Category Archives: Bike Lanes

Edge Lane Roads – Good or Bad?

Corrective Notice on Attribution – In preparing this article, the author failed to give proper attribution to some sources. Specifically, the website https://www.advisorybikelanes.com/  (also known as www.edgelaneroads.com ) was a source for much of the material in the article and yet was not identified except in the “resources used” listing. The full title of the website is “Edge Lane Roads, ​AKA Advisory Bike Lanes, a Website Providing Information on an Exciting New Roadway Configuration.” For an authoritative explanation and news about Edge Lane Roads, please see this website. Several images of Edge Lane Roads were also not properly acknowledged. The last “page” of the website has this caution “Except where otherwise noted, all information on this website licensed for use under CC BY-NC-SA license.” The article’s author was grateful for the helpful information provided by this Edge Lane Roads website as it provides some clear thoughts on how to proceed with this roadway/bicycle treatment. The author regrets the failure to attribute and assures readers that tackling a complex subject with potential safety impact for New York State may have resulted in excessive casualness and haste in this regard.

[Updated 8/17/22]

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Edge Lane Roads clarify positioning and priority on roads too narrow to provide a reserved travel space for people on bicycles or pedestrians. When pedestrians or bicyclists are present, motorists must yield to those in the Edge Lane before passing.

Terminology – Edge Lane Roads are known also as Advisory Bike Lanes, Dash Bike Lanes, Bicycle Advisory Shoulders, or Shoulder Lanes. As is not infrequently the case, transportation terminology can be confusing and less than informative. (Try “Sharrow” or “Slip Lane” for examples.) The Edge Lane Road is a shared street roughly (but not exactly) similar to the Dutch “bicycle priority” street. It has some similarity to the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ Bicycle Boulevard or Neighborhood Greenway. In both these cases, the road or street design is to suggest that those on bicycles or foot have priority and motor vehicles are “invited guests.”

Edge Lane Roads use a dotted white line to delimit the “bicycle-pedestrian priority” area. Motor vehicles can cross a dotted line – and thus briefly use the edge lane to allow another on-coming motor vehicle to pass. Motor vehicles cannot cross a solid line, so for example, a road shoulder or conventional bike lane is “off limits” to motor vehicles except in emergencies and for entry to parking areas or, say, driveways.

HOW IT WORKS – The basic configuration is a road that does not have room for two-way motor vehicle travel lanes and conventional bicycle lanes. Instead, dashed lines on the pavement identify the Edge Lanes. People on bicycles have priority use of this lane. People in cars have to yield to the cyclists. If a car is coming in each direction, the drivers visually (or otherwise) negotiate which car will pull into the unoccupied Edge Lane to let the other vehicle pass. The passing vehicle may also (have to) use the unoccupied Edge Lane on its side of the road.

Features – Here are the desired Edge Lane Road characteristics:

  • Open to motor vehicles, people on bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • Low speed – even as low as 20 mph (30 kph).
  • Main motor vehicle travel lane is too narrow (under 20-22 feet) to allow motor vehicles to pass by each other.
  • No centerline in the main motor vehicle travel lane.
  • Low motor vehicle traffic volume.
  • Low bicycle traffic volume.

Traffic Volume – If there are “too many” bicycles or “too many” motor vehicles on a road, it is not a good candidate for Edge Lanes. If the bicycle lane has a steady stream of cyclists, there will be no break into which a car can pull. If there a many cars coming from both directions, they will create their own “bottleneck.”

AN APPLICATION IN ALBANY – An Edge Lane Road candidate in the City of Albany would be Berkshire Blvd. that is already a favored bicycle route, connects parts of the city, and has low motor vehicle traffic volumes. Success of this application would involve treating selected residential connecting streets in a similar fashion so that the street becomes part of a bike-safe network. Wayfinding signage would also be needed.

FEDERAL RECOGNITION – Edge Lane Roads have federal recognition as shown in this edited extract from the Federal Highway Administration’s “FHWA Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks Guide – 2016:”  Edge Lane Roads provide usable shoulders for bicyclists on a roadway that is otherwise too narrow for a shoulder (thus the terminology “advisory shoulder”). Pavement marking and pavement color delineate the edge lane. Motorists may only enter the shoulder when no bicyclists are present and must overtake these users with caution due to potential oncoming traffic. Motorists must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians if present when vehicles traveling in opposite directions meet. The “Advisory Shoulder” prioritizes shared space for bicyclists and occasional pedestrian travel. Contrasting paving materials will visually differentiate the shoulder from the roadway and discourage encroachment. Motorists can travel in both directions and share a center lane, encroaching into the Edge Lane as needed to facilitate passing movements.

