Category Archives: South End Bike Link

Protected Bicycle Lanes in Albany?

Protected Bicycle Lanes in Albany?

You saw it here first – under construction (photo #1). Hopefully those “Jersey Barriers” are an indication of the final Quay St. configuration (looking north just north of the USS Slater).

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#1 – PBL in Albany?

The Corning Riverfront Park Project will include the following according to the City of Albany:

  • Repaving and widening some areas of the multi-use path along the riverfront to accommodate two-way cycling as well as people walking.
  • Extending the multi-use path south to the Quay St. /Broadway intersection near the USS Slater (The Jose Perez Memorial Plaza) and north to Erie Blvd. (ed: Now if we can just build that South End Bikeway Link … )
  • Building a new two-way bicycle lane along the backside (west side) of the tidal ponds to bypass the amphitheater during events (photo #2 – tiptoe around the tidal pool looking south from near park HQ) .
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    #2 – Path for People on Bicycles West of the Main Park Area

  • Making the riverfront more accessible with new crosswalk signals at three intersections on Quay St. at Broadway, the Broadway Connector, and Water St.
  • Calming Quay Street to make it a “complete street.” Quay St. will go from two motor vehicle lanes to one to accommodate people on bicycles and people walking as well as motor vehicles (photo # 3 – Quay St. gets a shave – looking north from just past the pump station/former Aqua Duck HQ).

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    #3 – Quay St. Gives Up a Motor Vehicle Lane to People

  • Adding nearly 50 parking spots on Quay St. to make it easier for people in cars to visit the riverfront.
  • Enhancing lighting along the new multi-use paths and along Quay St.
  • Providing benches, bicycle racks, and trashcans (ed.: recycling too?) along the paths.
  • Providing informational kiosks to promote Albany events and activities.
  • Adding trees to the park so that there will be more trees than before the project began.

Moving on (after a visit to the Corning Riverfront Park) – photo #4 shows markings for the return of Conventional Bicycle Lanes on the repaved Clinton Ave. Maybe the bicycle lanes can at least begin continued beyond Lexington to the intersection of Clinton and Central Aves. per the original plan.   As of 7/11, the lanes are re-marked from Ten Broeck to the western end of the re-paving project – you’ll notice the lane marking bicycles are now rider less.  Hmmmmm…

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Markings for Bicycle Lanes – looking west

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Filed under Corning Riverfront Park, protected bicycle lanes, South End Bike Link

Celebrating Trails in the Area – Not Once But Twice in the Same Issue of the Times Union!

South End Bikeway LinkCelebrating Trails in the Area – Not Once But Twice in the Same Issue of the Times Union!

Letters in the Albany Times Union – 4/17/16

#1 – Erin Walsh wrote about the Uncle Sam 3.1-mile paved rail-trail that runs through North Troy and Lansingburgh. She reported renewed interest in the trail, highlighting its value to the immediate community and the greater Capital Region. She noted that Capital Roots, Transport Troy, the National Park Service, Troy Bike Rescue, and Troy city have all taken an interest in the trail’s renewal.

You’ll have a chance to –

  • do trail cleanup on 4/23
  • join a community bike ride on 5/22
  • take a historical and nature walk on 6/4
  • join a community bike ride on 9/24 – the famous “Collar City Ramble”

Erin is an enthusiastic supporter of complete streets and other pro-pedestrian/cyclist initiatives in Troy and the Capital Region. Contact

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#2 – For those who choose not to read the paper paper, you’ll miss the wonderful map of the South End Bikeway Link created by local artist and bon vivant, Frank Smith. I hope that you’ll soon be seeing this map elsewhere in the City of Albany.

In any case, the illustrative map highlights better than words the essence of this second letter – a call for immediate completion of a safe and protected connecting link between the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail trailhead on S. Pearl St. and the \southern terminus of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at the Slater/Dutch Apple moorings.

Under city contract, Alta Planning + Design is conducting a feasibility/design study of this critical 1.3-mile link. Stay alert for meetings hosted by the city and Alta.

Just think – Voorheesville to Buffalo on an (almost) continuous trail!

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Filed under Activism, Albany County Rail Trail, Erie Canal Trail, protected bicycle lanes, South End Bike Link

Bikes ‘n’ Boats?

South End Bikeway inkHook up your canoe or kayak trailer to your 10 speed and get ready for fun on the road and water on your way to the new Springer’s Marina on southern Broadway in Albany. The Marina is a key attraction of the proposed South End Bikeway ink.

