Category Archives: Support the Cause

Articles dealing with bicycle advocacy and what people can do about it.

Traffic Calming on Western Ave. – Make It Happen

The following letter to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan calls for Traffic Calming on Western Ave.

The Albany Bicycle Coalition proposes the logical extension of the Madison Ave. bicycle lanes from their terminus at S. Allen and Madison Ave./Western Ave. to the city line. There they will join the Town of Guilderland’s long established bicycle lanes at the city line/University at Albany. These combined lanes would provide just over 4 miles of safe cycling for riding to work, school, errands, and health care. It would afford an option for those wishing to avoid COVID-19-risk buses or environmentally damaging petrovehicles. It would also provide safe, affordable commuting for those who do not have access to a motor vehicle.

Your support can make the happen:

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Plenty of Room from Here to the City Line – Build It!

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The Wide Open Western Horizon

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July 30, 2020

RE: It’s Time for Western Ave. Traffic Calming

The Honorable Kathy M. Sheehan

Office of the Mayor

City Hall, Rm. 10224 Eagle St.
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

As we come off the high of opening the South End Connector, it’s time to revisit an old favorite – connecting the City of Albany and Madison Ave. to Guilderland.

Over the past years, motorists, bus patrons, pedestrians, and cyclists have adapted to Albany’s highly successful Madison Ave. Traffic Calming initiative. The four-lane, crash-prone thoroughfare is now a pleasant urban street on which to drive, walk, bus, cycle, and patronize businesses. The new programmed/on-demand traffic lights and pavement markings allow Madison Ave. pedestrians to cross at every light between Allen and Willet Sts. without having to touch a button. Motorists cruise along at 20-30 mph without fear of being rear ended in the left-turn lane or experiencing unannounced, sudden lane changes. Drivers have become accustomed to cyclists and cyclists have flocked to Madison as a major uptown-downtown connector. It has been a boon to CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare users and to growth of the BikeShare program.

The Town of Guilderland and the NYSDOT recently refreshed the Western Ave. bicycle lanes running from the city line/University at Albany to Stuyvesant Plaza.

It is time to connect these Madison and Western Ave. projects into a seamless, calmed commuter and recreational route. Western Ave. from UA to Madison has two schools with posted 20 mph zones and many business and residences with exiting and entering traffic. The too-wide double lanes encourage speeding and crazy lane changes threatening everyone’s safety. This is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. This wide street section with essentially no parking has ample room for buffered bicycle lanes without impeding the smooth flow of motor vehicle traffic.

This approach will create a street design that matches the posted speed and gives all users a safe and efficient route from Guilderland to downtown Albany. It will address the inequities of those who are “car less,” those who feel unsafe on crowded buses, and those who value environmentally sound, safe solo exercise.

Mayor Sheehan, you know all of the features and benefits already and that this is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. The street’s pavement is in pretty good shape so this is an easy lift – no big bucks for utilities, curb cuts, and so on. In its 2009 Bicycle Master Plan, the City of Albany identified Western Ave. as one of its 18 “major bikeways” and will likely so re-designate it in the new Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan. We seem to be on the cusp of a “bicycle boom” brought about by the COVID-19 conditions (Times Union 5/8/20; New York Times 6/13, 15, 19 and 25/20; Adventure Cyclist 8/20). “We are selling bikes faster than we can assemble them out of the boxes … I can’t tell you how crazy it is,” stated the Freeman Bridge Sports service manager in the Times Union

The City of Albany will have to do this job someday. Why not now?

I ask your support in raising this project to the “can do” level. We look forward to working with you and staff to bring it about.

Sincerely yours,

Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc.

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, Support the Cause, Western Ave.

ABC at the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair

On Saturday, 10/20/18, the Albany Bicycle Coalition returned to the Energy Fair to promote bicycling and the environmental advantages of bicycles. The Fair ran from 10 AM – 4 PM at Doane Stuart in Rensselaer and featured “alternative energy” vendors, healthy food vendors, multiple presentations, and advocacy groups.

