Category Archives: City Review

Burlington’s Bike Boxes are Beautiful

It’s always great to visit Burlington to see the latest efforts by the city government to make the city more livable for it citizens and more rideable for people on bicycles.

The latest addition is a Bike Box on a major east-west thoroughfare, Pearl St., at its intersection with Union St.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Update 10-10-19 ~ The City of Albany has four bike boxes – three at Shaker Rd/Northern Blvd. (see “Bicycle Lanes in the City of Albany”) and one at Madison Ave./Lark St. None has colored pavement as a background color.

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If you are unfamiliar with “bike boxes,” view How to use a Bike Box” by Streetfilms.

Or, read the instructions.

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The basic concept is pretty clear – if you are on your bicycle, traveling in the bicycle lane, and need to turn left (in this case, east bound off Pearl St. onto northbound Union St.), the petrovehicles are stopped before the green box allowing you to safely ride into the box ahead of the cars and make your left turn as soon as the traffic light indicates. See also: https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/intersection-treatments/bike-boxes/

 

 

 

Why have bike boxes? (SOURCE)

  • Increases visibility of bicyclists.
  • Reduces signal delay for bicyclists.
  • Facilitates bicyclist left turn positioning at intersections during red signal indication – This only applies to bike boxes that extend across the entire intersection.
  • Facilitates the transition from a right-side bike lane to a left-side bike lane during red signal indication. This only applies to bike boxes that extend across the entire intersection.
  • Helps prevent “right-hook” conflicts with turning vehicles at the start of the green indication.

Typical Applications: (SOURCE)

  • At signalized intersections with high volumes of bicycles and/or motor vehicles, especially those with frequent bicyclist left-turns and/or motorist right-turns.
  • Where there may be right or left-turning conflicts between bicyclists and motorists.
  • Where there is a desire to better accommodate left turning bicycle traffic.
  • Where a left turn is required to follow a designated bike route, access a shared-use path, or when the bicycle lane moves to the left side of the street.
  • When the dominant motor vehicle traffic flows right and bicycle traffic continues through as at a “Y” intersection or access ramp.
  • Provides priority for bicyclists at signalized bicycle boulevard crossings of major streets.
  • Groups bicyclists together to clear an intersection quickly, minimizing impediment to transit or other traffic.
  • Pedestrians benefit from reduced vehicle encroachment into the crosswalk.

 

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Here’s another Burlington feature, a “Neighborhood Greenway” – how nice is that!

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Filed under Bike Lanes, Burlington VT, City Review

Bicycle Lanes in the City of Albany

UPDATE: 10-10-19 ~ At the time of the original post, the bike boxes were outlined and had the required bicycle-with-rider symbol but were not painted green as is the common practice. Photos taken 10-8-19 show that the boxes remain uncolored – note car encroaching on and stopped in the bike box (no people on bicycles present at the time).

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The National Association of City Transportation Officials recommends that “colored pavement should be used as a background color within the bike box to encourage compliance by motorists.” Observations are that “ … the percentage of motorists that encroached on the stop line decreased significantly with the implementation of the skeleton [uncolored] bicycle box.” See: https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/intersection-treatments/bike-boxes/

If you are unfamiliar with “bike boxes,” view “How to use a Bike Box” by Streetfilms. http://www.streetfilms.org/how-to-use-a-bike-box/ Or, read the instructions. The basic concept is pretty clear – if you are on your bicycle, traveling in the bicycle lane, and need to turn left (in this case, east bound off Pearl St. onto northbound Union St.), the petrovehicles are stopped before the green box allowing you to safely ride into the box ahead of the cars and make your left turn as soon as the traffic light indicates.

Here are views of all three Bike Boxes at the Shaker Rd./Northern Blvd. intersection.

 

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As part of the Northern Blvd.-Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 bicycle lane network, an additional 0.3 miles of buffered lanes are now open on Shaker Rd. (It’s “Albany-Shaker Rd.” in the Town of Colonie and “Shaker Rd.” in Albany.)

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The 6 ft. lanes have a 3-ft painted buffer. These facilitate the ride down (or up) the hill by Memorial Hospital to and from Broadway. The lanes also should reduce petrovehicles speeds on this busy route. Eventually the lanes will continue the additional 0.5 miles to Broadway.

Alb-Shaker BL at Northern Blvd 8-11-19 (3).JPG

Below is an inventory of installed bicycle lanes in the City of Albany. Please report any change/corrections to lorenzworden@gmail.com

Madison Ave.

  • Partridge St. – Allen St.     0.4 (2016 completion, no buffer)
  • Partridge St. – Willet St.     0.9 (2018 completion, no buffer)
  •            SUBTOTAL               1.4 (measurement error – Total = 1.4)

 

  • Clinton Ave.                       1.7 (Manning Sq. to Ten Broeck St., no buffer)
  • Northern Blvd.                  0.9 (McCrossin Ave./Pennsylvania Ave. to Van Rensselaer. no buffer)
  • Ten Broeck St.                   0.2 (Clinton Ave. to Livingston Ave., no buffer)
  • Albany-Shaker Rd.           0.3 (Northern Blvd. to Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 (2019 completion, buffered))
  •             SUBTOTAL           3.1

 TOTAL (installed)   4.5 (2019)

 Bicycle Network – The bicycle lane-to-lane connections are as follows:

  • Ten Broeck Ave. and Clinton Ave. – Total mileage of 1.7 + 0.2 = 1.9 mi.
  • Northern Blvd. and Albany-Shaker Rd. – Total mileage of 0.9 + 0.3 = 1.2 mi. (This also ties in directly to the 1.5 miles of Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 bicycle lanes which are mostly in Menands (for a total mileage of 0.9 + 0.3 + 1.5 = 2.7 mi. See – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2017/07/08/89398/ )

The Madison Ave. bicycle lanes are isolated.

