Category Archives: Bicycle Boulevards

Midtown Lane Sharing

Implementation of the Albany Bicycle Master Plan recently took a step forward with the installation of Shared Lane pavement markings on the repaved section of Western Ave. from N. Allen (“The Point”) to S. Main Ave. The makings also continue south of S. Main’s new surface. One might assume that the repaved S. Main from Manning/Bradford/Kent to Western Ave. will also get the markings. This is in line with Albany’s marking road surfaces as it repaves them. Marking about 0.8 miles might seem a small step except that the four involved heavily trafficked intersections – Allen/Madison/Western, Western/W. Lawrence, Western/S. Main, and S. Main/Madison – will benefit from these helpful warnings to both cyclists and motorists. These markings also pave the way for the planned reconfiguration of Madison Ave. into Albany’s premier east-west bicycle corridor – 2 bicycle lanes, 2 parking lanes, 2 driving lanes, and 1 turning lane).

Shared Lane Marker in Use

Shared Lane Marker in Use

So, get off that couch and take a self-guided tour of Albany’s bicycle amenities!

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Filed under Activism, Bicycle Boulevards, City Review, Local Bike Rides

Oh Sweet Innovation – BKME

Ah BKME, sweet innovative activism!

Bike Lanes from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

Bicycles are a great means of transportation – they run on fat and save you cash, opposed from their counter parts which run on cash and make you fat! They are welcome in  cities all across the world. City planners in Portland, Amsterdam, Seattle, New York City and even here in Albany have incorporated encoraging bicycle lanes into their designs. This is great, until motor vehicles start to use bicycle lanes as their parking spots! Luckly we are we have smart people on our side.

Here’s one innovation we could use for evidence to encourage bicycle boulevards.  It’s called BKME. If we were to document all the hazards along the bike lanes in Albany, which there are many, this may go a long way to convince planners that bicycle boulevards would be a safe design. Another note – some of our main streets don’t have bike lanes… what happened to safety first?

From BKME.org

Image from The Bird Wheel

About la velolución

BKME.ORG is a platform that channels the power of cyclists to reclaim bikelanes from vehicles.

We use #BKME on Twitter to collectively defend our bikelanes in realtime, everywhere.

Join the Velolucion.

Who We Are

We are cyclists in NYC.These bikelanes belong exclusively to us.We are determined to defend them to stay alive.

This is why we made bkme.org, as a way to authorize urban access for us all.Think of it as an Open Data platform for collectively recording each violation against our bikelanes, socially in real time.

We are all connected and we must participate in this revolution together.Starting now we always bike together.Join us and defend your bikelane.

This is just the beginning.Viva la Velolución.

Interested?

Keep in mind we are in super alpha but we are working hard to make BKME even better.

Here is how to join in:

Whether on bike or on foot, Use your mobile device and take a photo of the offending vehicle, take down the license plate andtweet it all to #bkme with your GPS location enabled (here’s how toget a Twitter account and activate geolocation on your device).

We are working on some really cool ideas for the future.To stay current, follow us at @bkme_ny.

Have a comment or suggestions, want to go for a ride? Awesome! We would love to hear from you! Send us an email at us@bkme.org

Yours,The BKME Community

I also want to note that I went through NYS transportation laws. I was unable to find any law prohibiting parking in bicycle lanes by motor vehicles. Here are the laws.

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Filed under Activism, Bicycle Boulevards

Why Bicycle Boulevards?

Why do we need to bring bicycle boulevards to Albany?

Here are a list of statistics from Bike Belongs of why we need to bring bicycle boulevards to Albany.

  • After two streets in Minneapolis were converted to be more bicycle friendly, bike traffic increased 43%, total vehicle crashes decreased, traffic efficiency was maintained, and parking revenues remained consistent.

City of Minneapolis, 2010
Hennepin and 1st avenues two-way conversion leads to fewer crashes, better access

  • When protected bike lanes are installed in New York City, injury crashes for all road users (drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists) typically drop by 40% and by more than 50% in some locations.

Wolfson, H., 2011
Memorandum on Bike Lanes, City of New York, Office of the Mayor, 21 March 2011

  • Cities with high bicycling rates tend to have lower crash rates for all road users.

Marshall, W., and N. Garrick, 2011
Evidence on why bike-friendly cities are safer for all road users, Environmental Practice, 13, 1

  • The majority of bicycle-vehicle crashes are not a result of environmental factors, eg. darkness, fog, or rain.