 

Here are a couple construction shots of the newest amenity for our waterfront

  1. New boat storage/shop taken from Broadway
  2. Hudson in the background – south end of marina
  3. North end of marina with dock/boat slip segments ready to “launch”
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Boat storage/shop

 

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South end of marina

 

 

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North end of marina

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Filed under City Review, Erie Canal Trail, Riding in Albany, South End Bike Link

What’s Goin’ On? Albany County Public Meeting on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

lbany County Public Meeting on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail –  1/12/16

Albany County hosted an informational meeting for the public on the status of the new Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. The speakers were representatives from the Albany County Executive’s office. Albany Bicycle Coalition members compiled the following notes.

Phase III – Veterans Park, Delmar to S. Pearl St., Albany is nearing completion and will ave a ribbon cutting ceremony in the spring of 2016. Paving is now complete.

Things that held up the opening were shoring up of the creek issues that cost an extra $350,000 and the Delaware Ave. Bridge that took longer than anticipated (see photo).

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A Hard, Ditty, Long Job at Delaware Ave Bridge

Minor things still to be completed – Fencing along trail, “gateway entrances” with kiosks, signage, etc. at Booth Rd. and other places. Mileage markers will be installed every half mile.

Cost of phase I, $3.2 million, 80% federal, 20% county

Parking in Delmar is limited at present (pointed out by members of the public). The county responded that it did not anticipate how many people would drive to the trail; they assumed that in Delmar, users would be walking or biking to the trail. The county will have to look into it.

At S. Pearl St., work is in progress on pedestrian crossing signals.

No garbage cans planned at present, due to extra expense required to cart trash away.

No good Rockefeller Rd. access at this time. They are “looking” at it. Possibly, there could be a winding path from the road down to the path. No new bridge will be built to replace the demolished bridge, as it is too expensive.

Phase II – Slingerlands Fire Department to Veterans Park, Delmar) – 9,000 foot long. Have money for paving a 3,000 foot section in 2016. The town and county are negotiating on the remaining 6,000 ft. It should be completed in the fall of 2016.

A parking lot is planned near the Slingerlands firehouse trailhead. A trailhead will also be at Adams St., Delmar. Both sites will have kiosks and signage.

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Rough Paving Done

Phase I – Voorheesville to Upper Font Grove Rd.) (Upper Font Grove Rd. to Slingerlands Fire Dept) – Apparently there is some kind of funding to have the section between Voorheesville and Upper Font Grove Rd. paved by 2017. The section between Upper Font Grove Rd. and the fire dept is still up in the air for two reasons: the bridge over New Scotland Ave. and a homeowner that has property on the trail near the bridge. The bridge is a significant problem. It is in poor shape, and the area has poor drainage. Unfortunately, the bridge cannot just be eliminated in the unlikely event that the route ever reverted to the railroad; the bridge must be left intact.

Common complaints heard included the following: landowner complaining that people are coming on to his land; conditions on the trail itself (e.g., water flooding onto the trail between Rockefeller Rd. and the bridge over the Normanskill); unleashed dogs on the trail; lack of dedicated parking near trail; and one instance where someone saw a motor vehicle on the trail at night in Voorheesville.

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Clear Cutting for Cars

Other things mentioned were that there will be an archeological dig on the south side of the trail on the Albany side (Native American site?). There may be a celebration on July 16, more news to follow. One person asked about any plans for the much-needed South End Bikeway Link to the Corning Preserve/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. The response was that there isn’t any plan. Note – While the county isn’t taking it on, the City of Albany has Capital District Transportation Committee funding for a feasibility study which is in process according to the City of Albany at the 1/12/16 Capital District Transportation Committee Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting. One of the county people mentioned that the first meeting is at the end of this month, January.

Did you know there is no law that prohibits motor vehicles from accessing the trail? It has to be enacted at the local level and it hasn’t yet (can’t make this stuff up).

There are no further phases in the pipeline. The railroad still owns the rest of the route going north to Altamont.

Policing – The County said that it is difficult to police the trail. It simply recommended calling 911 to report issues. A Town of Bethlehem representative said that they do conduct some patrols.

Publicity – A county representative said he didn’t think a special publicity campaign is necessary. One person disagreed stating that there are paved bike paths near Albany that he discovered only by accident or via Google Maps.

