Category Archives: Bike Lanes

Northern Blvd. Bicycle Lane Network

[UPDATED 7-1-20]

There are  0.2 miles of new bicycle lanes on Northern Blvd.-Manning Blvd. running from Pennsylvania Ave./McCrossin St. to Lark Dr.  This expands the Northern Blvd. /Memorial Hospital area bicycle lane network to a total of 1.4 miles. The network connects to the Village of Menands/Department of Transportation 1.5 miles of bicycle lanes on Van Rensselaer Blvd. (See more background and photos here: Bicycle Lanes in the City of Albany.)

This brings the City of Albany total installed bicycle lanes to 4.9 milesThe final 2009 Albany Bicycle Master Plan designated 18 “major bikeways” within the City of Albany. While the plan did not specify bicycle road treatments, it suggested many – Including bicycle lanes but with long stretches of shared lanes. In several instances, the plan called for narrowing motor vehicle travel lanes to provide space for bicycle lanes. The approximate total miles of these 18 bikeways is 40.64 (using Google Maps distance function). While not a 1:1 comparison, this 4.9 miles of bicycle lanes is 12 percent of this total.

With anticipated completion of the South End Bikeway Connector (about 1.5 miles of cycle track/bicycle lane plus a side path), the total will be 6.3 miles or 16 percent of the 2009 total.

New bicycle lanes – looking southeast from Northern Blvd. toward Manning Blvd. The bridge crosses the I-90/I-787 entrance/exit ramps.

Looking SE on Northern-Manning at Rt9 Overpass 6-18-20

A view in the same direction with Northern Blvd. petrovehicle traffic entering from the left and Pennsylvania Ave. on the right (taken from McCrossin Ave.).

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Looking back up Manning Blvd. toward Northern Blvd. from Lark Drive. The Albany Fire Department Arbor Hill Station is to the right. Note buffered bicycle lane.

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There’s still a challenging “shared lane” area on the Rt. 9 overpass – high speeds, no rideable shoulders, entrance/exit ramps to/from Northern Blvd. to Rt. 9.  The proper use of a Shared Lane is to connect “real” bicycle facilities. According to National Association of City Transportation Officials (https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/bikeway-signing-marking/shared-lane-markings/ ) Shared Lane Markings (SLMs), or “sharrows,” are road markings used to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles. The shared lane marking is a pavement marking with a variety of uses to support a complete bikeway network; it is not a facility type and should not be considered a substitute for bike lanes, cycle tracks, or other separation treatments where these types of facilities are otherwise warranted or space permits.

In the instant case, the SL do connect two of bike lane segments. It’s still a squeeze unless the rider ‘takes the lane.”

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Bicycle Lanes Gone Bad

Here is what happens when people who never walk and never ride set out to design bicycle lanes.

One would think the first photo one has something to do with a pedestrian crosswalk, but no ….

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 The second photo shows (1) that the bicycle lanes are ON THE SIDEWALK, (2) that there are people walking on the sidewalk, and (3) that, later on, the city of Annapolis put its BikeShare “hub” in the sidewalk area and on its misguided bicycle lane.

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 This scene is from Annapolis MD – a flat, bike-able, and walkable city but one that is totally tuned to an “all cars-all the time” philosophy.

 

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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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Construction Begins – South End Bikeway Connector

Today, Monday 9/16/19, marks the official City of Albany date for commencing construction on the South End Bikeway Connector. A survey of the entire route revels serval “road work ahead” signs – generally, a sure indication that work is to begin. (These signs may well be from earlier projects.)

The City of Albany 9/13/19 press release with images follows:

 CITY OF ALBANY – OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

  • 24 EAGLE STREET, ALBANY, NEW YORK 12207, mayor@albanyny.gov, (518) 434-5100
  • Date: September 13, 2019
  • Contact:  Yasmine Robinson, Deputy Director, City of Albany Department of Planning & Development, yrobinson@albanyny.gov , (518) 434-2583

* * NEWS RELEASE * *

City of Albany Announces Commencement of South End Connector Bikeway Construction – Road Construction, Parking Restrictions, & CDTA Bus Stop Closures Also Announced

ALBANY, NY – Beginning on Monday, September 16, 2019 and continuing through Spring 2020, the City’s contractor will construct the South End Connector Bikeway – the highly anticipated connection between the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (map shown in Image 1).

SEBC - Map 9-13-19

The South End Connector will link these two highly utilized trails with a combination of off-road and on-road pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians. This initiative is consistent with recommendations within the Albany 2030 Plan and the City of Albany Bicycle Master Plan, and further connects the Capital Region to the Empire State Trail.

Travel Lane Adjustments – Construction beginning on Monday, September 16 will include restriping and the creation of a raised-curb median along South Pearl Street from Old South Pearl Street to Mount Hope Drive. Concrete barriers will be temporarily used to note lane shifts until construction of the Capital District Transportation Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit River Line is complete in 2020, however no lane closures are anticipated during construction.

Parking RestrictionsDuring construction, parking will be prohibited on the east side of South Pearl Street between Old South Pearl Street and the Frontage Road.

CDTA Bus Stop Closures – During construction of CDTA’s Mount Hope northbound station, all existing bus stops along Pearl Street and Mount Hope Drive will remain operational except for one stop closure in the northbound direction on Pearl Street at Ezra Prentice Homes (as shown in Image 2).

