Category Archives: Activisim

Forward Motion into 2022 on Bicycles

TO: Friends of Cycling and Good Living in the Capital Region:

The salutation “Friends of Cycling and Good Living in the Capital Region” expands our collective focus beyond just bicycles. We all need to engage in the larger issue of livable cities. This movement benefits all – residents and visitors – whether they be walking, riding, bussing, jogging, skateboarding, or just sitting.

This focus addresses the broader issues of street safety, air and sound pollution, environmental degradation, affordable (and accessible) housing, and access to food, services and facilities. Aside from the goal of safe connections for people on bicycles, we operate on the unarguable principle that anything done to benefit cyclists will benefit all road users.

Our overarching intent is to update on the bicycle-related scene in our area or to provide information that will stimulate thinking about bicycling as a major component in “livability for all.”

Whenever possible, the entries have a link or a contract (name, email, phone) or a bibliographic citation. Occasionally, the link will be to graphics offered by the source or on this Albany Bicycle Coalition blog.

We also try to encourage your patronizing our several local bike shops. We all know that it is sometimes easier and occasionally cheaper to buy on the internet but always remember – Amazon or some bike shop in South Carolina will not be available to help you with a maintenance problem or to guide you in the purchase of accessories tailored to you and your specific bicycle. (See https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/local-bike-shops/ )

See you on the road and in the streets this year.

Ride On!
Little girl with face mask riding a bike in the street during the coronavirus pandemic

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Filed under Activisim, Comings and Goings, Support the Cause

Down in Flames – Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project

“Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.” – Martha C. Nussbaum [SOURCE: https://www.azquotes.com/author/18217-Martha_C_Nussbaum]

Election Day 2021 was a very sad day for people in cars, on foot, in wheel chairs, on public transit, and on bicycles and for business growth. “No” votes for Bethlehem’s Prop. #6 came from 4,461 (56 percent) “anti” people vs. 3.386 (43 percent) “pro” voters – a difference of 1,075 votes. (See (https://www.timesunion.com/elections/albany/.) Even without data on the non-voting, “I-can’t-be- bothered” people (there are some 35,000 people in Bethlehem), a good number were affected by “off year malaise.” This result squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to convert 1.3 miles of Delaware Ave. to a traffic-calmed, walk-able, drive-able street vs. a high-speed highway. It appears that the concepts of “Complete Streets” or “Vison Zero” or “road safety” or “livable community” present an insurmountable mental barrier for many Bethlehemers.

Prop #6 – Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project Revisited – The “pro” contingent waged a good campaign based on a factual presentation of the issues and how Traffic Calming would address them. They produced a very impressive video, had many lawn signs, and several supportive letters, commentaries, and articles in local media. See https://www.facebook.com/Bethlehem-Bicycle-Pedestrian-Committee-130190633781279/ The feasibility/design consultants produced a fact-filled, analytical report that left little doubt as to the benefits of the Traffic Calming movement. At two public meetings, all but one or two voiced unequivocal support for the project.

Why the Loss? – One local analyst noted that “off-year” elections bring out the angry voter. The results in the City of Albany mayoral race suggest this. Other opponents are simply ignorant. The “anti-Prop. #6” cabal (jokingly self-identified as the “Bethlehem Coalition for Common Sense Urges Voters to Vote No on Proposition 6”) was masterful in repeating and repeating half-truths and untruths to influence successfully many voters (a familiar stategy?). Essentially, 4,461 voters decided the issue for all of the 35,000 town residents and all those many others who use Delaware Ave. Therefore, between these “angry voters,” the voluntarily ignorant, and those who prefer not to vote at all, this opportunity for Delaware Ave. and the larger region slipped away.

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Dumb and Dumber Cont’d – The Times Union weighed in on the failed Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project in its 11/8 editorial. The Times Union has been generally supportive of the project and against the referendum. The report reminds one of the adage: “Stupidity is not inherited; it is learned and nurtured.” See – https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/ (The Bethlehem piece was not live on the website (https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/ ) at 9:15 AM, so check back later!

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Bicycles? – Some of the “anti” arguments were against bicycle lanes as either unneeded, unsafe, or unwanted. This position completely ignores the calming effect of narrowing the road using bicycle lanes as a device – even if no cyclists ever used it.  That is, the Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project was never a “bicycle project” although people on bicycles were included along with all other road users (that mysterious “complete Streets” idea again).

From the Peanut Gallery – The following verbatim comment is from a local “next door” webpage and serves to illustrate the above points (Italics added to highlight the writer’s “thought” process.

