The following letter to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan calls for Traffic Calming on Western Ave.
The Albany Bicycle Coalition proposes the logical extension of the Madison Ave. bicycle lanes from their terminus at S. Allen and Madison Ave./Western Ave. to the city line. There they will join the Town of Guilderland’s long established bicycle lanes at the city line/University at Albany. These combined lanes would provide just over 4 miles of safe cycling for riding to work, school, errands, and health care. It would afford an option for those wishing to avoid COVID-19-risk buses or environmentally damaging petrovehicles. It would also provide safe, affordable commuting for those who do not have access to a motor vehicle.
Your support can make the happen:
- The Mayor’s email is email@example.com The Mayors mailing address is: The Honorable Kathy M. Sheehan, Office of the Mayor, City Hall, Rm. 102, 24 Eagle St., Albany, NY 12207.
- To contact your Albany Common Council member by email, go here – https://www.albanyny.gov/Government/CityOfficials/CommonCouncil.aspx
- You can submit comments to the Albany Common Council here – https://www.albanyny.gov/Government/CityOfficials/CommonCouncil.aspx
Plenty of Room from Here to the City Line – Build It!
July 30, 2020
RE: It’s Time for Western Ave. Traffic Calming
The Honorable Kathy M. Sheehan
Office of the Mayor
City Hall, Rm. 10224 Eagle St.
Albany, NY 12207
Dear Mayor Sheehan:
As we come off the high of opening the South End Connector, it’s time to revisit an old favorite – connecting the City of Albany and Madison Ave. to Guilderland.
Over the past years, motorists, bus patrons, pedestrians, and cyclists have adapted to Albany’s highly successful Madison Ave. Traffic Calming initiative. The four-lane, crash-prone thoroughfare is now a pleasant urban street on which to drive, walk, bus, cycle, and patronize businesses. The new programmed/on-demand traffic lights and pavement markings allow Madison Ave. pedestrians to cross at every light between Allen and Willet Sts. without having to touch a button. Motorists cruise along at 20-30 mph without fear of being rear ended in the left-turn lane or experiencing unannounced, sudden lane changes. Drivers have become accustomed to cyclists and cyclists have flocked to Madison as a major uptown-downtown connector. It has been a boon to CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare users and to growth of the BikeShare program.
The Town of Guilderland and the NYSDOT recently refreshed the Western Ave. bicycle lanes running from the city line/University at Albany to Stuyvesant Plaza.
It is time to connect these Madison and Western Ave. projects into a seamless, calmed commuter and recreational route. Western Ave. from UA to Madison has two schools with posted 20 mph zones and many business and residences with exiting and entering traffic. The too-wide double lanes encourage speeding and crazy lane changes threatening everyone’s safety. This is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. This wide street section with essentially no parking has ample room for buffered bicycle lanes without impeding the smooth flow of motor vehicle traffic.
This approach will create a street design that matches the posted speed and gives all users a safe and efficient route from Guilderland to downtown Albany. It will address the inequities of those who are “car less,” those who feel unsafe on crowded buses, and those who value environmentally sound, safe solo exercise.
Mayor Sheehan, you know all of the features and benefits already and that this is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. The street’s pavement is in pretty good shape so this is an easy lift – no big bucks for utilities, curb cuts, and so on. In its 2009 Bicycle Master Plan, the City of Albany identified Western Ave. as one of its 18 “major bikeways” and will likely so re-designate it in the new Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan. We seem to be on the cusp of a “bicycle boom” brought about by the COVID-19 conditions (Times Union 5/8/20; New York Times 6/13, 15, 19 and 25/20; Adventure Cyclist 8/20). “We are selling bikes faster than we can assemble them out of the boxes … I can’t tell you how crazy it is,” stated the Freeman Bridge Sports service manager in the Times Union
The City of Albany will have to do this job someday. Why not now?
I ask your support in raising this project to the “can do” level. We look forward to working with you and staff to bring it about.
Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc.