Category Archives: Activisim

William Drake – Struck and Killed

Drake GB Sign

The bicycle community was again saddened by the death of another young cyclist struck and killed by two motor vehicles. See Channel 10 Report. The report is not clear on how the crash occurred but states, “no tickets or charges have been filed” and “New York State Police are investigating …” while … “the investigation remains ongoing.“  See also The Leader Hearld.

William “Billy” Drake lived in Mayfield on Sacandaga Lake 50 miles NW of Albany. See also obituary.

On 8/7/20, cyclist Mike installed William’s ghost bike and made these observations: “I installed the Ghost Bike for Billy Drake today. It is on NYS Rt. 30 North of Dennie Loop Rd. The site shows that the road shoulder is 8 ft. wide, and totally clear of any reason to veer into the roadway [Ed: as alleged by the motor vehicle operator]. I noticed some auto trim plastic near the tree I selected to secure the bike to, so I suspect this may have been from the accident but can’t be sure.”

In closing, he stated, “Installing a Ghost Bike is a gripping experience.” Having had this experience on too many occasions, this is truly an apt observation.

Drake GB

If one looks at Rt. 30 for the full stretch by Dennie Loop Rd. (see Google Map), the road is absolutely straight and clear with but four driveways on the opposite side from the crash site and no visible obstructions. The shoulders on Rt. 30 are 8 ft. wide.

The Crash Scene – The first image is of State Rt. 30 looking north. Billy was traveling South (toward you) on this shoulder. The crash was in this approximate location. (The tire marks on the pavement are near the scene, but not related to it.) This shows that the shoulder is very wide and very clean.

Drake Crash Scene A-7-4-20

This does not explain why Billy would have turned into traffic as alleged. The shoulder left of the cables was relatively clean with no glass, just a small amount of trash, and some plastics auto trim pieces (that might have been related).

The second image is from across the road with the new ghost bike just visible in the left center.

Drake Crash Scene B-7-4-20Gloversville’s  The Leader Hearld provided the following report (lightly edited): Two people in one of the vehicles involved in a July 4 bicyclist crash that killed a 16-year-old Mayfield resident have been arrested for allegedly false information on the fatal accident. Benjamin Govel, 27, of Clifton Park was charged by State Police on Thursday with making a false written statement, a misdemeanor, and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, also a misdemeanor. Also charged was Breanna J. Ferrara, 27, of Halfmoon with first-degree falsifying business records, a felony.

The two were charged after police discovered they had allegedly provided false information on the fatal accident that led to the death of William Drake. The pair had allegedly lied about who was driving the second vehicle that had hit Drake.

The 16-year-old bicyclist had been traveling on the southbound shoulder of Rt. 30, facing east and began to enter the roadway when the first vehicle driven by 23-year-old Julie Tineo, of Amsterdam, swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting him. The front passenger side of the vehicle hit the front tire of the bike, spinning Drake and sending him further into the southbound lane.

It was originally reported that the second vehicle driven by Ferrara was unable to stop or avoid the bike, striking Drake in the roadway. Drake was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital where he died.

However police determined that Ferrara was the passenger of the second vehicle and Govel was the actual  driver. Police issued Govel and Ferrara appearance tickets, and they are scheduled to appear in Mayfield Town Court on Aug. 11, 3 p.m.

The Context – For a run down on area fatalities of people on bicycles, go to “Roads Remain Unsafe for People on Bicycles.”  If this report does not convince you of the subject line’s veracity, well …

Ride of Silence – COVID-19 forced postponement of Albany Bicycle Coalition’s 13th Annual Ride of Silence to commemorate the injury and death of people on bicycles.

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Filed under Activisim, Death on the Road, Ghost Bikes

Traffic Calming on Western Ave. – Make It Happen

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:

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Plenty of Room from Here to the City Line – Build It!

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The Wide Open Western Horizon

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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.

Sincerely yours,

Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc.

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, Support the Cause, Western Ave.

City of Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan Public Meetings

(UPDATED 6/7/20)

Throughout June, the Albany Department of Planning and Development will host six virtual meetings to discuss cycling and walking in the City. Each of the six meetings will be based on a grouping of neighborhoods and corresponds with the meeting numbers listed below.

