Category Archives: City Review

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.

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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.

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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).

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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

South End Bikeway Connector Rumbles Along – 10/26/19

Construction is fully underway on the long-awaited South End Bikeway Connector. [Photos from 10-26-19. For route description, go to end of this post.]

LOOKING NORTH – New CDTA bus stop at Mt. Hope Dr. People on bicycles will ride behind it and then veer off to toward the river and onto the cycle track on the I-787 northbound entry road.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOOKING NORTH – The new cycle track on Frontage Road, the I-787 northbound entry road leading to Church and Vine Sts. (“One lane taken form cars, one lane added for bicycles.”) (“Tank Bombs” very much in evidence.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOOKING SOUTH TOWARD THE RAIL TRAIL – Cycle track replacing the eastside parking along S. Pearl St.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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LOOKING NORTH – Cycle track under construction on east/river side of S. Pearl St. Note brave cyclist riding in the motor vehicle lane. There is no choice while the road is under construction. For orientation, note the blue and white Bennet sign to the west. Note pavement cut marks and compare final width shown in Photo #3 and 4.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOOKING SOUTH – Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail trailhead and parking lot is to the left just past the pylons.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

~ 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 Bikeway Connector

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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Filed under Bike Lanes, City Review

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