Category Archives: Activisim

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

Changes to South End Connector – City of Albany

Following substantial completion of the South End Connector, the Albany Bicycle Coalition detected a number of issues needing resolution. We had identified some of these even before design and construction began on the Connector. On 9/17/20, we asked the city to explore how we might get these projects on the city’s “to do” list for 2020-21.

Key members of the Albany Bicycle Coalition have had some considerable experience with the new South End Connector and many years of observation and riding in the S. Pearl St./Connector area. We believe the city should make several modifications to realize the full potential of this new asset. We detail these below. They include maintenance, safety issues, signage/lighting/striping, a new interchange, and traffic control.

Our major concerns are safety issues related to the Broadway/Quay St. and the S. Pearl St.-South End Connector junction. The Broadway/Quay St. issue derives from the original “all cars-all the time” poor design of this interchange. In fact, it was here that a SUV ran down and killed 60-year-old cyclist Jose Perez on August 3, 2006.

One of the major impetuses for the very conception of the South End Connector was the motor vehicle death of a young lad on S. Pearl St.

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Multiuse Path Maintenance – the City of Albany Department of General Services was quite responsive to our recent (September) call for mowing and cleanup of the median/divider on the I-787 access/frontage road portion of the South End Connector. The city needs to ensure that this maintenance be a regular part of DGS’s role in the area. Glass in the cycle track will continue to plague people on bicycles.

Signage, Lighting, and Striping at S. Pearl St.-South End Connector Intersection – There is a need for signage and re-striping of the crosswalks and possibly new lighting at the intersection of S. Pearl Street and the I-787 access/frontage road. This would alert people in cars who are making both left and right turns from S. Pearl onto the access road that bicyclists and pedestrians could be using the crosswalks. These are swooping turns that are, unfortunately, plentiful in the City of Albany. Motor vehicles traveling north on S. Pearl make the turn at excessive speed. It is awkward for bicyclists wanting to continue north on S. Pearl to see cars coming from the south. (That is, those who are not staying on the Connector beyond this intersection). Similarly, people on bicycles heading south on S. Pearl St. but wanting to enter the Connector going north (i.e., a left turn off S. Pearl St.) have difficulty making a safe turn. Pedestrians also have to look awkwardly to their left before stepping into the crosswalk.

Attention to this intersection (as well as Bassett St. and Broadway/Quay St.) is integral to making the Connector a community/local street asset and not merely a recreational, end-to-end experience. It is part of recognizing that the “South End” needs access to current and future bicycle facilities in the City of Albany.

Pedestrian And Cyclist Entrance/Exit at Bassett St. – To encourage safe access to the Connector and to promote it as a community resource, there needs to be an entrance/exit connecting Bassett St. and the South End Connector. The striped area could be modified easily for this purpose with only the addition of some striping (e.g., a green path) and a “no entry for motor vehicles” sign.

Enhanced Motor Vehicle Traffic Control at Broadway/Quay St. – This intersection has been a barrier for people on bicycles and people walking since its original construction. This long-standing problem predates the South End Connector by many years and was the site where a motor vehicle struck and killed cyclist Jose Perez.

Looking east toward the Hudson River, people in cars swoop off Broadway at high speeds to the right/south. When they make this right turn onto Broadway, they come up on the bicycle rider’s blind side. The only traffic control is a yield sign. This sign is ineffective since it is clear to a driver that there to no motor vehicle traffic to which to yield. At an absolute minimum, a stop sign should replace the yield sign. This alteration is a small task that could be done in an hour or two at minimal cost.

What is not so clear is that the South End Connector channels people on bicycles directly to a cross walk which is somewhat hidden from people in cars. While riders are scanning to their left and rear, they also have to be alert to motor vehicles coming north on Broadway to continue on Quay St. or Broadway into the city proper. Here we need more demonstrative traffic control.

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Filed under Activisim, Equity, safety, South End Bike Link, South End Bikeway Connector

Albany Bicycle Coalition Positions on the Proposed Albany Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan

The City of Albany is developing an Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan to replace the 2009 such plan. The earlier plan limited itself to bicycle issues while the proposed pan also addresses issues facing pedestrians since the vast majority trips by any alternative mode of transportation begins and ends with people walking.