PrintAfter completion of the Mount Hope northbound station, stops on Pearl Street south of the new station will be closed, with the Mount Hope station serving all northbound routes. Closed stops will be visibly indicated with a CDTA blue bag and public notices.

 About the South End Connector BikewayWhen complete, the South End Connector will create a bikeway from South Pearl Street & Old South Pearl Street to Church Street, along the Frontage Road intersection, and then continue underneath Interstate-787 to Broadway and Quay Street as depicted in Image 1. Between Old South Pearl Street and the Frontage Road, there will be a separated on-street two-way cycle track, the first in the City of Albany, depicted in Image 3.

SEBC - Two Way Cycle Track 9-13-19

Construction of a 10-foot wide multi-use trail will run beneath the Interstate-787 corridor from the intersection of the Frontage Road and Church Street to the Broadway and Quay Street intersection. At the intersection of Church Street and Bassett Street, the Connector will be on-road until Rensselaer Street where it will then shift off-road. The northbound lane of Church Street from Rensselaer Street to Bassett Street will be removed and Church Street will become a one-way roadway in the southbound direction.

Broadway currently consists of four travel lanes; two in the eastbound direction and two in the westbound direction. One lane on Broadway will be removed to construct the multi-use path on the south side of Broadway, resulting in one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes when construction is complete. Construction will include installation of new curbing along the south side of Broadway and modifications of existing striping along Church Street and Broadway.

Funding for this project has been provided in part by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund, as well as The Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Bicycle Lanes in the City of Albany

UPDATE: 10-10-19 and 6-27-20 ~ At the time of the original post, the bike boxes were outlined and had the required bicycle-with-rider symbol but were not painted green as is the common practice. Photos taken 10-8-19 show that the boxes remain uncolored – note car encroaching on and stopped in the bike box (no people on bicycles present at the time).

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The National Association of City Transportation Officials recommends that “colored pavement should be used as a background color within the bike box to encourage compliance by motorists.” Observations are that “ … the percentage of motorists that encroached on the stop line decreased significantly with the implementation of the skeleton [uncolored] bicycle box.” See: https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/intersection-treatments/bike-boxes/

If you are unfamiliar with “bike boxes,” view “How to use a Bike Box” by Streetfilms. http://www.streetfilms.org/how-to-use-a-bike-box/ Or, read the instructions. 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.

Here are views of all three Bike Boxes at the Shaker Rd./Northern Blvd. intersection.

 

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As part of the Northern Blvd.-Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 bicycle lane network, an additional 0.3 miles of buffered lanes are now open on Shaker Rd. (It’s “Albany-Shaker Rd.” in the Town of Colonie and “Shaker Rd.” and then Loudinville Rd. in Albany.

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The 6 ft. lanes have a 3-ft painted buffer but on the driving lane side. These facilitate the ride down (or up) the hill by Memorial Hospital to and from Broadway. The lanes also should reduce petrovehicles speeds on this busy route. Eventually the lanes will continue the additional 0.5 miles to Broadway.

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Below is an inventory of installed bicycle lanes in the City of Albany. Please report any change/corrections to lorenzworden@gmail.com

Madison Ave.

  • Partridge St. – Allen St.     0.4 (2016 completion)
  • Partridge St. – Willet St.     0.9 (2018 completion)
  •            SUBTOTAL               1.6 

 

  • Clinton Ave.                       1.7 (Manning Sq. to Ten Broeck St.)
  • Ten Broeck St.                   0.2 (Clinton Ave. to Livingston Ave.)
  • Northern Blvd.                  0.9 (McCrossin Ave./Pennsylvania Ave. to Van Rensselaer.
  • Albany-Shaker Rd.           0.3 (Northern Blvd. to Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377
  •             SUBTOTAL           3.1

 TOTAL (installed)   4.7 (2019)

 Bicycle Network – The bicycle lane-to-lane connections are as follows:

  • Ten Broeck Ave. and Clinton Ave. – Total mileage of 1.7 + 0.2 = 1.9 mi.
  • Northern Blvd. and Albany-Shaker Rd. – Total mileage of 0.9 + 0.3 = 1.2 mi. (This also ties in directly to the 1.5 miles of Van Rensselaer/Rt. 377 bicycle lanes which are mostly in Menands (for a total mileage of 0.9 + 0.3 + 1.5 = 2.7 mi. See – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2017/07/08/89398/ )

The Madison Ave. bicycle lanes are isolated.

Albany Bicycle Master Plan – The City of Albany approved its Bicycle Master Plan in December 2009. It called for a 20-year completion period as follows: “This bicycle master plan identifies a bikeway network to be phased in over the next 20 years,” (SOURCE: Pg. ES3, https://albany2030.org/files/City%20of%20Albany%20Bicycle%20Master%20Plan.pdf ) In the first 10 years, the city installed 4.5 miles of bicycle lanes for an average of 0.45 per year. At this rate, the City of Albany will have 9.0 miles of bicycle lanes at the end of the 20-years.

By comparison, the City of Troy’s Uncle Sam Trail is 6.3 miles in a combination of shared lanes, cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, and off-road multiuse paths. Troy plans to close the 0.8-mile gap for the “Hudson River Promenade,” now under construction, in 2021.

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