Category Archives: Activism

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.


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

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.



Filed under Activisim, Death on the Road, Ghost Bikes

Roads Remain Unsafe for People on Bicycles

16-Year-Old Struck and Killed – The bicycle community was again saddened by the death of another young cyclist struck and killed by two motor vehicles. See –  The report is not clear on how the crash occurred but states that  “no tickets or charges have been filed” and “New York State Police are investigating  while … “The investigation remains ongoing.“

The Scene – If one looks at Rt 30 for the full stretch by Dennie Loop Rd. (see,+in+the+town+of+Mayfield/@43.126514,-74.2480724,48m/data=!3m1!1e3 ) the shoulders on Rt 30 are a generous 10 ft wide (using Google measurement tool).

David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32)

Ryan 3 - Completed 10-28-07

Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 30)


Ride of Silence – COVID-19 forced the Albany Bicycle Coalition to postpone its annual Ride of Silence to commemorate the injury and death of people on bicycles.


Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40)


Edston J. Kirnon – July 22, 2017

The Growing List – Notice in the following lists the frequency of drunk, reckless, sleeping, and inattentive drivers. Ghost bike memorial locations* are now as follows:

  • William Drake – July 4, 2020 (age 16) Bicyclist hit by two cars, Rt. 30, Mayfield
  • Edston J. Kirnon – July 22, 2017 (age 42) Bicyclist collided with side of CDTA bus, N. Pearl St., Albany
  • Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 30) Bicyclist run down by SUV, Washington Ave. Ext., Albany

Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 30)

Sawyer 10-18-17

  • John J. Cummings – January 27, 2016 (age 65) Bicyclist run down from behind and killed, Amsterdam Rd., Glenville

John J. Cummings – January 27, 2016 (age 65)

Cummings 1-27-16

  • Robert Agne, DVM – September 7, 2015 (age 54) Bicyclist killed by sleeping driver crossed centerline, Rt. 30 Pawlet, VT

Robert Agne, DVM – September 7, 2015 (age 54)

bob agne saratoga rood and riddle fb 500

  • Stephen Nolan – June 2, 2014 (age 53) Bicyclist killed by car, King & Federal Sts., Troy
  • Brian Bailey – March 11, 2014 (age 37) Bicyclist killed by truck, Route 9W, Ravena
  • Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by impaired driver, Rt. 22, Petersburg
  • Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver, Manning Blvd. & Roosevelt St., Albany
  • Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53), Bicyclist killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie
  • Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by car, Western Ave. at Homestead Ave., Albany
  • Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72) Bicyclist hit by car/died, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam)
  • Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60) Bicyclist killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany.
  • Joel Melnikoff – July 3, 2006 (age 49) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver, Rt. 32, Bethlehem

Joel’s 11/18/07 ghost bike and its 2020 replacement (thanks to MHCC):

  • David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32) Bicyclist killed by reckless driver, Riverview Rd., Rexford
  • Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver/SUV, Rt. 66, Sand Lake


Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40)Matthew Ratelle 10-26-72 -- 12-20-12 C

Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45)

Paul J. Merges Jr 11-24-12

Additional Incidences (From the Times Union archives provided in 2007) – Earlier deaths are as follows:

  • Eric M. Taylor, July 2, 2007 (age 18) Hit by car (swerved into traffic), Rt. 197, Fort Edward
  • Bill Page, Aug. 2, 2004 (age 79) Hit by car (swerved into traffic – tire blowout?) Rt. 9, Saratoga County
  • Larry Finkle, Nov. 17, 2001 (age 54) Hit by a drunk driver while crossing Rt. 9, Malta in the dark
  • James V. Percent, Aug. 19, 1998 (age 50) Killed in head-on collision with a city trash collection truck, Albany
  • Thomas Van Patten, June 12, 1997 (age 71) Rode into path of a car, Rt. 9, Schodack
  • Joseph Raymond Hebert, Aug. 22, 1997 (age) Rode into path of tractor-trailer, Glens Falls
  • Andrew Spiller, June 7, 1992 (age 26 of Rochester) Participating in an endurance bicycle race when hit around 1:00 AM by 18-year-old drunk driver Jason Lamphere, Rt. 29A, Town of Stratford. Woman who provided beer to Lamphere (who also died). later charged with unlawfully dealing with a child
  • Albert Lester, June 7, 1992 (age 31 of Westwood, Mass) Participating in the above race when hit around 2:00 AM by drunk driver Gerald S. Hill, Jr., 18. County Rd. 119, Town of Ephratah. Hill later sentenced to 1-1/3 to 4 years in prison. Denied parole in 1994. The owner of the market where Hill bought beer that night charged with unlawfully dealing with a child. (This was the second year for the endurance, but it was never held again after the two deaths.)
  • Donald Conklin, June 15, 1990 (age 22) Hit by a car while riding through a parking lot off Rt. 9, Hudson
  • Edward Sinclair, June 11, 1987 (age 25 of Schenectady) Hit by a car after riding through a stop sign, Vrooman Ave. and E. Main St., Amsterdam
  • Andrew W. Hummel, March 24, 1987 (age 22 of Latham) Hit by a car on Rt. 9, Colonie. No one charged, but it appears driver was at fault
  • Robert Palmer (age 14) and David R. West (age 16) Sept. 6, 1986 Hit by drunk driver, Rt. 50, Ballston Spa. Driver Randy L. Hotaling later sentenced to 1-1/3 to 4 years in prison
  • Vicki A. Spezio, July 4, 1986 (age 13) Hit by drunk driver while trying to cross Central Ave., Colonie on her bike. Driver Charles P. Wells later sentenced to 60 days in prison and three years probation (the jury blamed the cyclist)


Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60)

Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72

Fairbanks 6 (Susan + Patrick Briggs) 5-9-08

Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40)

Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53)


*The City of Albany removed all its ghost bikes in 2014.


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Filed under Activism, Death on the Road, Ghost Bikes

South End Bikeway Connector Rumbles Along – Cont’d (11/10/19)

Here are today’s views of progress on the South End Bikeway Connector. The first shows a major step completed at the southern end of the Connector – curbing for the cycle track installed with the concrete curing under protective cover. Remaining steps include paving the bicycle area, installation of “protective ‘plastic’ bollards,” and striping.


Next, a northerly view of Frontage Rd. along 1-787 showing the shoulder and one motor vehicle lane converted to a cycle track. The excavation is complete almost to Church/Vine Sts. Looking south from Church/Vine Sts. showing cut marks in the pavement and the progress on excavations from S. Pearl St. up to the construction vehicle in the distance.


The soon-to-be linear park and off-road multiuse path under I-787 now being used as a construction staging areas – note piles of soil, rock, and granite curbing (to the left).


A South End Bikeway Connector route description follows below. When completed, the SEBC will be the first Protected Bicycle Lanes in the City of Albany and the first bicycle lanes that actually connect up to other facilities – the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail/Erie Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail. According to the City of Albany, construction on the SEBC will continue until the end of the 2019 construction season. With this additional 1.5 miles of bicycle lanes, Albany will have a total of 6 miles of bicycle lanes just in time for the 10 anniversary of the Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan.

~ The South End Connector Bikeway Route Description ~

The bikeway begins at S. Pearl St./Old S. Pearl St. in the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail trailhead and parking lot. Between Old S. Pearl St. and Mt. Hope Dr. and the Frontage Road (the I-787 northbound entry road), there will be a separated, on-street, two-way cycle track. (This two-way feature alleviates the need for people on bicycles to cross S. Pearl St.) The cycle track will continue onto the east/river side of the Frontage Rd. to Church St./Vine St. It will then briefly turn west before continuing on an off-road, 10-foot wide, multi-use trail and linear park underneath I-787 to Broadway and Quay St. To skirt the I-787 support structure, at the Church St./Bassett St. intersection the connector will be on-road until Rensselaer St. Here it again it will shift back off-road until the turn toward the Hudson River, the Slater and Dutch Apple mooring, and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail/Albany Riverfront Park. To accommodate the connector’s path, Church St. from Rensselaer St. to Bassett St. will become a one-way southbound. Broadway currently consists of four travel lanes – two eastbound and two westbound. One lane on will be removed to construct the multi-use path on the south side of Broadway (where it passes under I-787), resulting in one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes.

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, Albany Riverfront Park, City Review, South End Bike Link

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.


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 – .



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Filed under Activisim, Ride of Silence