FHWA Diagram

Benefits – Benefits include the following:

  • Provides a delineated but nonexclusive space available for cycling.
  • May reduce some types of crashes due to reduced motor vehicle travel speeds.
  • Minimizes potential impact on visual or natural resources through efficient use of existing space.
  • Functions well within a rural and small town traffic and land use context.
  • Increases predictability and clarifies desired lateral positioning between people bicycling or walking and people driving in a narrow roadway.
  • May function as an interim measure where plans include shoulder widening in the future.
  • Supports the natural environment through reduced paved surface requirements.

ADVANTAGES – One of the advantages of an Edge Lane Road is low cost as opposed to exclusive on-road bicycle facilities. In some cases, especially where there is on-street, curbside car parking, the design may actually provide a safer environment for cyclists. Since the width of the Edge Lane can exceed that of a standard bicycle lane, riders can stay out of the door zone of the parked cars but also have more (shy) space between them and cars passing by them in the travel lane. On narrow city streets where motor vehicle speeds are low, Edge Lanes provide a “shared road” option for street designers.

DISADVANTAGES – Similar to shared lanes (where people on bicycles are merely guests in a motor vehicle travel lane), safety for people on bicycles is solely dependent on the alertness and consideration of motor vehicle operators. As is frequently the case, people in cars will pull out and around a cyclist if there is no opposing motor vehicle traffic but will try to squeeze through – rather than yield – when the lanes are too narrow. This puts the cyclist – who is now alongside the car and out of view – at great risk. Traffic planners with modest awareness of the safety needs of cyclists may be tempted to install Edge Lanes where conditions are unsuitable.

CAVEATS – As with any new traffic directional, there will be long learning curve for both people in cars and on bicycles. Signage is barely adequate. Witness “IN LANE,” “SHARE THE ROAD,” and “BICYCLE MAY USE FULL LANE” as well as crosswalk “zebra strips” which have not been universally understood or accepted even after many, many years of use. Here is one case of an Edge Lane Road installation is Edna, MN, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis (one of the US’s “bicycle capitals”): “The drivers of Edina are not happy. ‘ Ridiculous,’ ‘odd,’ ‘absurd’ and ‘confusing and dangerous’ are just a few of the descriptions irate drivers have used . . . [with] city officials about the weird bike lanes that have popped up around the city this fall.” As the FHWA states, “Unlike a conventional shoulder, an advisory shoulder is a part of the traveled way, and it is expected that vehicles will regularly encounter meeting or passing situations where driving in the advisory shoulder is necessary and safe.”

CONCLUSIONS – This analysis suggests that traffic-wary cyclists will not feel safe on Edge Lane Roads. As with the shared lanes concept, those who are comfortable riding deeply engaged with motor vehicle traffic will continue do so with our without one of these quasi bicycle facilities. Several resources rely extensively on Danish and Netherlander applications. While these are excellent case studies of where New York State and the country should be headed, these successes also reflect a deep-seated and long-standing cultural appreciation of bicycle travel in a shared road environment. In certain instances, assuming “Dutch style driving practice,” Edge Lane Roads would be a poor choice. Implementing Edge Lane Roads should be done with great caution so that early applications will be successful.

RESOURCES –

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Down in Flames – Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project

“Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.” – Martha C. Nussbaum [SOURCE: https://www.azquotes.com/author/18217-Martha_C_Nussbaum]

Election Day 2021 was a very sad day for people in cars, on foot, in wheel chairs, on public transit, and on bicycles and for business growth. “No” votes for Bethlehem’s Prop. #6 came from 4,461 (56 percent) “anti” people vs. 3.386 (43 percent) “pro” voters – a difference of 1,075 votes. (See (https://www.timesunion.com/elections/albany/.) Even without data on the non-voting, “I-can’t-be- bothered” people (there are some 35,000 people in Bethlehem), a good number were affected by “off year malaise.” This result squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to convert 1.3 miles of Delaware Ave. to a traffic-calmed, walk-able, drive-able street vs. a high-speed highway. It appears that the concepts of “Complete Streets” or “Vison Zero” or “road safety” or “livable community” present an insurmountable mental barrier for many Bethlehemers.