The Albany Bicycle Coalition (ABC) was heavily involved in the development of the 2009 plan and has been fully engaged in monitoring the current effort. While the city has yet to release a draft of the plan, ABC offers recommendations for the plan as enumerated below. An emphasis of our positions is that the proposed Albany Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan must embrace all forms of transposition since no one form can be addressed independently from the others – that is, “transportation equity.”

The Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc. takes the opportunity offered by the development of the City of Albany’s Albany Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan to present its transportation ideas for the future of our city. We present our program in two parts as follows:

  • Specific, bicycle-related projects that the city needs to begin work on immediately.
  • Foundational propositions that cover all aspects of the plan whether it impinges on pedestrians, cyclists, bus riders, or motor vehicle drivers.

Our position is that the City of Albany, like many, many cities, allowed itself to become car centric. All transportation issues center around and are decided upon accommodating more and more motor vehicle traffic or upon sustaining current volumes (“Level of Service”). Accordingly, people – regardless of their specific mode of transposition – are subjected to dangerous street conditions, air and noise pollution, and limitations to their enjoyment of the built environment. Our road and street network is completely “behind the times.” We believe that the Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan is really the “Albany Transportation Plan” and, as such, must reach beyond considerations of walking or riding a bicycle to encompass all citizens.

We base many of our propositions on the fundamental belief that our streets, roads, and sidewalks should be safe – not “pretty safe,” or “safer,” but SAFE. There can be no compromise. Sacrificing safety for the convenience of a minority of motor vehicle operators cannot continue.

We believe that the points we set forth in this document can pave the way for bold new thinking. If the City of Albany will embrace a new approach to transportation, it will provide unending benefits to its citizens, will position itself to be competitive in attracting new populations and businesses, and will become a model for other municipalities. The city will be able to cope more effectively with the coming change in the availability of cheap petroleum and increasing pressure to reduce its consumption and replace it with other forms of energy suited to transportation.

Specific, Bicycle-Related Projects

  1. Western Ave. Bicycle Lanes – Connect Western Ave. from Madison Ave. to the Guilderland portion of Western Ave. to form a seamless, calmed commuter and recreational route. Western Ave. from the University at Albany to Madison Ave. at Allen St. has two schools with posted 20 mph zones and many business and residences with exiting and entering traffic. The extra wide double lanes encourage speeding and erratic 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.
  2. Install bicycle lanes on New Scotland Ave. especially between Manning Blvd. and the Thruway Overpass. Bike lanes were strongly preferred over parking for traffic calming on this section of New Scotland by community members participating in the City’s recent Upper New Scotland Traffic Study.
  3. Install bicycle lanes on Green St. and improve the crossing at Madison Ave. to provide safe downtown bicycle access from South Albany
  4. Complete bicycle lanes on Shaker Rd./Loudonville Rd. to Broadway
  5. Complete bike lanes on North Manning Blvd. from Lark St. to Livingston Ave.
  6. Complete Clinton Ave. bike lanes from Ten Broeck to Broadway where they can connect to the new Albany Skyway and the Empire State Trail/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.
  7. Work with Menands to extend Broadway bike lanes to provide safe downtown bicycle access from Menands to North Albany.
  8. Improve Everett Road I-90 interchange/overpass to make it safe for pedestrians and cyclists who must use this road to cross I-90 and the railroad tracks.
  9. Provide bike lanes and traffic calming for Washington Ave. west of Brevator
  10. Change Belgian blocks (“cobblestones”) on Lark St. and South Pearl St. intersections to a traffic calming surface that does not cause bicyclists to fall.
  11. Coordinate with Colonie and Guilderland to install bike lanes and or multiuse side path along Rapp Road/Lincoln Ave. from the City of Albany’s Rapp Road Waste Management Facility to Village of Colonie’s Cook Park to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, and hikers using the Pine Bush, Six Mile Waterworks lake, park and trail, and Cook Park trails.
  12. Coordinate with Delmar and Town of Bethlehem to extend Delaware Ave. bike lanes and traffic calming efforts from the Normans Kill Bridge to McAlpin Ave. Establish safe cycling routes from that point to Hackett Blvd. and Madison Ave.
  13. Work with the Town of Colonie to develop the Patroon Creek Greenway from Six Mile Waterworks to Tivoli Lake Preserve and the Albany Skyway
  14. Cross-Town bicycle Expressway – Construct a cross-town connector between Northern Blvd./McCrossin Ave. to Clinton Ave. bicycle lanes and to Whitehall Rd./Delaware Ave.
  15. Extend Hackett Blvd. multi-use path with bicycle lanes to Manning Blvd.
  16. Improve informal path/trail from Lark St. behind Hackett Middle School to Hackett Blvd. multiuse path at Holland Ave. by the McDonald’s

