Washington Ave. Flyover – A Call for Change – In fall 2012, the long awaited “Flyover” to route through motor vehicle traffic from Washington Ave. to the Washington Ave. Extension was completed. This and the accompanying series of traffic circles on Fuller Rd. were clearly designed under an “all cars-all the time” philosophy. These means that people on bicycles who want to travel on Washington Ave. and its Extension, on Fuller Rd., on the University at Albany’s “purple path,” and on the Six-Mile Trail must be in the Advanced/Experienced “Strong and Fearless” or “Enthused and confident” 1 percent category.
The following letter calls for the New York State Department of Transportation to revisit this area and to modify it to accommodate people on bicycles.
Here are some earlier rider assessments.
++++++ LETTER ++++++
Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc.
September 4, 2018
RE: Washington Ave. Flyover at Fuller Rd.
Sam Zhou, PE – Director
Region One – NYS Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12232
Dear Mr. Zhou:
This is to seek your assistance in clarifying safety concerns of the Albany Bicycle Coalition and of people on bicycles who use Washington Ave., Washington Ave. Extension, and Fuller Rd.
Because of our advocacy role in the region, we receive questions and comments about riding conditions. One common area of concern is navigation of the Fuller Rd. traffic circles, the Fuller Rd./Washington Ave. intersections, the Flyover, and bicycle travel on Washington Ave. Extension. As you are aware, fear of riding in traffic is the single, major impediment to bicycle travel. This is nowhere more apparent than in those spaces where motor vehicle movement was the paramount design feature.
In response to these concerns, we formed a study group to develop questions and recommendations about these specific roadways. We are at the point where we need advice from you or members of your staff on what are feasible treatments for this Washington Ave.-Fuller Rd. area.
I am asking that you arrange for our group to meet with you or staff for a learning session where we can articulate our concerns and our ideas. I am enclosing some specific ideas that result from our site visits and deliberations. Because several of our members work during the day, it would be helpful to have such a meeting at the end of or after the businesses day. This meeting could be augmented by site visit(s).
We look forward to hearing from you.
++++++ Attachment ++++++
ALBANY BICYCLE COALITION, INC.
ON FULLER RD./WASHINGTON AVE. FLYOVER
- Bicycles Ahead Signage – Place several signs near the merge areas on both Fuller Rd. and Washington Ave. (Share the Road, Bicycles In Lane, etc.). Of particular emphasis is the on ramp to westbound Washington Ave. Extension from southbound Fuller Rd.
- Bicycle Lane Markings – Install conventional bicycle lane pavement markings on the Washington Ave. “flyover” shoulders to designate clearly where the people on bicycles should be riding. These markings will instruct both cyclists and people in cars.
- Bicycle Lane – Install “Bicycle Lane” signs near and at both entrances to the Flyover.
- Activation Alert – Install bicycle-activated sensors to illuminate a bicycle symbol sign on the Fuller Rd. exit onto westbound Washington Ave. These will alert motorists when cyclists are present. Bicycles would activate these as they pass over the correct place on the shoulder (bicycle lane) without stopping. (A less effective alternative is MUTCD-compliant flashing LED edge-light signs with high-intensity LEDs.)
- Intersection Crossing Pavement Marking on Westbound Washington Ave. – Install crossing markings (e.g., dotted green and white) in the median to guide people on bicycles from the proposed bicycle lane on westbound Washington Ave. to the proper lane to continue west on Washington Ave. Extension. This will (1) alert people in cars to the presence of bicycles and (2) guide cyclists away from the tail of the merge lane (where they would risk conflicts with both the through motor vehicles and the merging motor vehicles).
- Shared Lanes Markings – Install Shared Lanes pavement markings on all lanes leading to and from the flyover.
- Walk Your Bicycle Assist – Install enhanced walking instructions for those people on bicycles who prefer not to navigate by bicycle the multiple traffic circles to access the Six-Mile Trail, Washington Ave., the University at Albany campus, or Fuller Rd. Ensure continued diligence to maintain and clean the sidewalks, curb cuts, and pavement markings/signage.
Cargo Bike startup Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles officially launched their website www.urbantribecargobicycles.com on 7/12/17. Urban Tribe will be building cargo bikes locally in Denton, TX to ship nationwide. The Danish-inspired family cargo bike design is one of the first of its kind to be sold in the United States.
The idea for the business came during a family trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. Commonly known as the Bicycle Capital of the World, where 50 percent of residents commute daily by bicycle on 250 miles of bicycle lanes. Aaron Powell, Urban Tribe founder observed, “Not only were there no SUVs on the road, there were large 3-wheeled cargo bikes everywhere that were transporting children to school, grocery stores, and playgrounds. I knew our family needed to get one when we came back home! We found that no one was selling a bike like this anywhere in the country, so Urban Tribe was born.”
Urban Tribe’s flagship cargo bike model “The Gatherer”, stands out from typical bike trailers and child bicycle seats with the following features:
- Cargo box is in front of the handlebars, allowing parents to talk to their children
- Can carry up to 4 children and 220 pounds
- Equipped with an electric assist motor for with hills and heavy loads.