Prop #6 – Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project Revisited – The “pro” contingent waged a good campaign based on a factual presentation of the issues and how Traffic Calming would address them. They produced a very impressive video, had many lawn signs, and several supportive letters, commentaries, and articles in local media. See https://www.facebook.com/Bethlehem-Bicycle-Pedestrian-Committee-130190633781279/ The feasibility/design consultants produced a fact-filled, analytical report that left little doubt as to the benefits of the Traffic Calming movement. At two public meetings, all but one or two voiced unequivocal support for the project.

Why the Loss? – One local analyst noted that “off-year” elections bring out the angry voter. The results in the City of Albany mayoral race suggest this. Other opponents are simply ignorant. The “anti-Prop. #6” cabal (jokingly self-identified as the “Bethlehem Coalition for Common Sense Urges Voters to Vote No on Proposition 6”) was masterful in repeating and repeating half-truths and untruths to influence successfully many voters (a familiar stategy?). Essentially, 4,461 voters decided the issue for all of the 35,000 town residents and all those many others who use Delaware Ave. Therefore, between these “angry voters,” the voluntarily ignorant, and those who prefer not to vote at all, this opportunity for Delaware Ave. and the larger region slipped away.

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Dumb and Dumber Cont’d – The Times Union weighed in on the failed Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project in its 11/8 editorial. The Times Union has been generally supportive of the project and against the referendum. The report reminds one of the adage: “Stupidity is not inherited; it is learned and nurtured.” See – https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/ (The Bethlehem piece was not live on the website (https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/ ) at 9:15 AM, so check back later!

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Bicycles? – Some of the “anti” arguments were against bicycle lanes as either unneeded, unsafe, or unwanted. This position completely ignores the calming effect of narrowing the road using bicycle lanes as a device – even if no cyclists ever used it.  That is, the Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Project was never a “bicycle project” although people on bicycles were included along with all other road users (that mysterious “complete Streets” idea again).

From the Peanut Gallery – The following verbatim comment is from a local “next door” webpage and serves to illustrate the above points (Italics added to highlight the writer’s “thought” process.

“Prop. 6, why I am voting no! I remember when Delaware Ave. was widened in 1958 to accommodate more businesses and more traffic on the road. Supporters of Prop. 6 are afraid to call it what it is: less (sic.) lanes of traffic. A road does not eat food, so it cannot diet. Road diet is a misleading term to get more support. Less (sic.) lanes of traffic will not work. Delaware Ave. has always been a way for people to go to Albany, and come back again. There will be more traffic congestion during the rush hours. A minute or two in Delmar can mean another longer delay in Albany and beyond. There will be delays going to Albany, and delays returning to Delmar. The bike lanes will not be used most of the time. People do not ride their bikes in the cold, snow, icy winter weather, or in the rain. People do not ride bikes to shop at the supermarket, and usually they do not ride them to go to restaurants or do other shopping. It is a safety issue. The bike riders will be in danger. On one part of Delaware Ave., there are 15,000 vehicles a day. On another part of Delaware Ave., there are 18,000 vehicles a day. We do not put bike lanes on very busy roads like Central Ave., route 787, or the Thruway. Why is Delaware Ave. the only place in the town where people are insisting on dangerous bike lanes? And I have been a bicyclist for many years. I am not against bicyclists. I am afraid there could be bad accidents involving them and motorists on a very busy road. I drive on Delaware Ave. a lot. I see very few bike riders, but when I do, I fear for their lives and safety. Most days I see no bicyclists. The less (sic.) lanes of traffic plan would also mean delays for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. Delays of a few seconds or minutes could result in deaths, destruction of property, or serious crimes. Fewer lanes of traffic mean more congestion, longer travel times, danger for bicyclists, and longer response times for emergency vehicles. Town businesses were never consulted in the beginning. Nor were delivery companies, bus drivers, or a lot of commuters and town residents. And how many tens of thousands of dollars did the town pay to the consultants? I support our local businesses, who will be harmed by this proposal and oppose it. The economy is bad enough already. I am voting no on Proposition 6. It has too many flaws.”