The ABC staff – representing many years of riding experience in the Catskills, Hudson Valley, the Erie Canalway Trail, NYC, Washington, and all over the Capital Region as well as many years advocating for bicycle interests with organizations, elected officials, and governmental agencies – were able to welcome guests to our display with knowledge, encouragement, and advice. The ABC booth featured the interactive BikeAlbanyMap projected on a large format monitor, a large map of the proposed Albany-Hudson Electric Trail map, “See and Be Seen” literature, and an array of handouts on the Coalition, Parks & Trails New York, and the Erie Canalway Trail.

As one might expect, we were warmly received by the Fair organizers, other exhibitors, and – most importantly – by those who stopped at or passed by our booth.

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Filed under Activisim, Events, Support the Cause

Bicycles in the Main “Stream”

The September 2017 city water bill mailed to metered customers includes a flyer from the City of Albany Sustainability Advisory Committee. The flyer promotes bicycle safety and targets people in cars. The flyer refers to the Albany Bicycle Master Plan but a more helpful link is to the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s BikeAlbanyMap .

In any case, bicycle awareness seems to be creeping into the main “stream.”

H2O Bill Sep 2017 Pg 1

H2O Bill Sep 2017 Pg 2

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Filed under City Review, Support the Cause

NYS 3’ Ride

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Many Mohawk-Hudson Cycling Club and Albany Bicycle Coalition members joined a ride to promote changing NYS’s safe passing law. We need to specify a minimum passing distance (e.g., 3 feet) – see: https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2016/02/22/3-foot-passing-law/ ) Currently, NYS essentially says, “pass safely” which – as any person on a bicycle knows – can mean anything from 4 inches up.

The New York Bicycling Coalition organized the ride as part of its long-standing effort to bring New York State’s law up to date.

Go here for more on the law, go HERE.

Many riders wore special “3-foot jerseys” and then rode the loop around the Capitol once for each foot. We noted the relationship to the proposed “Felony Reckless Driving and Vulnerable Users of the Public Highway (Creto/Kade) Law” – see: https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2015/11/09/felony-reckless-driving-and-vulnerable-users-of-the-public-highway/

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Filed under Activisim, Law, Support the Cause

What’s Hot, What’s Not?

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  • IN – City bike
    • OUT – Hybrid bike
  • IN – Step-through frame
    • OUT – Ladies bike
  • IN – “Twenty (i.e., mph) is plenty”
    • OUT – All cars-all the time
  • IN – Balance bike
    • OUT – Training wheels
  • IN – Everyday rider, transit rider
    • OUT – Avid “cyclist”
  • IN – “Good morning,” “good afternoon,” “good evening”
    • OUT – “ON YOUR LEFT!!!”
  • IN – Civilized cycling
    • OUT – Vehicular cyclists and John Foster’s unfounded theories.
  • IN – No right on red when people walking have the “walk light” in any direction
    • OUT – Rolling right on red anywhere
  • IN – Fenders
    • OUT – Fixed gear
  • IN – People on bicycles, people walking, people in cars
    • OUT – “Cyclist,” “pedestrian,” “drivers”
  • IN – Panniers, baskets
    • OUT – Messenger bags
  • IN – Chatting, paying attention
    • OUT – Texting
  • IN – Comfort
    • OUT – Spandex, Lycra
  • IN – Upright position
    • OUT – In the “drops”
  • IN – Hats
    • OUT – Helmets (but wear one)
  • IN – Protected bike lanes
    • OUT – “Sharrows”
  • IN – Supple, wide tires
    • OUT – 25X700C
  • IN – [Bicycles] “May use full lane”
    • OUT – [Bicycles] “In lane”

 

Mostly courtesy “Momentum,” Aug-Sep 2013

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Filed under Activisim, Editorial, Support the Cause