Category Archives: safety

Safe Streets – It Can Be Done

The Setting – This is about a recent street redesign in a residential area but one with major traffic arteries – Partridge St. and Woodlawn Ave.

In the specific location there is the Woodlawn Park Basketball Court, Albany Babe Ruth, National Little league, and Woodlawn Park Playground. The court is constantly in use. In non-COVID-19 baseball season, players and families pack the streets and grounds. Temporary signage goes out on game days to slow motor vehicle through traffic. Both Woodlawn and Partridge are “cut-through” streets connecting New Scotland Ave., Lake Ave. Main Ave., Western Ave., Washington Ave., and Central Ave.

Area Overview Prior to Redesign

Neckdown Looking South East at Glenwood

Close Up View

The Project – The City of Albany installed a “neck down” or “bulbout” mid-block to facilitate safe crossing at Glenwood St. From the National Association of City Transportation Officials, “Previous Studies on Effects of Bulbouts and Street Narrowing – The purpose of a bulbout (also known as a choker, curb bulb, neckdown, nub, or gateway) is reduction of the width of vehicle travel way at an intersection or a mid-block pedestrian crossing. Bulbouts shorten the street crossing distance for pedestrians, may slow vehicle speeds, and provide pedestrians and motorists with an improved view of one another, thereby reducing the risk of a motor vehicle–pedestrian collision.” [SOURCE: https://nacto.org/docs/usdg/effects_traffic_calming_on_ped_motorist_behavior_huang.pdf ]

Neckdown Looking North West at Glenwood from Partridge

Not only do the bulbouts narrow the pedestrian travel distance but also they provide a visible warning of their presence. Notably, the motor vehicle lane width is now 11 ft. From observation, this is more than adequate for cars passing through and would not hinder first-responder vehicles. This is a heavily traveled street. While the feature is new to people in cars, they definably are responsive to the new stop signs and narrowed road. As regular travelers become accustomed to the neckdown, speed and “pause-and-go” will increase. (Previously, there were no stop signs on Woodlawn at Glenwood.)

Plenty of Room – Brake Lights “On”

See more at http://www.streetfilms.org/mba-traffic-calming/#:~:text=The%20most%20effective%20traffic%20calming%20measures%20are%20those,sending%20the%20signal%20for%20drivers%20to%20slow%20down.

Why Not Elsewhere? – By comparison, Central Ave.’s curb-to-curb distance runs around 67 ft. With 2 7-ft. parking lanes, the motor vehicle travel lanes occupy 53 ft. or 12-13 ft. per lane. Wide enough? Can there be any question why this design determines the speed for people in cars vs. the posted (and theoretical) 30 MPH limit? One might guess that within a block on either side of the commercial district of Central Ave. from, say, King St. to Washington Ave. there are thousands of residents, many of whom will need to cross Central Ave. There are plenty of other opportunities within the city to “neck down” pedestrian crossings. It can be done!

Cruising Through

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Filed under City Review, Road Diet - Traffic Calming, safety

On the Trail – Ride Right ~ Pass Left

The clear trail message is “Ride and Walk Right – Pass Left.” This conflicts with conventional on- the road guidance with is, for pedestrians, “walk on the left side facing traffic” and, for people on bicycles, “ride on the right with traffic” where in both cases “traffic” means “motor vehicle traffic.” We frequently see both people walking and on bicycles flaunting this common sense rule at their own peril. While walking (jogging, running) facing traffic is wise in that one can “stop on a dime” and jump out of the way, riding facing traffic confuses people in cars and provides no means to “jump” out of the way. It is also illegal. This wrong-way-riding puts other people on bicycles at risk. It also risks making a collision a head-on one rather than a “rear-ender” or sideswipe.

With the apparent universal move to allow e-vehicles to ride in bicycle lanes and on multiuse paths, the need for a firm trail protocol is even more essential. In all cases, the faster traveler (joggers vs. walkers, inline skaters vs. joggers, bicycles vs. joggers, etc.) must yield to the slower.

Regrettably, if New York State Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, Empire State Trail, Parks and Trails New York, and New York State Parks and Recreation have any guidance on trail etiquette, it is well hidden. Accordingly, we have to rely on secondary sources for guidance.

Some of these are as follows:

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Filed under Capital Trails-New York, Comings and Goings, safety

The Leaves are Falling (and a Little Snow Too)

There are plenty of opportunities for some nice riding in fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to keep in mind during these seasons:

  1. Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.IMGP5517
  2. Consider adding a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
  3. Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
  4. Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
  5. Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
  6. Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
  7. Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  8. Maybe shop for and use a helmet mounted rear-facing light.
  9. You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.Rain2
  10. As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a cheepy reflective vest from your local big box home center.
  11. Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
  12. Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes and craters in the paved surface.
  13. Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  14. Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
  15. You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them). You may consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
  16. Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  17. Plan your braking to avoid a spill.5189348630_6432fb1cce_z
  18. Sunglasses are also important this time of year. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance that you will finish or start a ride in low-light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  19. Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  20. Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

    Other winter riding tips –

To plan for low stress, safe cycling, plan you route with the free, interactive Albany Bicycle Coalition BikeAlbanyMaphttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find more bicycle-related events, go to –  https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/events/

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Filed under Bike Tech, safety, Winter Cycling

Pay Attention!

Car #1 stops for pedestrian in crosswalk. Car #2Dreaming? Texting? Yaking? Eating?

Result?

Pay Attention EB 10-13-19

The backstory is the person slumped in the seat of Car #1 was a passenger on the way to the ER for a post op situation. The driver of Car #1 – even with an ailing passenger – has enough responsibility to stop for people walking. The driver of Car #2?

You’ll witness this identical behavior if you do some test walks on the “circles of death” on Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd. Try it …

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[Photo and story courtesy of Alert Cyclist Ed.]

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Filed under Comings and Goings, safety

Bicycle Warning Signs at Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd.

Bicycle Warning Signs – NYS Department of Transportation at Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd. ~ Photos 6/21/19 vs. Google Street View, Various Dates. 

Sign Present – Checked with Google Maps Street View July 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTH BOUND on Fuller Rd South of Wash Ave Rd 6-21-19 (1) – Wide View OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTH BOUND on Fuller Rd South of Wash Ave Rd 6-21-19 (2) – Close up OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sign Present – Checked with Google Maps Street View August 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (1) – Going under I-90
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (2) – Going under I-90
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (3) – Going under I-90

Sign Absent – Checked with Google Maps Street View September 2016

  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (1)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (2)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (3)

Sign Absent – Checked with Google Maps Street View August 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (1)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (2)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (3)

 

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Filed under Activisim, NYS DOT, safety, Washington Ave.