Category Archives: Article

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

The Leaves are Falling (and a Little Snow Too)

There are plenty of opportunities for some nice riding in fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to keep in mind during these seasons:

  1. Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.IMGP5517
  2. Consider adding a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
  3. Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
  4. Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
  5. Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
  6. Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
  7. Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  8. Maybe shop for and use a helmet mounted rear-facing light.
  9. You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.Rain2
  10. As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a cheepy reflective vest from your local big box home center.
  11. Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
  12. Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes and craters in the paved surface.
  13. Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  14. Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
  15. You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them). You may consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
  16. Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  17. Plan your braking to avoid a spill.5189348630_6432fb1cce_z
  18. Sunglasses are also important this time of year. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance that you will finish or start a ride in low-light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  19. Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  20. Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

    Other winter riding tips –

To plan for low stress, safe cycling, plan you route with the free, interactive Albany Bicycle Coalition BikeAlbanyMaphttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find more bicycle-related events, go to –  https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/events/

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Filed under Bike Tech, safety, Winter Cycling

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

Pay Attention!

Car #1 stops for pedestrian in crosswalk. Car #2Dreaming? Texting? Yaking? Eating?

Result?

Pay Attention EB 10-13-19

The backstory is the person slumped in the seat of Car #1 was a passenger on the way to the ER for a post op situation. The driver of Car #1 – even with an ailing passenger – has enough responsibility to stop for people walking. The driver of Car #2?

You’ll witness this identical behavior if you do some test walks on the “circles of death” on Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd. Try it …

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[Photo and story courtesy of Alert Cyclist Ed.]

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Filed under Comings and Goings, safety

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