General Principles for the Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan

 Safe Street Infrastructure Improvements

  1. Enhance viewing space for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians at intersections. “Daylight” all intersections as provided in the city parking code to 20 ft from each crossing street by painting curbs yellow and/or with painted “bump outs.” (§ 323-34 Street crossings kept open for passage – “… extending back into each street 20 feet beyond said corner, shall be kept free from all vehicles … “). Create a clear space at all intersections to improve visibility for bicyclists, pedestrians, and operators of motor vehicles. Do this by removing parking for a yet-to-be-determined distance and then “bumping out” the curbs to shorten crossings and prevent motorists from parking in the clear space areas (similar to the Delaware Ave. reconstruction.) Post signs to restrict the parking at corners until funds are available to reconstruct the curbs.
  2. Emphasize “safe streets” over “complete streets.” Make safety the priority in all street designs. New York State law defines a Complete Streets as roadways planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of all roadway … including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and motorists (Complete Streets Act – Chapter 398, Laws of New York, 8/15/11). While the law implies that safety will be a considered, it does not make safety the primary goal. Rather, Complete Streets implies a compromise over all mobility modes without paramount consideration for the vulnerability of certain road users. Since most Albany streets and intersections are or were designed for maximum motor vehicle throughput, it stands that no street redesign project proposal should ever consider the null alternative “do nothing.”
  3. Prohibit diagonal or perpendicular parking throughout the city except for previously established Albany Police Department facilities. Backing up is inherently dangerous to cyclists (and to motor vehicles).
  4. Reduce speed limit on all residential streets to 25 mph.
  5. Reduce to 20 mph the speed limit in a newly established “green zone” bounded by Clinton Ave., Broadway, Madison Ave., and Henry Johnson Blvd.
  6. Work with New York State legislators to provide home rule for cities to set speed limits below 30 mph (outside of schools zones). For specific projects, apply for “home rule” for traffic safety advancements such as a “20 Is Plenty” “green zone” described above.
  7. Reduce speed limit on park roads in the City of Albany to 15 mph with traffic calming changes made to roadways to discourage driving over the desired speed. Calming techniques include reducing the width of driving lanes, squaring intersections, installing speed bumps and speed tables, and changing the road surface.
  8. Close parks to all through traffic driving on Sundays between noon and 5 pm
  9. Reduce all in-city motor vehicle travel lanes to 11 ft or less except where the passage of emergency vehicles dictates greater width. These narrowed roadways and/or travel lanes will calm traffic thereby improving traffic safety on the roadways. Each street design project will suggest different approaches to this objective. In some case, for example, painting shoulders might suffice. Other cases might call for bicycle lanes, bicycle lane buffers, or curb relocations.
  10. Post more “No-Turn-on-Red” signs and use illuminated “No-Turn-on-Red” signs that activate at certain periods during the signal cycle or when pedestrian push buttons are active. This will increase pedestrian and bicycle safety. Increase the number of intersection where “no right on red” is the rule especially in areas with high pedestrian and public transport traffic. An example would be for all cross streets on Central Ave.
  11. Analyze intersection crashes to improve intersection safety and then designate these areas for redesign, education, and enforcement. To not limit this investigation to Albany Police Department traffic incident reporting.
  12. Provide motorcycle-only parking spaces. Establish these spaces at the beginning or ends of parking areas on each block (angle parking for motorcycles). Determine the number of spaces per block or area by working with motorcycle groups and the Albany Parking Authority. (This will improve intersection sight lines and reduce risk to motorcycles of parking in conventional parking spaces.)
  13. Review traffic patterns to determine if the city needs to change signs and traffic signals.
  14. Perform a city-wide traffic sign inventory. Reduce number of signs where possible to increase compliance with the posted regulations or warnings. Analyze the results with the following objectives: reducing sign clutter (to increase the utility/impact/effectiveness of the remaining signs); assessing whether signs installed “years ago” are still needed; and assessing whether or not evolving traffic patterns suggest new, revised, or unneeded signage. Continue to prohibit all signage not directly involved with traffic control and safety. Do in phases to control costs. This would dictate removal of all promotional and commercial signage, with the possible exclusion of some directional signage.
  15. Develop a master plan for Traffic Engineering. Develop an Engineering approach to calm aggressive driving.
  16. Analyze on-street parking in the City of Albany with a special emphasis on the following: enhancing viewing space for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians at intersections, restricting parking at intersections, and striping to preclude driver creation of an informal right-turn lane), and establishing pull off/pull out for buses (i.e., analyze problem “stops” and remove parking as indicated). Gradually reduce the number of on-street parking spaces from designated areas to enhance community growth and street-side ambience.
  17. Start and continue a share-the-road campaign to make roadways friendlier for all modes of transportation.
  18. Starting with Albany Police Department traffic/crash data, identify existing danger areas. Analyze the areas for remediation through engineering, education, and enforcement. Consider publishing the results. Consider special signage, lane reconfiguration, road redesign, markings, or speed limits for the identified “danger zones.”
  19. As a rule, reconfigure all intersections to have 90-degree turns to reduce speeds and enhance safety for pedestrians. This will discourage high-speed turns that can be deadly to pedestrians and cyclists.