“Prop. 6, why I am voting no! I remember when Delaware Ave. was widened in 1958 to accommodate more businesses and more traffic on the road. Supporters of Prop. 6 are afraid to call it what it is: less (sic.) lanes of traffic. A road does not eat food, so it cannot diet. Road diet is a misleading term to get more support. Less (sic.) lanes of traffic will not work. Delaware Ave. has always been a way for people to go to Albany, and come back again. There will be more traffic congestion during the rush hours. A minute or two in Delmar can mean another longer delay in Albany and beyond. There will be delays going to Albany, and delays returning to Delmar. The bike lanes will not be used most of the time. People do not ride their bikes in the cold, snow, icy winter weather, or in the rain. People do not ride bikes to shop at the supermarket, and usually they do not ride them to go to restaurants or do other shopping. It is a safety issue. The bike riders will be in danger. On one part of Delaware Ave., there are 15,000 vehicles a day. On another part of Delaware Ave., there are 18,000 vehicles a day. We do not put bike lanes on very busy roads like Central Ave., route 787, or the Thruway. Why is Delaware Ave. the only place in the town where people are insisting on dangerous bike lanes? And I have been a bicyclist for many years. I am not against bicyclists. I am afraid there could be bad accidents involving them and motorists on a very busy road. I drive on Delaware Ave. a lot. I see very few bike riders, but when I do, I fear for their lives and safety. Most days I see no bicyclists. The less (sic.) lanes of traffic plan would also mean delays for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. Delays of a few seconds or minutes could result in deaths, destruction of property, or serious crimes. Fewer lanes of traffic mean more congestion, longer travel times, danger for bicyclists, and longer response times for emergency vehicles. Town businesses were never consulted in the beginning. Nor were delivery companies, bus drivers, or a lot of commuters and town residents. And how many tens of thousands of dollars did the town pay to the consultants? I support our local businesses, who will be harmed by this proposal and oppose it. The economy is bad enough already. I am voting no on Proposition 6. It has too many flaws.”

Businesses Join Together – Coupled with the promulgation of these truths and half-truths, the “anti-Prop. #6” cabal ran a very impressive campaign to recruit businesses to support its position Quote: “The Coalition counts the following organizations in support:” Andrianos Pizza, Bliss Juice Smoothie, Bueneau’s Opticians, Capadona’s Pizza, Choices Hair Salon, Dave’s Glass, Delaware Plaza, Delmar Beverage Center, Delmar Bistro, Delmar Chiropractic, Delmar Wine and Liquor. Dunkin Donuts, Empire SiteCom, Inc./New Scotland Communications, Expanco Holding, LLC, Fortitude Lyfe Fitness, John Fritze, Jr. Jeweler, Geurtze Builders, Gustos, Handy Dandy Cleaners, Havill’s Auto Body, Kelly Kleeners, LC Smith, Los Panchos, My Place & Company, Nail City, Nationwide Insurance, O’Slattery’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Phillips Hardware, Pratt & Associates, Rain Hair Studio, Scissor Society, Shalimar Restaurant, St. Croix Tan, The Paper Mill, Tool’s Restaurant, Uncrushable Nutrition, and Upstate Wine and Liquor.

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Filed under Activisim, Bethlehem Delaware Avenue Traffic Calming Project, Bike Lanes

Arbor Hill/West Hill Slow Roll Bicycle Ride

Co-Sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition and the Underground Railroad Education Center. Join us for a leisurely tour of Albany’s Arbor and West Hill outdoor treasures.  Sunday, 8/15, 1 PM. Start and finish at the Meyer’s Residence/Underground Railroad Education Center, 194 Livingston Ave., Albany.

Take a RIde!

This will be a 3.5-mile fun, safe, low-stress, low-speed bicycle ride. The ride will take about 60 to 90 minutes. We will take advantage of numerous bicycle lanes, trails, and low congestion streets in the neighborhood. We will visit key sites in Arbor Hill/West Hill including Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence/Underground Railroad Ed Center, Arbor Hill Park, Tivoli Preserve, Bleeker Stadium/Swinburne Park, and the Arbor Hill Library. There will be time to discuss these neighborhood gems as well as a great potential new gem – the 9-mile Patroon Creek Greenway Trail currently undergoing study by the City of Albany. The new Greenway Trail would connect the Albany Waterfront to the Six Mile Waterworks and points beyond with access from Arbor Hill and West Hill. 

There is no charge for the ride. The not-for-profit Underground Railroad Education Center and the Albany Bicycle Coalition would welcome your donations to support our respective programs.

Registration not required but if you want to join our ride, please e mail –

albanybicyclecoalition@yahoo.com with your name and the names of any additional riders in your group.