  • Neighborhood Meeting #1:  Monday, June 15th – 6:30pm – 8pm

(Center Square, Downtown, Hudson Park, Lincoln Park, Mansion, Pastures, Washington Park Washington Square) Zoom Registration Link: https://nelsonnygaard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkf-irrTosHNEZZ23Vytg5JOlaRqZYHoDA

  • Neighborhood Meeting #2: Wednesday, June 17th – 6:30pm – 8pm

(Delaware Avenue, Lincoln Park, Mount Hope, Second Avenue, South End) Zoom Registration Link: https://nelsonnygaard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUtc-mqpzItGtdg9NDxdZlgXs5zmbIncD4o

  • Neighborhood Meeting #3: Monday, June 22nd – 6:30pm – 8pm

(Beverwyck, Helderberg, New Scotland/Woodlawn, Normanskill, Pine Hills, Whitehall) Zoom Registration Link: https://nelsonnygaard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAlcemspzosH9SIAV9I10xSmxkeyW0ju8HQ

  • Neighborhood Meeting #4: Monday, June 29th – 6:30pm – 8pm

(Buckingham Lake, Campus Area, Eagle Hill, Manning Boulevard, Melrose, Pine Bush, Upper Washington Avenue) Zoom Registration Link:https://nelsonnygaard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwsdO-vpzktGNRKwuYtJtJkZ3s1FdOeneQs

  • Neighborhood Meeting #5: Wednesday, June 24th – 6:30pm – 8pm

(Arbor Hill, Sheridan Hollow, Ten Broeck Triangle, West End, West Hill) Zoom Registration Link:https://nelsonnygaard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYuc-qorjIrGtI2erS3TKvWgm9EmVmD1Twg

  • Neighborhood Meeting #6: Thursday, June 25th – 6:30pm – 8pm

(Bishop’s Gate, North Albany) Zoom Registration Link: https://nelsonnygaard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJErdO-hqjstG9QO5BPn57eWaotd-keWJrTR

To learn more about this project, please visit the project website and watch the project introduction video. On the project website, you can also take the project survey and use a WikiMAP to provide location-specific comments about cycling and walking in the City.

Contact  dpd@albanyny.gov if you require any accommodations for the upcoming meetings or have any questions about the project.

 

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Filed under Activisim, Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan, City Review, Meetings

Farmers Markets Finding Ways to Operate During COVID-19

~ or ~ Ride Your Bicycle and Eat Good Chow

NOTE: Updated 4/30 based on Times Union article.

One of the short-term COVID-19 causalities is the Troy Farmers Market, much loved by many people on bicycles. However, even closed, the Troy market has provided a way to buy direct from vendors including your favorite prepared food. Go here – https://www.troymarket.org/alternatives (updated 4/30). The Market is now accepting orders for twice-weekly, drive-through pickup at the Carioto Produce distribution center in Green Island. On the portal, troymarket.org, shoppers pay online, and their orders are sorted and packed at the pickup spot. Online orders open at 4 pm Friday and close at 9 am Monday for Wednesday pickup and close at 9 am Thursday for Saturday pickup. To ease expected traffic congestion, customer pickup times are set up by last name on each day: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., A though F; 11 a.m. to noon, G through L; noon to 1 p.m., M through R; 1 to 2 p.m., S through Z.

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NWYFCF Banner

For more tips on eating well while supporting local farmers, go to Know Where Your Food Comes Fromhttps://knowwhereyourfoodcomesfrom.com/2020/04/08/farmers-markets-finding-ways-to-operate-during-pandemic/ This site is dedicated to “Promoting local and sustainable agriculture that cares for people, animals, land, and water.”

