Category Archives: Bike Lanes

Toward Better Connections in Troy

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.)

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Engaged!

 

 

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Presenting the BIG Plan

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, City Review, Transport Troy

Full Road Diet for Delaware Ave. – Elsmere Ave. to the Normanskill Bridge

[Ed Note – Two letters were sent to the Town of Bethlehem]

ABC Logo SMALL 2011#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.

Sincerely,

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#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.

Sincerely,

Albany Bicycle Coalition

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, Road Diet - Traffic Calming

Van Rensselaer Blvd. and Tips from the Times Union

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).

Affected area, 1.5 miles – https://www.google.com/maps/dir/42.6772786,-73.7436492/42.6983906,-73.7388047/@42.6866889,-73.7459224,15.37z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e1

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.

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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).

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Filed under Bike Lanes, City Review

Bicycle Lanes (and Traffic Calming) on Van Rensselaer Blvd./Rt. 377

Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 Bicycle Lanes – There soon will be two lanes for motor vehicles, left turn bays, and bicycle lanes on Van Rensselaer. These are a great tie-in with Northern Blvd.’s bicycle lanes.

The first photo shows the start of the new lanes (as yet uncompleted) at Northern Blvd.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut there’s more…

NYSDOT is completing this recent project in consultation with the City of Albany on project scope. It builds on the 2015 bicycle lanes/traffic calming installation on Northern Blvd. The city will expand the bicycle lane project on Northern Blvd from the I-90 bridge north toward Albany-Shaker Road later this summer. Notably the lane treatment at the southern end of Northern Blvd. is one of the best designs you will find in the region. Note the bottom photo with a nice buffer.

Those who use the BikeAlbanyMap and Parks & Trails New York Erie Canalway Trail map 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 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!

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Filed under Bicycle Boulevards, Bike Lanes, City Review

Washington Ave. – Watcha’ Gonna Do?

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The recent reduction in speed limits on Washington Ave. from Brevator to Fuller Rd. (from 40 to 30 mph) and from Fuller to Rt. 155/Karner Rd. (from 55 to 45) invites immediate reconsideration of the street for use by people on bicycles and for increased safety for all road users. Opening almost 4 miles on Washington Ave. for all users would provide a major commuter and recreational route and would connect the City of Albany to Schenectady and the suburbs with benefits to all. Specifically for people on bicycles, a traffic-calmed Washington Ave. would connect to the Six Mile Waterworks Park trail (and thence to Lincoln Ave./Rapp Rd. and then to Central Ave.) allowing riders to bypass the dangerous Wolf Rd. – Central Ave. area.

To support this approach, we need only note that, although the official speed is now lower, the configuration of the road and the clear message it sends to people in cars is – 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 mph – it’s all good. The entire Albany Police Department could not “police” speeders on Washington Ave. The simple solution is to abandon this configuration of wide lanes with negligible build up or greenery near the roadway, wide shoulders, and 4 lanes. We can send a “complete streets message” by taking advantage of these wide shoulders and extra wide motor vehicle travel lanes to provide 11-foot travel lanes and bicycle lanes on each side from Manning Blvd. to 155/Karner Rd..

A positive feature of Washington Ave. is that it lies under only one jurisdiction – the City of Albany – and is not a New York State numbered route. This means that it is unnecessary to navigate many levels of government to make these changes.

Another aspect of Washington Ave. is the “trail to nowhere” that starts on the sidewalk at the Fuller Rd. underpass/traffic circle on the south side of Washington Ave. (2.4 miles from Manning Blvd.). This multi-use path runs to an abrupt end at the Collin’s Circle entrance to the University at Albany. On its way there, the multi-use path crosses one campus access road (W. University Dr.) with no bicycle accommodations but with pedestrian crossing signals. (With Albany’s “right turn on red after pause ’rule’,” all these University at Albany entries are high-risk crossings.)

There is unencumbered real estate for continuation of this path from Collins Circle to the New York State Harriman Campus western border near the traffic lights controlling access to the office complex at 1365-1367-1375 Washington Ave. (3.8 miles from the start of the multiuse path at Fuller Rd.). Possibly, all that is needed is straightforward signaled crossover for pedestrians and for people on bicycles (to switch between the multi-use path and the bicycle lanes).

Here is a look at Washington Ave. (photos dated 4-9-17):

  1. (photo above) Super Mirage at Fuller at Wash Ave
  2. (photo above)Fuller at Wash Ave – Looking east
  3. Aspen & Quad Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  4. Collins Cir Entrance Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  5. Looking toward new Path Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  6. E Bridge over Ring Rd Wash Ave-UA
  7. Exit to Patroon Creek and Ring Rd Wash Ave-UA
  8. Bridge Over Rt 85 at Jermain St Wash Ave-UA – Looking east
  9. Exit to Rt 85 from Wash Ave-UA
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3. Aspen & Quad – Looking East

 

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5. New Path Route East?

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6. East Bridge Over NYS Campus Ring Rd.

 

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7. Exit to Patroon Creek and NYS Campus Ring Road

 

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8. Bridge Over Rt 85 at Jermain St.

 

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9. Exit to Rt 85 from Washington Ave.

 

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Filed under ABChallenge-2017, Bike Lanes