Category Archives: Activisim

Riding To Get Somewhere ~ or ~ the Invisible Rider

Many in the City of Albany ride their bicycles because that is their primary means of transportation. We know that there are “a lot” of these bicycle riders who apparently are not engaged in the discussion on bicycle facilities and bicycle safety issues. They do not appear to join with or participate in the activities of “bicycle advocacy groups.” They do not appear at public meetings and presentations on proposed roadway modifications that may affect them.

The question is: How can we engage with these “riders of necessity” so that their concerns can be brought to the table?

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The pictures that follow are from ABC’s collection of people on bicycles” and are not intended to identify or categorize any person or rider but merely to illustrate an issue for outreach and investigation.

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Filed under Activisim, City Review, Riding to Get Somewhere

“Even If You DON’T Build It, They Will Still Come”

Here’s a message for Albany County and the City of Albany – 12,000 bicycle riders can’t be wrong.  

In closing out its third season, CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare confirmed 41,578 rides (and 12,000 members) in the 4-city service area. The BikeShare program has a treasure drove of data telling where people picked up a bicycle, where they went, what route they took, where they made intermediate stops, what they had for breakfast, and how fast they rode. These riders (generally) are NEITHER day-to-day commuters riding their own bicycles NOR people in $200-300 riding “kit” on high-end bicycles. In addition, the BikeShare season is only 8 months long. BikeShare riders also (again, in general) have made a commitment (by registering as a seasonal members) to using the service – they are not all one-time, one-day tourists.

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Bike Share

In addition to these clear data, Albany Bicycle Coalition staff has provided cycling data from Strava as evidence that (for example) New Scotland Ave. is heavily used by cyclists. Strava* compiles monthly heat maps with trip data from cyclists. Municipalities are increasingly using Strava data for planning purposes. Yes, riders who use Strava would tend to be “serious” and committed cyclists but the data are a good proxy for all riders especially (as in the case of New Scotland Ave.) there is only one direct route available.

Therefore, we have data that goes beyond the anecdotal. Hard numbers. Not what someone “thinks” or “was told,” or “heard.” One would be ill advised to discount these data as being about “those bicycle people.”

What’s the message?

If you do not subscribe to the theory “if you build it, they will come,” you might entertain the actuality that people demonstrably want to use bicycles to get “from here to there.” Environment, health, expense, no choice, preference, advocacy – who knows the motivation? The reality still is that there are people on bicycles “out there” who, given similar economic/socio backgrounds pay MORE for road construction and maintenance then their less enlightened petrovehicle colleagues and who want and need safe, direct, connected bicycle facilities.DSC00014.JPG

CDTA CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare has more data (“heat maps”). If you are in government or are an advocate for safe roads and healthy commuting, you might use these data to support your case. Contact – – LindseyG@cdta.org

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*Strava is a social fitness network primarily to track cycling and running exercises using GPS data. Strava offers a free service with no advertising in its mobile application, and a monthly subscription plan called Strava Summit. See – https://www.strava.com/about

Felix - Mikael Colville-Andersen SON.jpg

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Student Climate Strike – Friday, 9/20/19

Panic March 9-20-19 (29).JPGThe PANIC rally and march started at 11:00 AM, at 79 Sheridan Ave., the state-owned, natural gas plant that heats/cools the Capitol/State Plaza Complex. Sheridan Ave., The march will stopped at sites along the way including DEC , NYS State Comptroller’s office, banks, and the Public Service Commission. Other marches begin from several sites including Albany High School and the downtown University at Albany downtown campus culminating in a rally at the State Capitol.th8AK20ODN

From observation, the march brought out some of the same people one would expect at any such “protest” but with the welcome addition of hundreds of high school-age participants many with ingenious signs stating their positions. See the young lady with the two-sided sign in the these photos.

Groups urged Governor Cuomo to declare a climate emergency. Specific demands included the following:

  • Ban on all new fossil fuel projects.
  • Halt to all New York State subsidies for fossil fuels.
  • Increase in funding to $10 billion for renewable energy/green initiatives in the 2020-21 budget with 40% of targeting “disadvantaged communities.”
  • Convert all public buildings and vehicles to zero “greenhouse gas” emissions by 2023.
  • Amend building codes to require all new buildings be carbon emission free by 2023.

[Ed Note: Sadly, none of these demands addresses taking direct and immediate action to reduce energy use. The demands focused on an assumption of continued energy usage but substituting non-carbon sources. This is a completely unrealistic and unattainable goal. This approach echoes the much vaunted, so-called “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” which pushes action off to 2030 and 2050. It calls for studies, not action. And joke of jokes, yet another state panel: The New York State Climate Action Council. Oh please! This will be a dithering group of political appointees with minimal qualifications and no pressure to do anything.

