Washington Ave. – Watcha’ Gonna Do?




The recent reduction in speed limits on Washington Ave. from Brevator to Fuller Rd. (from 40 to 30 mph) and from Fuller to Rt. 155/Karner Rd. (from 55 to 45) invites immediate reconsideration of the street for use by people on bicycles and for increased safety for all road users. Opening almost 4 miles on Washington Ave. for all users would provide a major commuter and recreational route and would connect the City of Albany to Schenectady and the suburbs with benefits to all. Specifically for people on bicycles, a traffic-calmed Washington Ave. would connect to the Six Mile Waterworks Park trail (and thence to Lincoln Ave./Rapp Rd. and then to Central Ave.) allowing riders to bypass the dangerous Wolf Rd. – Central Ave. area.

To support this approach, we need only note that, although the official speed is now lower, the configuration of the road and the clear message it sends to people in cars is – 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 mph – it’s all good. The entire Albany Police Department could not “police” speeders on Washington Ave. The simple solution is to abandon this configuration of wide lanes with negligible build up or greenery near the roadway, wide shoulders, and 4 lanes. We can send a “complete streets message” by taking advantage of these wide shoulders and extra wide motor vehicle travel lanes to provide 11-foot travel lanes and bicycle lanes on each side from Manning Blvd. to 155/Karner Rd..

A positive feature of Washington Ave. is that it lies under only one jurisdiction – the City of Albany – and is not a New York State numbered route. This means that it is unnecessary to navigate many levels of government to make these changes.

Another aspect of Washington Ave. is the “trail to nowhere” that starts on the sidewalk at the Fuller Rd. underpass/traffic circle on the south side of Washington Ave. (2.4 miles from Manning Blvd.). This multi-use path runs to an abrupt end at the Collin’s Circle entrance to the University at Albany. On its way there, the multi-use path crosses one campus access road (W. University Dr.) with no bicycle accommodations but with pedestrian crossing signals. (With Albany’s “right turn on red after pause ’rule’,” all these University at Albany entries are high-risk crossings.)

There is unencumbered real estate for continuation of this path from Collins Circle to the New York State Harriman Campus western border near the traffic lights controlling access to the office complex at 1365-1367-1375 Washington Ave. (3.8 miles from the start of the multiuse path at Fuller Rd.). Possibly, all that is needed is straightforward signaled crossover for pedestrians and for people on bicycles (to switch between the multi-use path and the bicycle lanes).

Here is a look at Washington Ave. (photos dated 4-9-17):

  1. (photo above) Super Mirage at Fuller at Wash Ave
  2. (photo above)Fuller at Wash Ave – Looking east
  3. Aspen & Quad Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  4. Collins Cir Entrance Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  5. Looking toward new Path Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  6. E Bridge over Ring Rd Wash Ave-UA
  7. Exit to Patroon Creek and Ring Rd Wash Ave-UA
  8. Bridge Over Rt 85 at Jermain St Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  9. Exit to Rt 85 from Wash Ave-UA

3. Aspen & Quad – Looking East



5. New Path Route East?


6. East Bridge Over NYS Campus Ring Rd.



7. Exit to Patroon Creek and NYS Campus Ring Road



8. Bridge Over Rt 85 at Jermain St.



9. Exit to Rt 85 from Washington Ave.



Filed under ABChallenge-2017, Bike Lanes

4 responses to “Washington Ave. – Watcha’ Gonna Do?

  1. Joe Fitzgerald

    It seems like u won’t be satisfied until all roads are single lanes w/20mph just to pander to the little to none bike/ped users. Why don’t u just ban all car traffic You’ve foolishly ruined madison and wash aves with longer queues and wait times on all n\s intersections and a totally unrealistic speed limits. The are more cars on the road here then everbefore and all u are doing is causing more delays and more clogged lanes. I’ve lived in Albany for 30 yrs now and I can honestly say your meddling with traffic flow has made this city much, much WORSE!!

  2. Aaron Corman

    I rode my bike to work today down Washington Ave to Fuller Rd. I saw some joggers, pedestrians, and other cyclists. The dangers presented to all of these users of our roadways west of Brevator is a black stain on our City. It’s shameful that with all that greenspace we cannot do a better job making this area safer for ALL users.

  3. Last September 25 (2016) I was rear-ended riding home from church. I have no recollection of the incident, and the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital. Thank God, I was wearing my helmet or I wouldn’t be alive today. I am grateful for the doctors and staff at Kaiser Permeante for helping bring me back to where I am today and the attorneys and staff at Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP for helping me with my finances.

  4. Zed Fechten

    Sorry, but Washington Ave Extension is an unnumbered state highway, from the Exit 2 signal to New Karner Road. West of the Thruway, the frontage roads are city streets, and they are probably the most bikable options.

    New Karner Road has a wide right-of-way. If funding could be found to bridge the Thruway and Amtrak, a cycle track could run from Western to Central. Also, if the Pines Bush Commission could be convinced, a hard-surfaced trail from the end of Madison Extension to Old State Road at Lydius Road would be another useful link.

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