Farmers Markets are designated essential businesses. Here is info on some other area markets (updated 4/30 based on Times Union article):

  • Spa City Farmers Market – Sundays, Saratoga Spa State Park/Lincoln Baths. Reduced operation and appropriates precautions.
  • Saratoga Farmers Market – Opens Sat, 5/2, 9:30 AM-1:30 PM, Wilton Mall (Bon-Ton/Bow Tie parking lot). Wednesdays’ market is 3:00-6:00 pm.
  • Delmar Farmers Market – Opening 5/16, 9:30 AM-1:30 PM (TU, 4/22/20).
  • The Farmers Market Federation of New York – Provides a list of farmers markets on its website. The
  • Schenectady Greenmarket – Opening 4/26, Sundays, 10 AM-2 PM, City Hall, jay St. Smaller number of vendors spaced 10 feet apart.
  • Farmers Market Federation of New York has spotlighted the Interim Guidance for the Operation of Farmers’ Markets (3/31/20) issued by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.tumblr_544e798facbc301d77decb2a656aaa07_7372d86e_640weq

If you want to make a commitment to good food/health and local sourcing, consider a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share – more here – https://knowwhereyourfoodcomesfrom.com/2020/03/21/march-2020-now-more-than-ever-time-to-sign-up-for-a-farm-share-in-a-csa/ where you’ll find this timely statement: “ … instead of panic, this is the right moment to build community. One way is to focus on our food, which is at the core of human existence, in good times and bad, and by mindfully knowing who is growing and producing what we eat.”

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Filed under Activisim, City Review, Riding to Get Somewhere, Troy Cycling

How to Make Cycling in Albany More Affordable

This article provided by Guest Blogger Isabella Lovett

Cycling is a popular sport and pastime in New York, where, in New York City, an estimated 787,000 adult residents enjoy a ride at least once a month, as reported in the annual Mayor’s Management Report last year. Bike riding has a wealth of proven health benefits, including stress reduction and the improvement of cardiovascular fitness and strength. It is also a considerably affordable sport, though a bike coupled with clothing, equipment and additional accessories can demand a pretty sum. If you are keen on taking up this sport and want to keep your expenses down, follow these tips to stay safe and have fun on your bike. Black Fixed-gear Bike Beside Wall

Cycling to Work – You may dream of getting away to a green trail or ultra-smooth cycling lane, but if you want to make the most of biking while reducing transport costs of driving to your chosen spot, consider cycling to work. A 2020 study by researchers at the University of Otago found that those who take their bike to work have a 13% reduced mortality rate compared to those who drive their own cars each day. The study, which analyzed data from some 3.5 million cyclists, is one of the largest ever on the subject, showing the extent to which cycling can improve human lives while resulting in a much smaller carbon footprint.

Life Insurance that Covers Cycling – If you do cycle to work, know that most life insurance policies cover cycling. [Ed Note: This is a UK reference] Check any policies you have and if they don’t cover this sport, consider switching to one that does. If, after signing your policy, you decide to take up a sport that is considered riskier — such as BMX riding or downhill mountain biking — you may be under the obligation to let your insurer know. Try to keep your expenses low by obtaining various quotes and receive guidance regarding the type of policy (whole life or term-length) is best for your situation.

Opting for Affordable Gear – There are 20 cool bike trails in Albany, making cross-country and mountain biking popular sports. Because mountain bikes require quality suspension systems, their price can run into the thousands. Lighter carbon-based frames also up the price of bikes compared to traditional alloy. The truth is that for many riders (especially those who enjoy jumps and fast downhill rides), a good bike should be considered an investment. Try to save on gear like, for example, your shoes. There are many excellent cycling shoes that cost less than $100. Gloves, clothing and protective gear can also be bought from budget stores. Some items (e.g. a helmet and good knee and elbow pads) should at the very least have features such as ventilated exoskeletons, so your skin remains dry even during tough workouts.

Flexibility Matters When it Comes to Technology – Some bikes come with incorporated GPS in their handlebars. This is a crucial feature that will ensure you don’t get lost, even when you are negotiating a whole new route. Your phone can double up as a computer. Just use a trustable mount that will keep your phone stable and visible. This gadget is actually an ideal device to have around in the even that you need help and you need to provide a precise location to friends or emergency services.

Cycling is a sport that requires a small investment. Costs include a bike itself, plus protective gear and any device you may need to bring along. Try cutting corners on items like shoes and gadgets, but don’t crimp on suspension or lightness. You will thank yourself every time your ride involves a little uphill work. Finally, don’t leave Albany to enjoy a workout; try urban cycling to work every day to boost longevity and your overall quality of life.

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Filed under Activisim, Article, City Review, Feature, Riding in Albany