Category Archives: City Review

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

South End Bikeway Connector Rumbles Along – Cont’d (12/26/19)

Looking south to work-in-progress connecting the trailhead/parking to the cycle track on S. Pearl St. (The traffic light is at Old S. Pearl St.)

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The new CDTA pickup at the north end of the Pearl St. segment of the cycle track (just visible behind the booth).  Ezra Prentiss homes at the far right.

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Those big, stinking, noisy, fuming trucks still very much part of the daily scene – and notably traveling above the speed limit.

The end of the cycle track on the north end of Frontage Rd. at Church St./Vine St. (Tank bombs to the left.)

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, Albany Riverfront Park, City Review, South End Bikeway Connector

“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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South End Bikeway Connector Rumbles Along – Cont’d (11/22/19)

Here are today’s (11/22/19) views of progress on the South End Bikeway Connector. From them, it is clear that the South End Bikeway Connector will be open from Church St. at the RR tracks to the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail trailhead at Old S. Pearl St. by the end of the construction season. According to the City of Albany, the remainder will be completed in 2020. In the meanwhile, riders will be able to access downtown Albany along Green St. or veer off Green St. to the right onto 4th Ave. to access Broadway. An alternative is to turn right (east) at the RR tracks to take Broadway directly to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at the Slater/Dutch Apple mooring and then onto Buffalo on the Erie Canalway Trail.

The first shows the general layout of the connection from the trailhead to the South End Bikeway Connector (looking north from the parking lot).

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Next, a couple views of the actual 2-way protected bicycle lanes on S. Pearl St. (formerly Orchard St., Washington St., Common Ln., Cow Ln., and Cow St.). The construction pylons are not the final “protection” – they are to keep petrovehicles and those humongous trucks out of the cycle track until conclusion of construction.

Here is a nice view of Capital District Transportation Authority’s brand new bus shelter on its new concrete pad with the protected bicycle lane passing behind the shelter and onto the I-787 “Frontage Rd.”

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These views looking south from Church St. (named for the nearby St. John’s and “Dutch” churches) show the cycle track with a landscaped barrier. This is the likely end of South End Bikeway Connector construction for 2019.

~ The South End Connector Bikeway Route Description ~

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 10th anniversary of the Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan.

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. 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 Bikeway Connector

Patroon Greenway Project – Yardboro Ave. to Everett Rd.

The institutional support for the Albany Bicycle Coalition to promote the Patroon Greenway Project lies in Capital District Transportation Committee’s January 2019 “Capital District Trails Plan (pg. 28) – https://www.cdtcmpo.org/images/bike_ped/TrailsPlan/CDTC_TrailsPlan_F3_reduced.pdf

Capital Trails Plan 1-2019

The plan describes the Patroon Greenway (Off-Road Trail • 8.8 miles) as follows:

“The Patroon Greenway is a planned multi-use trail route which would connect from the Albany waterfront to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and points beyond to the Schenectady County line, taking advantage of slivers of greenway which are found along the I-90 corridor.

“Beyond the county line, the Patroon Greenway is projected to continue northwest along the I-90 corridor thru Rotterdam and eventually connect with the Mohawk River section of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (F) as part of the Empire State Trail. (Refer to Schenectady section for more detail in that county and the Patroon Greenway Feasibility Study.)

“Although the full Patroon Greenway extends to the Mohawk River, only a portion of it is considered a Core Trail for the purposes of this plan. Commencing at the crossing of the Livingston Avenue Bridge, where it would connect with the Rensselaer Riverwalk/RPI Trail as well as the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail along the Hudson River, this trail is envisioned to follow the railroad bed northeast— through the wooded area behind Capital Woods apartment complex—and connecting with the established trail which winds its way through the Tivoli Lake Preserve. Branching off the Tivoli Preserve Trail, it would then head north and pass along the Transflo railyard on Anderson Drive. From this point, it is envisioned to continue following the I-90 corridor west just south of the railroad tracks to Six Mile Waterworks Park at Rensselaer Lake. Here, the Rensselaer Lake Trail could connect it through to trails within the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, where it could link up with the proposed Schenectady Park Connector (R) trail heading north into Schenectady.

“The remainder of the Patroon Greenway would eventually continue to follow the I-90 corridor beyond the county line to connect with the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail in the vicinity of Dalys Island.”

Notes on the Plan appear at the end of this post. The Patroon Greenway studies are as follows:

From these reports and the Trail PLan, it is clear that the proposed Patroon Greenway Project is a key element in the Capital Trails program as it ties together other trails and destinations that are virtually inaccessible by bicycle or foot because of the overpower encroachment of dangerous roads and highways. Further, it connects two jewels in the City of Albany – Six-Mile Trail and Tivoli Preserve, the largest urban preserve outside of NYC.

Photos follow:

“I Get No Respect” – Patroon Creek buried under Central Ave. at Yardboro Ave. (3X)

Heading SE – Clear path ahead – Patroon Creek to the right.

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Patroon Creek (2X)

Pond

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“Last Prize” (2X)

Everett Rd. (3X)

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Path Veering Off to the Right

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I-90 Overpass – Tight Squeeze to the right side of RR tracks

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Train Yards and Tank Bomb Parking

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Capital Trails-New York (Overview) – In January 2019, the Capital District Transportation Committee – the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy-Saratoga Springs metropolitan areas – released its final plan for the four-county trail master plan.

The complete plan is here – www.cdtcmpo.org/trails

CDTC developed this plan as a toolbox for local governments, trail advocates, and organizations. CDTC cannot implement the plan because it cannot initiate capital programs. The economic data, maintenance case studies, and branding plan provide the spine for cities and towns to create their own trail and/or Complete Streets plans to connect to the system. These data also will help in competing for funding and offer ideas for local friends groups to promote trail projects, advocate for trail connections, or support an existing trail and a marketing strategy to attract private sector support and champions.

Capital Trails-New York is an overall branding and area designation. Individual trails within the system will retain their own identity much as is the case with the statewide Empire State Trail network. The advantage of this approach is twofold – it will attract newcomers – tourists and new residents – to the area and will encourage those with allegiance to a local trail to continue their involvement.

Since this plan will drive development of trails for years to come, it is imperative that you be familiar with it. While the plan is packed with interesting and valuable information, you should check the pages that refer to your area:

  • Albany County – page 28
  • Rensselaer County – page 34
  • Saratoga County – page 39
  • Schenectady County – page 44In each such section, you will find a trail map and detail description of each trail and its features.If this plan is to reach its goal of 148 miles by 2020 and 289 miles after full implementation and for the region to benefit economically and socially from a trails network, you will need to get involved in supporting your municipality and advocacy groups in pushing for completion – trail by trail. Pages 81-104 provide case studies of what people (like you) were able to accomplish. Starting with our own Friends of the Rail Trail and the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, these case studies relate how great success was achieved but also how important was involvement by the citizenry. The studies are loaded with how-to tips.As a side note, the Albany-Colonie Connector – developed and designed by the Albany Bicycle Coalition – was adopted as Supporting Trail #14 as one of the key connectors between Guilderland, Albany, the Village and Town of Colonie, and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at Lions Park. See page 33. This connector ties in with the Albany Loop (Core Trail “C,” pg. 29), Patroon Greenway (Core Trail “D”), Shaker Trail (Supporting Trail #13), and the University at Albany Purple Path. The Albany Bicycle Coalition has promoted this connector and has reached out in this effort to municipal leaders and local NYS Assembly members.

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Filed under Capital Trails-New York, City Review, Patroon Greenway