Albany Bicycle Master Plan – The City of Albany approved its Bicycle Master Plan in December 2009. It called for a 20-year completion period as follows: “This bicycle master plan identifies a bikeway network to be phased in over the next 20 years,” (SOURCE: Pg. ES3, https://albany2030.org/files/City%20of%20Albany%20Bicycle%20Master%20Plan.pdf ) In the first 10 years, the city installed 4.5 miles of bicycle lanes for an average of 0.45 per year. At this rate, the City of Albany will have 9.0 miles of bicycle lanes at the end of the 20-years.

By comparison, the City of Troy’s Uncle Sam Trail is 6.3 miles in a combination of shared lanes, cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, and off-road multiuse paths. Troy plans to close the 0.8-mile gap for the “Hudson River Promenade,” now under construction, in 2021.

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Big Doin’s on New Scotland Ave

The Setting – New Scotland Ave. has four business districts: way out there (Whitehall-Krumkill – Stewarts, Russian gasoline), mid-town (Manning-West Lawrence – post office, bank, booze, RX, etc.) lower (Ontario-Quail – gas, bank, Stewarts, barber, booze), and lower-lower (Holland-Madison Ave. – banks, RX, eats, booze).

The first two will be addressed as part of the New Scotland Ave. Corridor Study. Lower-lower is in a state of constant flux because of the unending Albany Medical Center Hospital and residential building spree.

The Changes – The lower district (Ontario-Quail) is the “walkable neighborhood” section with several dining establishments, ice cream, banking, etc. It is currently being rebuilt to provide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, space for patio tables for the restaurants, and notably an effort to rationalize the New Scotland Ave. – Quail St. intersection. There are now “bumpouts” on both sides of Quail. They may encourage people in cars to slow down (we hope) and to enter and leave New Scotland Ave. at a closer to a 90-degree angle. This is opposed to the swooping turns previously favored by the City of Albany’s street designers (e.g., Willet and Madison Ave., New Scotland Ave. and Krumkill, New Scotland Ave. and Buckingham/Lenox, New Scotland Ave. and Euclid, and, Lark St. and Madison Ave.).

The walk area curb-to-curb across Quail St. is now 61 feet. The visual width for people in cars coming south on Quail is somewhat less at around 45 ft due to the bumpouts. Back from the crossing, the street is about 32 ft wide with some parking and two motor vehicle travel lanes. Once the lane markings are in, we’ll have a better idea on the impact on people in cars, on busses, on foot, and on bicycles.

Photos:

  1. Bump out on east side of Quail
  2. Bump out on west side of Quail
  3. New intersection layout viewed from New Scotland Ave.
  4. New intersection from New Scotland Ave. – looks plenty wide and a little scary for people walking. Is it better?
  5. The sprint zone – 61 feet across.
  6. Looking west on New Scotland Ave. with new sidewalk configuration. Once parking is added, looks like bicycle lanes will be impossible.

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Filed under City Review, Road Diet - Traffic Calming

South End Ride-Walk Honoring Qazir Sutherland

This 3rd annual community event was held on Saturday, September 29 at the Ezra Prentice Homes on. Pearl St. This is one of the least safe streets in the City of Albany with a constant stream of high-speed cars and heavy trucks.

See Channel 10 Video here

There were opening remarks followed by a walk with about 25 participants and some Albany Police Department e-bicycle-mounted escorts along S. Pearl St. to the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail. Other activities included DJ Supreme, fresh fruits, healthy living tips, a Y-infor table, and a Capital District Transportation Committee safety and trails exhibit. Walk partners included Qazir Sutherland’s Family, A Village, Capital District YMCA, Albany Housing Authority, the City of Albany, Albany County Department of Health, Albany Police Department, and Capital Roots with media support from the Albany Bicycle Coalition.

What better way to relax after a morning of community organizing than a cinnamon bun and coffee at the 3 Fish Café?

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Filed under Activism, City Review, South End Bike Link

Mayor Sheehan Ride to Work Day

Friday, 5/18, 8:00 AM – Mayor Sheehan Ride to Work Day – A group of riders, guarded by a phalanx of Albany Police Department Bicycle Officers, joined Mayor Sheehan for a “ride to work.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe commute began at 8 AM at the corner of Ontario St. and Clinton Ave. (across from Albany Fire Department #7) and went down Albany’s paramount bicycle lanes on Clinton Ave. and then go right on Broadway to Stacks Espresso Bar, where  Mayor Sheehan generously treated us to coffee, tea, and other beverages.

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The Mayor and several others road CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare bicycles – a great way to promote the service that features 40 racks in the City of Albany and with 160 new bicycles slated for installation in June.

 

 

 

Plan  your own ride around the city at https://bikealbanymap.com/

For other bicycle events, go here – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/events/

 

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Filed under Bike Lanes, City Review, Rides