Businesses Join Together – Coupled with the promulgation of these truths and half-truths, the “anti-Prop. #6” cabal ran a very impressive campaign to recruit businesses to support its position Quote: “The Coalition counts the following organizations in support:” Andrianos Pizza, Bliss Juice Smoothie, Bueneau’s Opticians, Capadona’s Pizza, Choices Hair Salon, Dave’s Glass, Delaware Plaza, Delmar Beverage Center, Delmar Bistro, Delmar Chiropractic, Delmar Wine and Liquor. Dunkin Donuts, Empire SiteCom, Inc./New Scotland Communications, Expanco Holding, LLC, Fortitude Lyfe Fitness, John Fritze, Jr. Jeweler, Geurtze Builders, Gustos, Handy Dandy Cleaners, Havill’s Auto Body, Kelly Kleeners, LC Smith, Los Panchos, My Place & Company, Nail City, Nationwide Insurance, O’Slattery’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Phillips Hardware, Pratt & Associates, Rain Hair Studio, Scissor Society, Shalimar Restaurant, St. Croix Tan, The Paper Mill, Tool’s Restaurant, Uncrushable Nutrition, and Upstate Wine and Liquor.

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Where are We in Albany?

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The following was one of the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s many efforts to promote the installation of bicycle lanes on Madison Ave. as part of the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming campaign. While we were successful in that effort, only about 1.6 miles of additional bicycle lanes have been installed in the City of Albany since the lanes on Madison Ave. for a grand total of 4.9. Thus, the basic message below remains as relevant as it was 7 years ago. If you believe otherwise, please comment.

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“Sharrows are shared lane advisory markings, not bike infrastructure.”[1]

“Purpose – The purpose of this memorandum is to issue an Interim Approval for the optional use of green colored pavement in marked bicycle lanes and in extensions of bicycle lanes through intersections and other traffic conflict areas.  Interim Approval allows interim use.”[2]

Where are We in Albany?

Why Settle for Less?  – The question before us all is: are we happy with the “same old-same old” or do we want to move Albany into the present?  If cyclists do not push for change in this direction, who is to do so?  Where is the “transportation equity” in that?  The cycling changes made in Albany to date are “bicycle amenities” not “bicycle infrastructure,” ‘bicycle routes,” or “bicycle boulevards.”  So far, we have installed one set of bicycle lanes just under a mile in length that begins nowhere and ends nowhere on a street that many people will not even drive on (much less cycle). [ED Refers to the Clinton Ave. 1.7 miles of bicycle lanes completed in 2008.]

Albany can make itself bicycle friendly to its residents, commuters, and tourists.  As an old, established city, everything is compact and accessible.  The terrain is bicycle friendly.  Instead of a grid of semi-highways, Albany has a network of curving streets, “T” intersections, and multiple routes to many destinations.   

Not Infrastructure – From observations and from the literature, shared lane markings are merely an advisory; they definitely are not infrastructure.  Putting in a shared lane is analogous to putting up a “yield to pedestrians” sign instead of a crosswalks, traffic lights, speed “humps,” and so on.

What Do Shared Lanes Accomplish?  – There is some modest consciousness raising for both cyclists and motorists, but that is about the contribution.  Their success is still largely dependent on the patience and courtesy of motor vehicle drivers. 

Of course, shared lanes are simpler.  Doing nothing is even more so.  Simplicity is not the goal – the goal to encourage cycling.  The goal is to get people out of cars and onto bicycles.  The goal is to spend Albany’s street “paving” dollars to benefit all the users – that is why Albany passed a complete streets ordinance on 6/3/13.

Other East-West Routes?  – As far as splitting the protected east-west bicycle route between Washington Ave. and Madison Ave., it is not clear how this would work or why one would want to do it.  Again, for the hesitant cyclists, Washington Ave. is a road to nowhere.  What to does one do at Brevator?  What does one do at the flyover?  These are not bicycle-friendly routes.  Added to this is the intrinsic high-speed nature of Washington Ave. for almost its entire length west of Robin St.

The manifold benefits of Madison Ave. as the main east-west bicycle route include the following:

  • Its locus for many destinations
  • Direct route to lower Albany and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (and later the Albany County Rail Trail)
  • Its connection to Western Ave. – which, one day, will be reconfigured with bicycle infrastructure.
  • None of these features is shared by the other candidates – Washington Ave., Central Ave., or the combined Clinton Ave. /Central Ave.

Buses And Protected Lanes – The issue of bus/protected lanes interface can be solved, just as it has been solved elsewhere.

Shared Lanes Do Not Help – Shared lance markings do little to encourage hesitant cyclists to take to the streets.  Would you put your 8-year-old child on Delaware Ave.?  We cannot base our opinions and recommendations on what makes us feel comfortable on the road or what changes would satisfy us but on what we believe will get those who are not currently riding the streets to get them out into the bicycle lanes and onto the protected lanes – and keep them there until they too can say “well, I guess I could try riding in traffic without special bicycle accommodations!”