Bicyclist Specific Safety Improvements

  1. Concentrate on establishing a city-wide network of bicycle facilities rather than on isolated segments.
  2. Restrict installation of shared lanes (“sharrows”) only as provided by National Association of City Transportation Officials in conjunction with bicycle facilities such as bicycle lanes, protected bicycle lanes, and cycle tracks. Although people on bicycles may ride on all non-limited use highways (e.g., interstates), bicycles may at times legally share (or “take”) the traffic lane. Shared lane markings reinforce the legitimacy of bicycle traffic on the street. This is especially true where keeping to the right is unsafe. They serve as a reminder to people in cars that bicycle riders may be present and that they have “taken the lane” for their own safety.
  3. Improve on the League of American Bicyclists’s Bicycle Friendly Community designation.Analyze the suggestions provided by the League of American Bicyclists in its review of City of Albany’s bicycle friendly community designation.
  4. Selectively establish bike-only and or separated bikeways to promote more biking.
  5. Promote work-place bicycle lockup areas for those who ride to work.
  6. Install and build more bicycle accommodations throughout the City including bicycle racks, fix-it stations, lanes, and intersection “bike boxes.”
  7. Install signal detectors capable of identifying bicycles. Mark areas at selected intersections to inform bicyclists where they should be on the pavement to activate the traffic signal at intersections that have actuated approaches.

Pedestrian Specific Safety Improvements

  1. Re-program all on-demand pedestrian crossing lights to a “pedestrian priority” sequence wherein pressing a demand button will provide for crossing immediately after the end of the current motor vehicle phase in the complete cycle. Allow pedestrians to enter their demand even when the street to be crossed is currently red to stop motor vehicle traffic after the next motor vehicle cycle.
  2. At selected signalized intersections, implement an advanced pedestrian interval or exclusive pedestrian phase in the signal operations to improve pedestrian safety. Examples for this treatment include Lark St./Madison Ave. Delaware Ave., Washington Ave. /Lark St., Delaware Ave./Holland Ave./Morton Ave., and Allen St./Madison Ave./Western Ave.
  3. At select signalized intersections, increase yellow clearance times and all red times to increase intersection safety during high pedestrian use hours.
  4. At selected signalized, high-pedestrian-use intersections, employ ALL WAY STOP signalization. Do this in such a way as to not increase or encourage “pause” by people in cars who do not want to continuously stop at intersections.
  5. For pedestrian heavy streets, install midblock crossing locations preferably with raised, sidewalk-high “green zones.” Where appropriate, signalize these midblock crossings (e.g., Central Ave., Washington Ave.)
  6. Install sidewalks on all roadways to encourage walking and improve safety on roadways. This is especially relevant where pedestrians currently have to share the travel lanes with motorists and bicyclists.
  7. Where sidewalks do not exist, install warming signs for motorists and, where appropriate, “walk left” signs for people walking.