Conditions –

  • Unvaccinated riders must don masks when riders are stopped and congregating. If government health officials updated COVID-19 guidance, this policy may change.
  • All riders must be 12 years of age or older. 
  • All riders must wear bicycle helmets. 
  • An adult must accompany riders under age 18.

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Filed under Activisim, Rides

Your New Year’s Resolutions

Resolutions for people on bicycles who want to make cycling safer for all by promoting a positive image of cycling and make the City of Albany and the Capital Region a place where people want to live, work, and relax …

Comments Received after publication:

  • What a great list. Happy New Year, stay safe, stay healthy on & off your bike. (submitted byJKM 1/7/21)
  • Excellent.  I love these resolutions. I only have one modification or supplement to the second one.  If the temperature is below freezing don’t ride if there is black ice and limit rides to 30 minutes.  Don’t Ride below 15 degrees F. (submitted by EH, 1/1/21)
  • Thank you! (submitted by AB, 1/1/21)
  • Good morning – I agree with those pledges, so I guess I’ll pump up my tires today! (submitted by IV, 1/1/21)
  • I will – Smile and say “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “hi,” etc. to everyone I meet while riding.
  • I will – Remember that to increase safety for people on bicycles is to ride my bicycle as often as I can.  All the bicycle lanes, tickets, smart traffic lights, “share the road signs,” blinkie lights, and reflective clothing will do little if not accompanied by MORE PEOPLE riding MORE OFTEN.
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  • I will – Shop locally at locally owned businesses who hire local people and pay a fair wage. (See Local Bike Shops | Albany Bicycle Coalition) I will buy on the internet only when my bicycle shop does not stock or cannot order what I need.
  • I will – Obey the traffic law.  I will stop for signs and signals especially when people in cars or on foot can see me, and I will stay off the sidewalks.
  • I will – Check that my brakes work (lever is a thumb’s distance or more from the handle bars when brake is full “on” and the pads contact the wheel rim braking surface).
  • I will – (added by alert cyclist Eric) – Not ride if the temperature is below freezing especially if there is “black ice.” I will limit rides to 30 minutes and will not ride below 15 degrees F. (unless I am thoroughly prepared for these conditions).
  • I will – Learn how to use CapitalNYBikeMap so that I can help others find stress-free routes in the capital region. (See – CapitalNYBikeMap | Albany Bicycle Coalition )
  • I will – Learn how to sign out a CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare bicycle for day use so that I will be able to help visitors (tourists, family, friends) get a bicycle. (See CDPHP Cycle!)
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  • I will – Be deferential to all pedestrians no matter how crazily they act.
  • I will – Speak out on behalf of people on bicycles in a polite and non-confrontational manner.
  • I will – Signal my stops, scan and signal my turns, and make eye contact with people in cars and on foot.
  • I will – Speak out and write in on issues facing cycling. I will keep up to date on developments that affect safe use of the streets by people on bicycles.
  • I will – Support my local bike rescue (See Bike Rescue | Albany Bicycle Coalition.)
  • I will – Wave and smile to those in cars who are bothered by my presence on a bicycle on my streets (and no “one finger waves,” s.v.p.)
  • I will – Lube my chain and check air in my tires.
  • I will – Be Kind.

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Filed under Activisim, New Years

Where are We in Albany?

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The following was one of the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s many efforts to promote the installation of bicycle lanes on Madison Ave. as part of the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming campaign. While we were successful in that effort, only about 1.6 miles of additional bicycle lanes have been installed in the City of Albany since the lanes on Madison Ave. for a grand total of 4.9. Thus, the basic message below remains as relevant as it was 7 years ago. If you believe otherwise, please comment.

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“Sharrows are shared lane advisory markings, not bike infrastructure.”[1]

“Purpose – The purpose of this memorandum is to issue an Interim Approval for the optional use of green colored pavement in marked bicycle lanes and in extensions of bicycle lanes through intersections and other traffic conflict areas.  Interim Approval allows interim use.”[2]

Where are We in Albany?

Why Settle for Less?  – The question before us all is: are we happy with the “same old-same old” or do we want to move Albany into the present?  If cyclists do not push for change in this direction, who is to do so?  Where is the “transportation equity” in that?  The cycling changes made in Albany to date are “bicycle amenities” not “bicycle infrastructure,” ‘bicycle routes,” or “bicycle boulevards.”  So far, we have installed one set of bicycle lanes just under a mile in length that begins nowhere and ends nowhere on a street that many people will not even drive on (much less cycle). [ED Refers to the Clinton Ave. 1.7 miles of bicycle lanes completed in 2008.]

Albany can make itself bicycle friendly to its residents, commuters, and tourists.  As an old, established city, everything is compact and accessible.  The terrain is bicycle friendly.  Instead of a grid of semi-highways, Albany has a network of curving streets, “T” intersections, and multiple routes to many destinations.   