Now, Madison Ave. –

  • If not this, What?
  • If not now, When?
  • If not us, Who?

This leaves us with the question – what to do with Madison Ave. (given that it will have the proposed 2 motor vehicle lanes, 2 parking lanes, and one central turn lane)? [ED: Between 2016 and 2018, the City of Albany chose it install 1.6 miles of un-buffeted, conventional bicycle lanes on Madison Ave. instead of the preferred protected bicycle lanes. The city chose to keep the wide motor vehicle travel lanes (vs. the 10-foot lanes recommended. The alternatives under consideration in 2013 were as listed below.]

These would be the alternative proposals for Madison Ave.:

  1. Two curbside protected bicycle lanes by either eliminating one lane of parking or by narrowing the 5 motor vehicles lanes.  The protected lanes could be 9 or 10 feet wide.  This configuration would be “bicycle/no parking/travel/turn/travel/parking/bicycle” with dimensions of either 10-0-10-10-10-7-10 feet or 9-0-11-10-11-7-9 feet. 
  2. Two 6-foot (not 5-foot) bicycle lanes and three 10-foot motor vehicle lanes (this now would be “Alternative 1, Option C-2”).[3]  The current “alternative 1, Option C calls for a “parking/bicycle/travel/turn/travel/bicycle/parking” configuration of 7.5-5-11-10-11-5-7.5 feet.  The proposed C-2 would be 7-6-10.5-10-10.5-6-7.  Narrowing the two travel lanes to 10 feet would allow for 6.5-foot bicycle lanes – almost European.

[1] Pg. 25, Momentum, Aug-Sep 2013

[2] SOURCE: Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices – http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/interim_approval/ia14/index.htm

[3] The lane widths on Western Ave. (between Pine and Allen) are 10-10.5-10-10 feet with no parking lane.  The lanes on Madison Ave. between W. Lawrence and Main Ave. are 7-10-11-11-10-7 feet.  Those on Madison Ave. east of the College of St. Rose “bump outs” are 19.5-10-10-19.5 with no marked parking lane.  (Allowing for a 7-foot parking lane, the configuration would be 7-12.5-10-10-12.5-7.)  Source for alternatives is the “Madison Ave. Road Diet Feasibility Study,” 4/16/13.

Allen/Madison/Western – Yikes!

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Lane Markings Clinton Ave. – Refreshing

Unlike longitudinal motor vehicle traffic lane makings, bicycle lanes – like cross walks and stop lines – are subject to continual scrubbing from wheels, street sweepers, and snow plows. Accordingly, the schedule used to maintain these critical pavement markings has to be adjusted for these differing wear rates, the criticality and nature of the street in question, and the severity of the weather. With the very few marked bicycle lanes in the City of Albany, it is essential that they be maintained.

Clinton Ave. in particular – because it is mostly residential and surrounded by residential streets with limited commercial activity – depends on clear bicycle lane markings to ensure (1) safety of people on bicycles and (2) guidance for people in cars that they need to calm both their speed and their driving behavior. This letter calls for refreshing the pavement makings on Clinton Ave.

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Pray for People on Bicycles

October 12, 2020

RE: Lane Markings Clinton Ave.

The Honorable Kathy M. Sheehan

Office of the Mayor

City Hall, Rm. 102

24 Eagle St.
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

This is to draw your attention to the need to refresh the bicycle lane markings on Clinton Ave.

Because of its Ten Broeck-to-Manning bicycle lanes, Clinton Ave. is a favored “up the hill” route for people on bicycles. The street also connects directly to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and, ultimately, to the Skyway. With the advent of the bicycle lane network in the Northern Blvd. area and the hoped for on-street bicycle link between it and the lanes on Clinton Ave., maintenance of the lane markings on the avenue is critical.

Park Where?

In many areas only ghost images remain. This is especially so at cross streets where traffic scrubbing is heavy. People in cars entering Clinton Ave. need the markings to alert them to the presence of bicycles and people.

Over and above all bicycle and motor vehicle issues, Clinton Ave. with its adjacent streets is essentially residential with people coming and going, children playing, and many enjoying time with neighbors and friends on stoops and sidewalks. For those who remember when Clinton Ave. was essentially a 4-lane superhighway, although unmarked as such, the installation of bicycle lanes in 2008 brought traffic calming to the street. Even so, the route still has unending through- and cross-town traffic. Equity alone suggests that the city have a thorough and regular program of refreshing pavement markings to preserve this major side benefit of bicycle lanes – reduced motor vehicle speeds.