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, South End Bike Link

Breaking the Ice – Ride #1 South End Bikeway Link

PRE-RIDE – We kicked off the monthly series of planned orientation rides on the proposed South End Bikeway on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Nine intrepid riders – with the youngest being 18 months old – met under the (pounding) I-787 at the Boat Launch/Row Center in the Albany Corning Preserve. We started with a League of American Bicyclists mini “Safe Cycling” course sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition. We had several adults and one youth for the class which featured a description of the full course, helmet selection and fit, pre-ride “ABC Quick check of our bicycles,” signaling, “rock dodge,” and scanning (to the rear).

HEADING OUT – Leaving from the start of the Erie Canalway Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, we headed along the current multi-use pathway to the central parking area where we learned about the $8-million Albany Corning Preserve project and the proposed South End Bikeway Link. He pointed out the “flyover” – an adaptive re-use of an unneeded I-787 ramp into a multi-use “high line-like” parkway for people on bicycles and on foot. This would connect the waterfront to Clinton Ave. as well as to the bike-hike path over the new Livingston Avenue Bridge that, in turn, would open a water-level route to Rensselaer and to S. Troy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A LITTLE ICE – With temps in the high teens, we were bound to, and did, encounter a few icy spots but a little walking or a steady had on the bars got us through that so when we arrived at our next orientation spot at the Slater we were all nicely warmed up. At the Slater, we looked at the terminus of the Albany County path and then to the 1.8-mile on-street gap separating us from the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail head on S. Pearl.

TERMINUS – With the sun getting warmer and warmer, we headed south past the choke point at the U-Haul on Broadway toward Island Creek Waterfront Park (with its potential as a spot where people can begin their rides or walks) where we again paused to look at the planned off-street crossing, the Island Creek Waterfront Park, the UA Alumni Row Center, and the proposed full-service marina on Broadway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA LITTLE HISTORY – Just before the rough-and-tumble railroad crossing, we looked at the reported site of Fort Nassau, the tank bombs, and the off/on ramps for I-787, one of which will be the protected bicycle lanes for the South End Bikeway Link. We swung around to western ramp, noted the super wide shoulder, and went on to S. Pearl. We stopped at Mt. Hope Drive to hear about Ezra Prentiss, Joel Rathbone, and other historical notables who lived in or settled the area. We learned about the now-vanished Kenwood village and gained an appreciation for the powerful history of the immediate area and how it will enrich the SEBL’s value for all. We observed how critical would be enhanced signalization at Mt. Hope and Pearl to facilitate people crossing form the west side of S. Pearl (from the 2-way cycle track) to the I-787 ramp, one lane of which will become the protected bicycle lanes.

CRAZY STREET – While heading toward the end of our tour, even the experienced road riders noted the aggressive, on-your-tail, outta-my-way behavior of the people in cars and trucks and how meaningless the shared lane markings and “share the road” signs were in helping us along. In covering the route, we noted with sadness the loss of life – Jose Perez (2006) and Qazir Sutherland (2013) in the very streets we are trying to bypass on our preferred route. This enhances the urgency for protected bicycle lanes by this fall in time for the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail opening.

START HERE – At the intersection of South and Old South Pearl, we looked at the railroad overpass, the area of the planned 12-car parking lot, and the to-be-closed pedestrian tunnel under the roadbed. Crossing under the railroad overpass, we swung onto Binghamton St., went to the end, and learned about the Mohawk and the Mohicans. While we did not spot the promised bald eagle, we did see a red-tailed hawk.

TANK BOMBS – At this point, we made our way speedily back on our route, using the eastern I-787 ramp. Our plans to return via Broadway were dashed by the stopped fleet of DOT 111s on the crossing. We noted sadly that yet another 103-tanker train had yet another derailment in Illinois. With 34,500 gallons in each car, the explosion/conflagration caused evacuations in a one-mile radius where the Galena River joins the Mississippi. (By the way, if about half of those gallons was converted to gasoline [the rest being waste, heating oil, spillage, plastic bottles, etc.] an Escalade could go 1,326 miles – well worth it Commissioner Martens!) In any case, we returned to our starting point via Quay St.

For info, go to:

https://www.facebook.com/albanybikewaylink

https://www.flickr.com/albanybikewaylink

https://www.twitter.com/albanybikeway

https://www.facebook.com/albanybikewaylink

 

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Filed under Activisim, Bicycle Boulevards, Bike Lanes, Rides, South End Bike Link