Not Infrastructure – From observations and from the literature, shared lane markings are merely an advisory; they definitely are not infrastructure.  Putting in a shared lane is analogous to putting up a “yield to pedestrians” sign instead of a crosswalks, traffic lights, speed “humps,” and so on.

What Do Shared Lanes Accomplish?  – There is some modest consciousness raising for both cyclists and motorists, but that is about the contribution.  Their success is still largely dependent on the patience and courtesy of motor vehicle drivers. 

Of course, shared lanes are simpler.  Doing nothing is even more so.  Simplicity is not the goal – the goal to encourage cycling.  The goal is to get people out of cars and onto bicycles.  The goal is to spend Albany’s street “paving” dollars to benefit all the users – that is why Albany passed a complete streets ordinance on 6/3/13.

Other East-West Routes?  – As far as splitting the protected east-west bicycle route between Washington Ave. and Madison Ave., it is not clear how this would work or why one would want to do it.  Again, for the hesitant cyclists, Washington Ave. is a road to nowhere.  What to does one do at Brevator?  What does one do at the flyover?  These are not bicycle-friendly routes.  Added to this is the intrinsic high-speed nature of Washington Ave. for almost its entire length west of Robin St.

The manifold benefits of Madison Ave. as the main east-west bicycle route include the following:

  • Its locus for many destinations
  • Direct route to lower Albany and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (and later the Albany County Rail Trail)
  • Its connection to Western Ave. – which, one day, will be reconfigured with bicycle infrastructure.
  • None of these features is shared by the other candidates – Washington Ave., Central Ave., or the combined Clinton Ave. /Central Ave.

Buses And Protected Lanes – The issue of bus/protected lanes interface can be solved, just as it has been solved elsewhere.

Shared Lanes Do Not Help – Shared lance markings do little to encourage hesitant cyclists to take to the streets.  Would you put your 8-year-old child on Delaware Ave.?  We cannot base our opinions and recommendations on what makes us feel comfortable on the road or what changes would satisfy us but on what we believe will get those who are not currently riding the streets to get them out into the bicycle lanes and onto the protected lanes – and keep them there until they too can say “well, I guess I could try riding in traffic without special bicycle accommodations!”

Now, Madison Ave. –

  • If not this, What?
  • If not now, When?
  • If not us, Who?

This leaves us with the question – what to do with Madison Ave. (given that it will have the proposed 2 motor vehicle lanes, 2 parking lanes, and one central turn lane)? [ED: Between 2016 and 2018, the City of Albany chose it install 1.6 miles of un-buffeted, conventional bicycle lanes on Madison Ave. instead of the preferred protected bicycle lanes. The city chose to keep the wide motor vehicle travel lanes (vs. the 10-foot lanes recommended. The alternatives under consideration in 2013 were as listed below.]

These would be the alternative proposals for Madison Ave.:

  1. Two curbside protected bicycle lanes by either eliminating one lane of parking or by narrowing the 5 motor vehicles lanes.  The protected lanes could be 9 or 10 feet wide.  This configuration would be “bicycle/no parking/travel/turn/travel/parking/bicycle” with dimensions of either 10-0-10-10-10-7-10 feet or 9-0-11-10-11-7-9 feet. 
  2. Two 6-foot (not 5-foot) bicycle lanes and three 10-foot motor vehicle lanes (this now would be “Alternative 1, Option C-2”).[3]  The current “alternative 1, Option C calls for a “parking/bicycle/travel/turn/travel/bicycle/parking” configuration of 7.5-5-11-10-11-5-7.5 feet.  The proposed C-2 would be 7-6-10.5-10-10.5-6-7.  Narrowing the two travel lanes to 10 feet would allow for 6.5-foot bicycle lanes – almost European.

[1] Pg. 25, Momentum, Aug-Sep 2013

[2] SOURCE: Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices – http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/interim_approval/ia14/index.htm

[3] The lane widths on Western Ave. (between Pine and Allen) are 10-10.5-10-10 feet with no parking lane.  The lanes on Madison Ave. between W. Lawrence and Main Ave. are 7-10-11-11-10-7 feet.  Those on Madison Ave. east of the College of St. Rose “bump outs” are 19.5-10-10-19.5 with no marked parking lane.  (Allowing for a 7-foot parking lane, the configuration would be 7-12.5-10-10-12.5-7.)  Source for alternatives is the “Madison Ave. Road Diet Feasibility Study,” 4/16/13.

Allen/Madison/Western – Yikes!

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Filed under Albany-Bike/Ped Master Plan, Bike Lanes, Editorial, Equity, protected bicycle lanes