On behalf of people on bicycles and the residents and visitors to Clinton Ave., I ask that you arrange for an inspection and timely remediation of the bicycle lanes.

Sincerely yours,

More Bike Lanes, More Smiles!

Promoting cycling in the Capital Region

ABC is a 501(c)3 corporation recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Member – League of American Bicyclists, New York Bicycling Coalition, South End Connector Task Force, Capital Region Complete Streets, Madison Avenue Traffic Calming Coalition, Capital District Transportation Committee-Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Cycle Schenectady, Transport Troy, and Livingston Ave. Bridge Coalition

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Traffic Calming on Western Ave. – Make It Happen

The following letter to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan calls for Traffic Calming on Western Ave.

The Albany Bicycle Coalition proposes the logical extension of the Madison Ave. bicycle lanes from their terminus at S. Allen and Madison Ave./Western Ave. to the city line. There they will join the Town of Guilderland’s long established bicycle lanes at the city line/University at Albany. These combined lanes would provide just over 4 miles of safe cycling for riding to work, school, errands, and health care. It would afford an option for those wishing to avoid COVID-19-risk buses or environmentally damaging petrovehicles. It would also provide safe, affordable commuting for those who do not have access to a motor vehicle.

Your support can make the happen:

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Plenty of Room from Here to the City Line – Build It!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Wide Open Western Horizon

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July 30, 2020

RE: It’s Time for Western Ave. Traffic Calming

The Honorable Kathy M. Sheehan

Office of the Mayor

City Hall, Rm. 10224 Eagle St.
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Mayor Sheehan:

As we come off the high of opening the South End Connector, it’s time to revisit an old favorite – connecting the City of Albany and Madison Ave. to Guilderland.

Over the past years, motorists, bus patrons, pedestrians, and cyclists have adapted to Albany’s highly successful Madison Ave. Traffic Calming initiative. The four-lane, crash-prone thoroughfare is now a pleasant urban street on which to drive, walk, bus, cycle, and patronize businesses. The new programmed/on-demand traffic lights and pavement markings allow Madison Ave. pedestrians to cross at every light between Allen and Willet Sts. without having to touch a button. Motorists cruise along at 20-30 mph without fear of being rear ended in the left-turn lane or experiencing unannounced, sudden lane changes. Drivers have become accustomed to cyclists and cyclists have flocked to Madison as a major uptown-downtown connector. It has been a boon to CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare users and to growth of the BikeShare program.

The Town of Guilderland and the NYSDOT recently refreshed the Western Ave. bicycle lanes running from the city line/University at Albany to Stuyvesant Plaza.

It is time to connect these Madison and Western Ave. projects into a seamless, calmed commuter and recreational route. Western Ave. from UA to Madison has two schools with posted 20 mph zones and many business and residences with exiting and entering traffic. The too-wide double lanes encourage speeding and crazy lane changes threatening everyone’s safety. This is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. This wide street section with essentially no parking has ample room for buffered bicycle lanes without impeding the smooth flow of motor vehicle traffic.

This approach will create a street design that matches the posted speed and gives all users a safe and efficient route from Guilderland to downtown Albany. It will address the inequities of those who are “car less,” those who feel unsafe on crowded buses, and those who value environmentally sound, safe solo exercise.

Mayor Sheehan, you know all of the features and benefits already and that this is an ideal street for Traffic Calming. The street’s pavement is in pretty good shape so this is an easy lift – no big bucks for utilities, curb cuts, and so on. In its 2009 Bicycle Master Plan, the City of Albany identified Western Ave. as one of its 18 “major bikeways” and will likely so re-designate it in the new Albany Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan. We seem to be on the cusp of a “bicycle boom” brought about by the COVID-19 conditions (Times Union 5/8/20; New York Times 6/13, 15, 19 and 25/20; Adventure Cyclist 8/20). “We are selling bikes faster than we can assemble them out of the boxes … I can’t tell you how crazy it is,” stated the Freeman Bridge Sports service manager in the Times Union

The City of Albany will have to do this job someday. Why not now?

I ask your support in raising this project to the “can do” level. We look forward to working with you and staff to bring it about.

Sincerely yours,

Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc.

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