One of the major challenges in developing and refining the CapitalNYBikeMap (formerly the “BikeAlbanyMap”) is identifying streets, roads, trails, and intersections that are up to the map’s established standards of being safe and comfortable to ride. Since the map covers much of the Capital Region – with more to come – it is inevitable that the routes it proposes will have to contact streets that the Albany Bicycle Coalition would never recommend for a “traffic concerned” rider. This includes Central Ave., Washington Ave., Fuller Rd., and so on.
In some cases, there simply is no alternative. In these instances, the map provides instructions and cautionary icons. These may say, “Walk bicycle to traffic light can cross at the light” or “busy intersection with high traffic volume – use caution.” Alternatively, the map may suggest a more indirect route but one that avoids hectic streets or intersections.
Frequently, through many hours of evaluation and on-site assessment, we have been able to identify routes that one would never heretofore considered. This is about one such route – once hidden but when revealed shows a new and safer way to navigate the area.
Current Situation – To get from the Crossings Park in the Town of Colonie to the Six-Mile Park on Fuller Rd., the CapitalNYBikeMap has to get people on bicycles across the ever-challenging Central Ave. Briefly, the map uses Frederick Ave. It suggests using the traffic light at Frederick and Central, and then the sidewalk along Central Ave. to continue on Interstate Ave.
A Glimmer of Hope – But wait! Immediately across Central Ave. from Frederick Ave. is Dott Ave. As we can see, Frederick – with the help of the traffic light to get us across Central Ave. – leads right into Dott Ave. What not use it? A closer view shows there are not one but two “dead end” signs as you head south on Dott Ave. from Central Ave. It is a dead end. Not atypically, “dead end” means “dead end for people in cars” but how about on bicycles?
A Closer Look at Dott Ave. Connecting Railroad Ave. and Central Ave. – (See https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-73.8130095,17z) The map shows Dott Ave. in the center with the direct connections to Fredrick to the northeast and to Rail Road Ave. to the southwest.
(See CapitalNYBikeMap https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/ )
The Albany Bicycle Coalition suggests that the Town of Colonie open the dead-end Dott Ave. as a multiuse path for people riding bicycles or walking. Dott Ave. is entirely within the town so changes to it are simplified and of minimal cost.
Dott Ave. is more direct than the currently proposed route via Interstate Ave. It would not require walking bicycles along Central Ave. Dott Ave. is a dead end. Currently, a hole in the fence is big enough for a bicycle, but it is off center and southbound riders cannot see it until they are 200 feet away. First-time visitors might conclude there is a mistake on Albany Bicycle Coalition’s map and turn around. Often, there are many vehicles parked on the south of the fence so that even northbound riders could only find the hole with difficulty. The photos clearly show that this is a classic “no brainer” – a easy lift to facilitate safe travel for people on bicycles.
The Town of Colonie would have to arrange for removal of one or two motor vehicle parking spaces, add some signage, and conduct minor paving/re-paving.
As a side benefit to the residents of Dott Ave., clearly marking the passage through the fence and building appropriate structure might deter truckers from trying to open the existing gate to reach the industrial park. Plus, they’d have some nice people on bicycles waving to them!