A Visit Out West – Bicycle Lanes in Olean

In an on-going search for New York State cities where bicycles are welcome on the “main drag,” a recent review of Union St. in sunny Olean (300 miles west of Albany), reveals a four-lane superhighway with diagonal parking and multiple traffic lights being reduced to two motor vehicle travel lanes, two bicycle lanes, diagonal parking, and several roundabouts. The “under construction” photo tells it all. Traffic calming!


Traffic Calming in Olean

For more on New York State cities who want people on bicycles on their main streets, go here.

What else is there to see? The 6.2-mile “Allegheny River Valley Trail” is a paved route along its eponymous river. It circles around and through the St. Bonaventure University campus and then passes along the north side of town back to the city center.


Allegheny River Valley Trail

For selected trips, this trail – although intended primarily for recreation – would constitute a great commuter route. While the trail does not completely circumnavigate the city, it connects to some attractive low-traffic streets so that a complete circle can be enjoyed.

Regrettably and like many other similar trails, you have to KNOW that it exists and you have to KNOW the entry points. Why spend 1,000s on a trail and not 100s on some simple signage?

Not to be out done by the City of Albany, Olean is proud of its own extensive “tank bomb” marshaling yard where the black tankers stretch as far as one can see. The photos taken while stopping at the Twist and Shake soft ice cream store show nicely how the tankers can be appreciated from the River Valley Trail. Neat! North of Olean, there is an endless stream of tankers (full? empty?) sitting in Haskell Valley along I-86.


Tank Bombs and Ice Cream


More Tank Bombs and Ice Cream


Valley Bomb Train

Heading back toward Metroland, the Village of Waterloo (birthplace of Memorial Day and just west of that of the Women’s Movement in Seneca Falls), sports bicycle lanes on its main street through town – which is also Rts. 5 and 20.


Waterloo Welcomes People on Bicycles!

And where is Albany? With the exception of 0.8 miles of bicycle lanes on Clinton Ave. and another 700-1,00 feet on Northern Blvd, nada. At this rate, the City of Albany will have a whopping 3 or so bicycle-lane miles when its Bicycle Master Plan reaches its planned 20-year completion date.


Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, City Review

2 responses to “A Visit Out West – Bicycle Lanes in Olean

  1. The traffic calming in Olean looks great! Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to our calming here on Madison Avenue.

  2. I would very much like to have bike lanes in Albany just like what’s shown in the pictures. NYC has it; Albany should step it up. I’m sure it would see use.

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