Author Archives: Ken

ABC Thanks Major Jennings for Delaware Ave Improvements

At the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s October monthly meeting, participants jointly signed the attached letter to Major Jerry Jennings in recognition of the Delaware Ave. project – Albany’s first major street rehabilitation to include shared lanes for bicyclists.

The Honorable Gerald D Jennings
Mayor, City of Albany
City Hall
24 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Mayor Jennings:

We in Albany’s bicycling community note with great pleasure the results of the soon-to-be-completed Delaware Avenue refurbishment. The new-shared lane markings and the “bicycles may use full lane” signs pave the way for a new dawn in Albany as a bicycle-friendly community. These bicycle amenities on Delaware open up the city to the suburbs with the promise of even more cyclists taking to the road. These changes support the resurgence of Delaware Avenue as an Albany Gateway and residential and commercial success.

The other bicycle-related changes in the city – shared lanes and signs on Washington and New Scotland Avenues, bike lanes on Clinton, the new bicycle racks throughout the city, and the Capital Coexist educational program – reinforce what has been done on Delaware. Hopefully, these are but the first steps toward a citywide network of bicycle routes as outlined in the December 2009 Albany Bicycle Master Plan.

We commend you, the various city officials and departments, the design consultants, the Delaware Area Neighborhood Association, the merchants, and the Common Council for all your efforts on our behalf and behalf of those who desire a livable community.

Albany Bicycle Coalition

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Cyclists Pay For Our Roads, Too!

One argument that seems to pop up with the anti-bike crowd is that cyclists don’t pay their fair share of the costs associated with road maintenance and construction. While intuition should tell you that the costs of cyclists on our roadways is minimal, due to the small amount of wear that bicycles cause on our roads, many use it as an excuse for not supporting projects for bicycle related infrastructure (bikeways, signs, trails, lanes, etc).

As it turns out, cyclists not only pay their fair share: they often subsidize cars.

From the article:

Trier, like a lot of misinformed folks, seems to believe the only road taxes we pay are motor vehicle licensing fees and fuel taxes. But the truth is that those fees largely pay for state and federal highways, and even then only a portion of them. The rest of the costs of those roadways are borne by all taxpayers generally, including bicyclists, through local, property and sales taxes. Local roads, where you find most cyclists, are another story altogether.

Indeed, most bicyclists in fact also own cars, so they’re also paying the licensing fees and gas taxes as well. But by using their bikes in place of cars, the wear and tear (and subsequent maintenance costs) they inflict is exponentially less than that caused by cars and trucks.

A 1995 study titled “Whose Roads?” by cycling advocate Todd Litman laid all this out in detail. The study estimated that automobile users pay an average of 2.3 cents per mile in user fees, including fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, while they actually impose 6.5 cents per mile in road service costs. Who pays the difference? It’s picked up by general taxes and property assessments. So while bicyclists pay an equal share of those taxes, they impose costs averaging only 0.2 cents per mile in road service costs.

The amount bicyclists overpay leaps out when you look at the costs of local roads, the roads cyclists use most. Litman found that only a third of the funds for their construction and maintenance comes from vehicle user charges; local property, income and sales taxes pay the rest. Automobile user fees contribute only about 1 cent per mile toward the costs of local roads but simultaneously impose costs more than six times that amount.

Beyond that, cyclists reduce pollution, reduce traffic congestion, and lower healthcare costs by living healthier lifestyles.

So, we should all feel entitled to safer streets that make room for us. We’re paying for it!

You can read the full column by David Neiwert here.

Here is a PDF of the traffic study this is taken from.

Written by Ken Burford

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Did You Know? 28% of Albany Households Are Car-Free

While the 2010 U.S. Census data isn’t available yet, Lorenz recently pointed out this interesting find.

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32 New Bicycle Racks in Albany

On a balmy fall day, the Lark St. Business Improvement District (BID), in conjunction with the Aurora Foundation of NorthEast and the Albany’s Office of Energy and Sustainability, announced installation of 32 new bicycle racks on Lark St. from Washington Ave. to Price Chopper on Delaware Ave.  Federal tax dollars paid for the racks through the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) and the Capital District Transportation Committee.

Cafe Hollywood, 275 Lark, hosted the ribbon cutting with dignitaries from the Common Council, city, BID, County, and CDTA in attendance reinforced by a elbow-room-only (see photo) crowd of cyclists and onlookers.  Council Members Conti and Konev, enthusiastic supporters of bicycling, presented a resolution (see photo) from the Council to the BID’s executive director, president, and board chairman.  (The un-cut green ribbon is just in front of the Café Hollywood’s door.)

Eric Whalen of the Downtube set up a repair stand to assist cyclists.  The Albany Police Department Community Policing Unit had a table display of related literature as well as information on its bicycle registry.

Written by Ken Burford

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This Sunday: Ride the Old Erie Canal in Albany County

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Update from John:

Sundays forecast is for sunny skies and temps near sixty. A perfect day to join ABC and other members of your community for a casual bike ride along the Old Erie Canal. Pack up some snacks and water, and prepare to hit the trail. Stout tires work best for this ride so leave your racing slicks at home. We’re riding along what was once the towpaths of the canal and there is both on road and off road mileage.

Discover what still remains of this legendary waterway. Many truly spectacular and historic sights are to be seen on this ride with a “buy your own lunch” stop in the oldest incorporated village in the state, Waterford. Commentary at selected stops by a local history and Erie Canal buff. So come on out and enjoy the clear autumn air and learn a little local history or share a little of your knowledge with us.


Join John Vendetti and your friendly, fellow cyclists on another exciting history tour.

Where is the Erie canal?  What’s still there? Where was the new, enlarged canal?  Can you really ride your bicycle through a canal lock? How did the canal boats get from Troy to the canal?  How does a lock work?  This and more!

Plus, you’ll find a wonderful, relaxing bicycle route that you can enjoy in the future with family and friends. After the departing from Waterford, we’ll pick up a sandwich and scoot over to Pebbles Island for a “picnic” lunch.

Distance: 30 miles
Weather: Rain or shine
Where: Meet at the Boat Launch at the Corning Preserve
Contact: (or by phone: 225-4209, or 489-0866)
Sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition

Calendar information here.

Written by Ken Burford

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