- Shipped assembled and ready to ride.
On launching the website, Urban Tribe founder Aaron Powell commented: “Our cargo bikes are going to change how the American family travels with their kids. For those living in the city, it is a true car-killer. After months of preparation, I am thrilled to finally show off our bikes to the world!”
About Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles:
- Founded in 2017 to make cargo bicycle for urban families.
- The first batch are in production and are available for pre-order at www.urbantribecargobicycles.com .
- The bikes will be ready to ship, and be available for local pickup in Denton, TX at the end of September 2017.
Press release here: https://urbantribecargobicycles.com/pages/denton-tx-based-cargo-bike-company-opens-for-business
The Albany Bicycle Coalition provides the above information solely as a service to our members and the public.
For the past several weeks and probably for several more, there has been and will be extensive street work on Madison Ave. You’ll see a lot of traffic cones, heavy equipment, workers in hard hats, dust and dirt, pipes, re-paved strips, and so on. This is in preparation for the final phase of the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming project – Partridge St. to Lark St. This “below surface work” must be done before the repaving and re-striping of the roadway. It appears that these last phases will be done in this fall with installation of traffic control signals to follow.
Completion will mean 1-1/2 miles of sane motor vehicle traffic with left turn lanes, cross walks, and new traffic control devices and signs. It will also mean that people in cars can go no faster than the car ahead of them – hopefully, the posted 30 mph or less. No more crazy passing on the right or using the parking lane as a through lane.
The continuation of the bicycle lanes from Allen-Partridge to Lark St. will provide people on bicycles with a smooth, safe ride Pine Hills Neighborhood Association to “downtown.”
It remains for people who want better bicycle facilities in the City of Albany (this would mean YOU) to start pushing for continuing the lanes past Manning Blvd. to connect to the current bicycle lanes in Guilderland and then on to Crosse Gates. Accompanying this must be mapping of cross town and downtown routes from Lark St./Delaware Ave. For suggested routes, see the BikeAlbanyMap.
None of this will happen unless there is a big and sustained push from those who want a livable Albany.
So get cracking!
A number of transportation related projects are envisioned for the Western Ave./Washington Ave. corridors. One of these is the hotel proposal for the south side of Crossgates Mall. To ensure that people on bicycles are considered in this plan, the Albany Bicycle Coalition has taken steps to be involved in the review process. Following in is one example of these steps.
May 16, 2017
Mr. Stephen J. Feeney
Chairman – Planning Board
Town of Guilderland
Town Hall, Route 20
PO Box 12084-0339
Guilderland, NY 12084
Dear Mr. Feeney:
On April 26, 2017, representatives of the Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc. attended the Planning Board meeting regarding the Crossgates Mall Hotel – Lehner Rd. proposal. Our interest in this is predicated on our commitment to making the streets and roads in the area welcoming to people on bicycles and safer for all road users.
We were encouraged that the proposed site plan for the relocated Lehner Road included a bike path. With recent developments in the area, we believe that this project – with the proper guidance and input – can contribute to success in our goals for this notably cycling unfriendly section of Guilderland. In particular, the Westmere Corridor project, the advent of CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare this summer, completion of the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming project and its direct connection to Guilderland via Western Ave, and the growing cultural interest in reducing pollution, road deaths and environmental degradation all suggest a firm commitment by the Town of Guilderland to ensure that this new project is integrated into these other efforts. I would also note that the representative of Crossgates, Michael Shanley, approached us informally outside the meeting to express interest in our being involved in plan’s development. We hope that you will be in a position to encourage this collaboration as the project moves forward.
At the hearing, we inquired about the appropriate forum to raise our concerns and to explore plans by the developer. You suggested that the upcoming site plan review sessions were the proper setting.
Accordingly, please include the following representatives from ABC in the announcement of these sessions: [List of contacts follows]
Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc.
- IN – City bike
- IN – Step-through frame
- IN – “Twenty (i.e., mph) is plenty”
- OUT – All cars-all the time
- IN – Balance bike
- IN – Everyday rider, transit rider
- IN – “Good morning,” “good afternoon,” “good evening”
- IN – Civilized cycling
- OUT – Vehicular cyclists and John Foster’s unfounded theories.
- IN – No right on red when people walking have the “walk light” in any direction
- OUT – Rolling right on red anywhere
- IN – Fenders
- IN – People on bicycles, people walking, people in cars
- OUT – “Cyclist,” “pedestrian,” “drivers”
- IN – Panniers, baskets
- IN – Chatting, paying attention
- IN – Comfort
- IN – Upright position
- IN – Hats
- OUT – Helmets (but wear one)
- IN – Protected bike lanes
- IN – Supple, wide tires
- IN – [Bicycles] “May use full lane”
- OUT – [Bicycles] “In lane”
Mostly courtesy “Momentum,” Aug-Sep 2013