park, and some private property).

Our Riders were Sebastian, Jim, John, Filipe, Keith, Paul, and Lorenz.

More to follow . . .

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Filed under Activism, Bicycle Boulevards, City Review, First Friday, Local Bike Rides, Rides, Support the Cause

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