Bus/Bus Rider Safety

  1. Establish ADA compliant bus stops in logical locations with bump outs to provide areas where buses can discharge or pick up passengers on the sidewalk and not in the travel, bicycle, or parking lanes.
  2. Coordinate with Capital District Transportation Authority in analyzing “problem” bus stops using CDTA and city data and driver testimony.
  3. Determine what actions the city might take to ease reentry of buses into the traffic lane.
  4. Provide more bus operator traffic signal control.
  5. Wherever possible, implement bus-only travel lanes.
  6. Work with City School District on an engineering approach to school bus safety. This includes safe pickup and drop off locations that still meet all guidelines and laws. Implement School Zone Safety program. Provide bus, parent drop off/pick up areas at each school large enough to accommodate each. This will improve transportation on roadways around the schools. Work with the School District through the education and enforcement groups to ensure the engineering plans are followed. Encourage the School District to embrace traffic safety that goes hand in hand with school safety. Coordinate with the School District on analyzing trouble spots at the exits/entrances of identified schools. Once completed, use this as a model for the public-charter and private schools (perhaps asking them to do a self-analysis)

Other

  1. Priority sequence all of the Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan’s major projects.
  2. Provide a specific time line for each major planned project in the Albany Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan with a completion-by-date specified.
  3. Improved coordination with neighboring municipalities to provide a regional bike transportation network. Pay particular attention to the interface points between municipalities (e.g., Everett Rd. at I-90, Delaware Ave. at the Normanskill, and Western Ave. at the city line with Guilderland).
  4. Divest all City of Albany Parking Authority Parking lots/garages and sell to private business. This will increase the cost of “downtown” parking and provide the city with tax revenues.
  5. Encourage use of park-and-ride. Analyze traffic and public transport data to assess the benefits of having more park-and-rides. Identify businesses/agencies that should be encouraged to support park-and-ride.

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“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

[SOURCE: Jane Jacobs, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”]

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Filed under Activisim, Albany-Bike/Ped Master Plan, City Review

Lane Markings Clinton Ave. – Refreshing

Unlike longitudinal motor vehicle traffic lane makings, bicycle lanes – like cross walks and stop lines – are subject to continual scrubbing from wheels, street sweepers, and snow plows. Accordingly, the schedule used to maintain these critical pavement markings has to be adjusted for these differing wear rates, the criticality and nature of the street in question, and the severity of the weather. With the very few marked bicycle lanes in the City of Albany, it is essential that they be maintained.

Clinton Ave. in particular – because it is mostly residential and surrounded by residential streets with limited commercial activity – depends on clear bicycle lane markings to ensure (1) safety of people on bicycles and (2) guidance for people in cars that they need to calm both their speed and their driving behavior. This letter calls for refreshing the pavement makings on Clinton Ave.

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Pray for People on Bicycles

October 12, 2020

RE: Lane Markings Clinton Ave.

The Honorable Kathy M. Sheehan

Office of the Mayor

City Hall, Rm. 102

24 Eagle St.
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

This is to draw your attention to the need to refresh the bicycle lane markings on Clinton Ave.

Because of its Ten Broeck-to-Manning bicycle lanes, Clinton Ave. is a favored “up the hill” route for people on bicycles. The street also connects directly to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and, ultimately, to the Skyway. With the advent of the bicycle lane network in the Northern Blvd. area and the hoped for on-street bicycle link between it and the lanes on Clinton Ave., maintenance of the lane markings on the avenue is critical.

Park Where?

In many areas only ghost images remain. This is especially so at cross streets where traffic scrubbing is heavy. People in cars entering Clinton Ave. need the markings to alert them to the presence of bicycles and people.

Over and above all bicycle and motor vehicle issues, Clinton Ave. with its adjacent streets is essentially residential with people coming and going, children playing, and many enjoying time with neighbors and friends on stoops and sidewalks. For those who remember when Clinton Ave. was essentially a 4-lane superhighway, although unmarked as such, the installation of bicycle lanes in 2008 brought traffic calming to the street. Even so, the route still has unending through- and cross-town traffic. Equity alone suggests that the city have a thorough and regular program of refreshing pavement markings to preserve this major side benefit of bicycle lanes – reduced motor vehicle speeds.

On behalf of people on bicycles and the residents and visitors to Clinton Ave., I ask that you arrange for an inspection and timely remediation of the bicycle lanes.

Sincerely yours,

More Bike Lanes, More Smiles!

Promoting cycling in the Capital Region

ABC is a 501(c)3 corporation recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Member – League of American Bicyclists, New York Bicycling Coalition, South End Connector Task Force, Capital Region Complete Streets, Madison Avenue Traffic Calming Coalition, Capital District Transportation Committee-Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Cycle Schenectady, Transport Troy, and Livingston Ave. Bridge Coalition

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Filed under Bike Lanes, Clinton Avenue, Equity