Schramm, A., et al., 2008
How much does disregard of road rules contribute to bicycle-vehicle collisions? in Proceedings of high rish road users- motivating behaviour change: what works and what doesn’t work? National Conference of the Australian College of Road Safety and the Tra

  • A survey of 1,600 cyclists from Texas revealed that 70% of riders felt bicycling is dangerous in terms of traffic accidents, but only 21% thought it is dangerous in the context of crime.

University of Texas at Austin News, 2008
“State Bicycle Survey Reveals Danger Concerns, Cycling Perceptions”

  • Major streets without bike facilities are where the most bike crashes happen, followed by minor streets without facilities, bike paths, and then bike lanes.

Moritz, W., 1997
Survey of North American bicycle commuters: Design and aggregate results, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1578, 91-101

  • Bicycle safety improvements attract proportionately more people to bicycling than automobile safety improvements (i.e. a 10% increase in safety results in a greater than 10% increase in the share of people bicycle commuting).

Noland, R., 1995
Perceived risk and modal choice: Risk compensation in transportation systems, Accident Analysis & Prevention, 27, 503-521

  • Between 2007 and 2008, overall bicycle use in Portland, Oregon increased 28%.

City of Portland Office of Transportation, 2008
Portland Bicycle Counts 2008

  • In Portland, OR, 2008 total traffic fatalities were the lowest in recorded history, with only 20 total fatalities, none of them cyclists. 2008 car, pedestrian, and cyclist fatalities were all at all-time lows.

Ciy of Portland, 2009
2008 Fatality Summary

  • The more cyclists there are, the safer cycling is.

Jacobsen, P., 2003
Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling, Injury Prevention, 9, 205-209

  • Even though 85% of Amsterdam residents ride a bike at least once a week, only 6 or 7 cyclists are killed in traffic accidents every year.

City of Amsterdam, 2003
in “Cycling to sustainability in Amsterdam,” Buehler, R., and J. Pucher, Sustain, 21, Fall/Winter 2010

  • Higher actual crash risk increases perceived crash risk, while higher perceived crash risk is negatively associated with actual crash rates.

Cho et al., 2009
The role of the built environment in explaining relationships between perceived and actual pedestrian and bicyclist safety, Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41, 692-702

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Filed under Bicycle Boulevards

What are Bicycle Boulevards?

And how can we bring one to Albany?

At our monthly meeting on November 17, 2011 Ken B. brought up bicycle boulevards. This got me thinking. I’ve come up with a few questions to help us understand bicycle boulevards a bit better.

What are bicycle boulevards?

“Bicycle boulevards are low-volume and low-speed streets that  have been optimized for bicycle travel through treatments such as traffic calming and traffic  reduction, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments,” according to Portland University’s Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design. 

What is the purpose of a bicycle boulevard?

“The purpose of a bicycle boulevard is to improve bicycle safety and circulation, by providing cyclists a designated travel route as an alternative to or as a companion route to using lanes on higher motor vehicle volume streets,” according to a report prepared by Alliant Engineering, Inc for the City of Minneapolis.

Who use bicycle boulevards? 

Cyclist and non motor vehicle users all over the world.

Do they work? 

Yes. Among the eight case studies included in the Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design, Portland University found that bike boulevards are, “well-loved in each community,” and that, “nearly all representatives indicated that they have plans for additional bicycle boulevards.” Further, by using bicycle boulevard planning in San Luis Obispo, planners have lowered  traffic volumes from three hundred forty five to seventy five cars in one two hour count. If the idea is to create safer routes for cyclists, bicycle boulevards work.

How can we create a bike boulevard in Albany?

Five broad elements are included in Portland University’s fundamentals for bicycle boulevard design: traffic calming, signage, traffic reduction, intersection treatment, and prioritized travel.

Albany could easily construct a bicycle boulevard using signage. Signs are easily designed, constructed, are cheap, and can be put up in a day. There are plenty of cyclists who know alternative routes to the busy arteries: Central, Washington, Western, and Madison. They are willing and able to help design and implement a bicycle boulevard here in Albany.

I would personally like to see these boulevards constructed. The main arteries are too dangerous. I have lived in Albany for nearly five years and ride nearly everyday. I have been hit by a car four times in my life. Four times. Three of which were on Central Avenue.

[image from streetblog.org]

In all, what does this mean?

  1. It means that bicycle boulevards are designed to make a community safer.
  2. It means bicycle boulevards can be constructed as easily as posting a few signs.
  3. It means by constructed bicycle boulevards, a community is showing its members that cycling is a viable source of transportation and recreation.

 Here’s a great video to explain bicycle boulevards from StreetFilms.org

More Information:

Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design. 

A ‘How To’ by UC Berkeley

Alta Planning and Design builds boulevards

Written by Daniel Patterson

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Filed under Activism, Bicycle Boulevards