Category Archives: Bike Lanes

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

A Simple Solution to an Elegant Problem?

A frequent discussion item is the perceived risk for people on bicycles who are forced to ride though hellish intersections. These include, but certainly are not limited to: Central Ave./Wolf Rd., Western Ave./I-87/Fuller Rd., the Fuller Rd. “flyover” on Washington Ave., and Central Ave./Everett Rd.

In 2014 in a similar situation, the Village of Menands with New York State Department of Transportation oversight, installed a short stretch of bicycle lanes on Rt. 32/Broadway at the Rt. 378/I-787 entrance/exit ramps. (This was an earlier component of an overall re-do Rt. 32/Broadway in the village. Notably, much of this was reduction in motor vehicle travel lanes from four to two – as in the stretch in front of River View Center [Montgomery-Wards] leading north over the railway tracks into the village.)

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The first photo (above) looks north just past the soon-to-closed Price Chopper. The iron fence in the left of the photo is Albany Rural’s with CorrCraft and Albany Steel following and the Schuyler Motel on the right with its sign between the second and third utility poles. The second photo (below) looks south with the Price Chopper “plaza” to the right and the Rt. 378 overpass in the distance.

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At the time this was done, NYSDOT stated: “The reduction in the number of travel lanes from four to two with a two-way left-turn median in the center … reduces the frequency of rear-end accidents. We understand . . . that there are not left-turning opportunities at all locations where the median is provided, however it is important that the thru travel lanes have a consistent alignment. There may be a minor reduction in the efficiency of the operation of Route 32 but the safety benefits are significant.”

So … is it possible that low-budget projects (as the above) could provide visible bicycle facilities to guide both people in cars and on bicycles through troublesome intersections? This could be done without a complete (and expensive) re-do of the entire street with full-scale bicycle lanes. If you’ve ridden the section in Menands described above or Madison Ave./Main Ave. intersection, you might have an idea on how this might work successfully elsewhere.

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SEBL Funded! Construction of the City of Albany South End Bikeway

Alert Cyclist Mark informs us as follows:

The State’s Regional Economic Development Council Awards for 2016 includes (page 81, middle of the page, project #627184) $325,000 toward design and construction of the South End Bikeway Link. It is described as a “two-way, Separated Bike Lane, also known as a cycle track, extending along the east (ED: river/port/RR) side of South Pearl Street where sidewalks exist.” The Times Union story is here.

The full project (with editorial corrections) is as follows: The City of Albany will design and construct the South End Multi-Use Trail, located in the South Waterfront District, that will link the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail to the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail/Erie Canalway Trail, filling a gap in a more than 360-mile multi-use trail network. The proposed treatment is a two-way, Separated Bike Lane, also known as a cycle track, extending along the east side of South Pearl Street where sidewalks exist.

The funding of the South End Bikeway Link is perfectly timed with the pending completion of the Corning Riverfront Park Protected Bicycle Lanes and the other amenities as well as with completion of ABC’s BikeAlbanyMap. The three projects now provide people on bicycles with many options for safely and efficiently transporting themselves around the city and region.

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Building the ACHHRT

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, Bike Lanes, Corning Riverfront Park, Erie Canal Trail

Jewel in the Crown?

***UPDATE***

Alert cyclist Brent noted that the bicycle ramps have had a entry ramp added – see picture: bike-ski-11-28-16-crop

 

Back-story – The revitalization of the Corning Riverfront Park proceeds apace. The “finishing touches” are nearing completion. The new “green path” is open or will be soon so that people on bicycles can ride from the Slater to the Barge/DGS building without having to navigate amongst the walkers, joggers, and strollers. At Colonie/Water Sts., a second segment helps riders get clear of the Corning Riverfront Park and across the I-787 exit ramp. [Ed: Be careful here!]

Alert cyclist Brent reported that bicycle ramps are installed on the stairs leading to and from the Corning Riverfront Park over the bridge that crosses I-787 at Pine St. on Broadway. Now, instead of carrying one’s bicycle up or down the stairs, one can walk it up or down the ramp. As a cautionary note, lean your bicycle away from the hand railing to prevent interference with the pedals.

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The ramps help those whose bicycle weight or degree of fitness makes climbing/descending the stairs a chore. In addition, those who want to enter the Corning Riverfront Park WITHOUT risking the Jose Perez Memorial Plaza (at the Slater entrance) or the I-787 off ramp (at Colonie St.) or who are in midtown, can now use the pedestrian bridge (with ramps) as a good alternative. Notabley, people on bicycles can access the Corning Riverfront Park from either end by using the BikeAlbanyMap. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ramps are a good idea. Nevertheless, check the motorized “bicycle lift” in Trondheim – a good idea for the  State or Morton St. hills?

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Filed under Bike Lanes, Bike Tech, Corning Riverfront Park, protected bicycle lanes

Who Needs Traffic Calming on Madison Ave.? – Madison Ave. at Lake – 12:00 PM, Friday, Oct 21, 2016

Here’s clear evidence of why we now have Madison Avenue Traffic Calming – too bad this section won’t be done until next year.

Madison Ave. at Lake – 12:00 PM, Friday, Oct 21, 2016

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Filed under Bike Lanes, Death on the Road, Editorial