A valid approach would include proposals such as the following:

  • Adopt the California’s motor vehicle emission standards.
  • Progressively reduce speed limits from the current 55 mph to an eventual 40 mph (and from 65 to 50 on 4-lanes roads). Enforce the speed limit with vehicle confiscation after so many violations (e.g., 1 month for each mph over the limit for, say, the third violation).
  • Immedicte 40 mph limit for large trucks (“semis”) on secondary roads and 50 mph on 4-lane limited access roads.
  • Increase the sales tax for new vehicles based on EPA mileage ratings. Have a scale of so much percentage for EPA 20-30 mpg, 15-20 mpg, etc. There might be no sales tax for new vehicles in the 40-50 mpg range.
  • Progressively increase the fuel, tire, and related taxes (with provisions that the politicos not squander the increased revenue).
  • Progressively (but aggressively), increase all tolls.
  • Mandate bus pull-offs with bus operator controlled signalization to give buses priority to get back into the traffic flow.
  • Mandate that towns and cities (a) progressively eliminate parking and (b) meter all on-street parking.
  • … and on and on …

Sadly and in response to the march, the governor could only come up with a weak statement blaming the federal government for inaction while it is clearly in his power to lead NYS on climate action. From the Times Union, “Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the climate marchers. In a prepared statement he said, ‘I commend the thousands of students who are participating in the Global Climate Strike today and demanding solutions to this crisis before it gets worse. This next generation of Americans will pay the price if the federal administration’s inaction continues.’”]

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Bicycle Warning Signs at Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd.

Bicycle Warning Signs – NYS Department of Transportation at Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd. ~ Photos 6/21/19 vs. Google Street View, Various Dates. 

Sign Present – Checked with Google Maps Street View July 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTH BOUND on Fuller Rd South of Wash Ave Rd 6-21-19 (1) – Wide View OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTH BOUND on Fuller Rd South of Wash Ave Rd 6-21-19 (2) – Close up OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sign Present – Checked with Google Maps Street View August 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (1) – Going under I-90
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (2) – Going under I-90
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (3) – Going under I-90

Sign Absent – Checked with Google Maps Street View September 2016

  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (1)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (2)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (3)

Sign Absent – Checked with Google Maps Street View August 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (1)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (2)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (3)

 

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Filed under Activisim, NYS DOT, safety, Washington Ave.

Albany Ride of Silence – 5/15/19

Twenty-one riders commemorated the deaths of bicycle riders in the area by participating in Albany Bicycle Coalition’s 12th annual Ride of Silence.

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As in years past, we stopped for a remembrance at each of the area ghost bike sites. At each site, we had a sign with the first name, a bicycle symbol, and year. We affixed a bouquet of flowers at each site.

When we arrived at the Diva (Diva De Loayza, June 6, 2007, age 40, killed by car) ghost bike site at Western and Homestead Aves., we stopped to acknowledge all the deceased area riders. DSCF9955

 

We were honored to be joined by the family of Roger Sawyer (October 19, 2017, age 30, run down by SUV, Washington Ave. Ext.). DSCF9969Rodger’s mother relayed her frustrations in attempting to gather data from local agencies on the death of her son. Contrary to Albany Police Department and Times Union reports, the motor vehicle operator behaved and had background issues that contributed to Roger’s death and that were not known beforehand.

Susan, daughter of Alan Fairbanks (October 29, 2006, age 72, hit by car/died, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam) and her friend joined us as they have for many years. A rider spoke in honor of Robert F. Zayhowski (July 16, 2000, age 43, killed by drunken driver/SUV, Rt. 66, Sand Lake). Another spoke in honor of his friend who was struck, paralyzed, and eventually died of his injuries. We took turns reading off the names of the other area fatalities with a few words on the circumstances of their deaths.

We also visited the sites of the deaths of Edston J. Kirnon (July 22, 2017, age 42, collided with side of CDTA bus, N. Pearl St.), Nicholas Richichi (October 19, 2007, age 53, killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie), Jose Perez (August 3, 2006, age 60, killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany), and Paul J. Merges, Jr. (November 24, 2012, age 45, killed by drunken driver, Manning Blvd. & Roosevelt St.).

What is the Ride of Silence? – This ride commemorates those who were killed or injured while riding their bicycles. The ride reminds all road users to be careful and considerate of their fellow travelers. The Ride of Silence is an international movement that the Albany Bicycle Coalition has supported by hosting the Albany ride since 2007. See – http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php .

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