Photos courtesy of Bert
Photos courtesy of Bert
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.”
The 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.
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/
An enthusiastic audience came to the interesting Tech Valley Center of Gravity facility to learn all about the big plans to build new bicycle routes and to connect up those that already exist.
The City of Troy, the Capital District Transportation Committee, and Parks & Trails NY held a public meeting on 11/8/17 to give an overview of the “Troy Trail Connections Plan.” Mayor Madden opened the meeting with a statement of commitment by the city to move forward as rapidly as possible to make Troy a bike-able city. The project director from CDTC wisely provided a brief overview of the nature of her organization and its mission in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties – something that is a mystery to many. We then got down to business with a presentation by the Executive Director and Project Leader from PTNY.
To comment on the plan, go to – http://troytrailconnections.weebly.com/draft-plan.html
Those who were on this Fall’s Collar City Ramble will recall the “pop up” bicycle facilities planned and installed by PTNY and the city. (We should also recall he Mayor and Mrs. Madden road the Ramble – a good example for other local officials.)
[Ed Note – Two letters were sent to the Town of Bethlehem]
#1 – 10/17/17
Mr. Robert Leslie
Director of Planning
Town of Bethlehem
Dear Mr. Leslie:
I am writing on behalf of the Albany Bicycle Coalition in support of the Full Road Diet proposal for Delaware Avenue from Elsmere Avenue to the Normanskill Bridge. The Albany Bicycle Coalition promotes cycling and cycling safety throughout the Capital Region. We have reviewed the Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Feasibility Study and several of our members were able to attend the recent presentations. We are familiar with this busy section of road as both cyclists and drivers.
The lack of bike lanes, narrow shoulders (if any) and the speed of cars make cycling on this section of Delaware Avenue especially hazardous. The four lanes of traffic make the road difficult to cross except in the two widely separated places that have crosswalks. We agree that slower speeds, two motor vehicle traffic lanes with a turning lane and bike lanes will vastly improve the safety and appeal of this area.
One especially bothersome complaint opposing the plan is that walkers and cyclists have the new and popular Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail so should not need bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Delaware Avenue. Pedestrians and cyclists are not just participating in these activities for the sake of walking or cycling. They are going somewhere. There should be a safe way to walk and cycle to the many businesses and other destinations along the Delaware Avenue corridor. People in cars are not “giving up something” for people on busses, on foot or on bicycles – these latter groups are merely demanding their fair and proper share of the road space. Improving and increasing foot and bike traffic is not only good for pedestrians and cyclists, it is good for businesses and good for building an appealing community.
It is also important to remember that for many Delaware Avenue is the only practical connection between Albany and the southwest communities of Delmar and Elsmere. The rail trail has no designated access between Elsmere and South Pearl Street in Albany. For walkers and cyclists wanting to go anywhere in between the rail trail is not a solution. Delaware Avenue is the only route for many people that commute to work by bicycle and for many people that commute by bus who must then walk from bus stops to their destinations. These people must be able to get to and from work safely.
Lastly, if the success of the Rail Trail has shown anything, it has shown how so many people in this community want to get out of their cars to walk and bicycle. While the rail trail is a safe place to walk and bicycle, it is hazardous to get to the Rail Trail if your route follows Delaware Avenue. We urge the Town Board to approve the Full Road Diet plan and to see that this plan is carried out without delay.
Thank you for your efforts and consideration.
#2 – 10/24/17
Dear Mr. Leslie,
As a member of the Albany Bicycle Coalition. I am writing to express my support of the Full Road Diet proposal for Delaware Avenue from Elsmere Avenue to the Normanskill Bridge. I have biked on Delaware Ave and am familiar with this busy section of road as both a cyclist and driver.
The lack of bike lanes, narrow shoulders (if any) and the speed of cars make cycling on this section of Delaware Avenue especially hazardous. The four lanes of traffic make the road difficult to cross except in the two widely separated places that have crosswalks. Lower speeds, two motor vehicle traffic lanes with a turning lane and bike lanes will vastly improve the safety and appeal of this area.
An invalid complaint by those opposing the plan is that walkers and cyclists have the new and popular Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail so they should not need bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Delaware Avenue. Pedestrians and cyclists are not just participating in these activities for the sake of walking or cycling. They are going somewhere. There should be a safe way to walk and cycle to the many businesses and other destinations along the Delaware Avenue corridor.
The Rail Trail has shown that many people want to get out of their cars to walk and bicycle. While the rail trail is a safe place to walk and bicycle, it is hazardous to get to the Rail Trail if your route follows Delaware Avenue. I urge the Town Board to approve the Full Road Diet plan and to see that this plan is carried out without delay.
Thank you for your time and attention.
The summer “road diet” project for Van Rensselaer Blvd. is complete. The $1 million project re-striped the former four-lane corridor between Northern Blvd. and Menand Rd. (Rt. 378) into one motor vehicle lane in each direction with a center turn lane. The shoulders are widened to include six-foot bicycle lanes on each side and seven-foot shoulders. The speed limit is now 45 mph (down from 55 mph posted).
For background and in-process photos, see – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2017/07/08/89398/ .
As noted there, those who use the BikeAlbanyMap to get around the City of Albany and Parks & Trails New York Erie Canalway Trail map to travel along the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail will note that one can ride the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail from Rotterdam Junction (with a few on-street portions in Schenectady, Cohoes, and Watervaliet), leave the MHBHT at the (hidden and bumpy) Schuyler Flats Trail near Passano Paints and the I-787 underpass at Broadway and 4th Sts. to Schuyler flats, go a short “traffic calmed” half mile south on Broadway, crawl up the hill through Albany Rural Cemetery, join the above described new bicycle lanes on Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377, enjoy the “calmed” Northern Blvd. to McCrossin and Thornton Sts. at the old Livingston Middle School, and then wind through a quiet residential neighborhood to the bicycle lanes on Clinton Ave. It’s almost a network!
Delaware Ave. Traffic Calming – In other news on 10/16/17, the Times Union recommended adoption of Bethlehem’s “Delaware Avenue diet.” See http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Editorials-Long-story-short-12278566.php . This proposal – to go from four lanes to three makes room for bicycle lanes as well as improving safety FOR ALL along the busy road with a minimal impact on automobile traffic. This project is modeled after the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming project now moving rapidly to completion.
Editorial Note – While one cannot be anything but pleased at this Van Rensselaer Blvd. project, it does exploit bicycle facilities as a way to calm motor vehicle traffic – not a bad thing, but, in this case, the end at Menand/Osborne Rd. (Rt. 378) leaves something to be desired. For people on bicycles who NEED bicycle lanes, Menand/Osborne Rd. would not be a travel choice they would make. As noted, one can use the Albany Rural Cemetery Rd. to get to Broadway and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. Further, the redesign of Van Rensselaer Blvd. still leaves it looking like a high-speed road much as I-787 looks entering/leaving Cohoes, much of Central Ave., and Washington Ave. (where the posted speed limits have been reduced on a road that looks and feels like a higher speed is appropriate).