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Madison at Allen Street:

madison_ave_road_diet_striping_1.jpg

A new bike lane:

madison_ave_road_diet_striping_2.jpg

Madison between West Lawrence and Main:

madison_ave_road_diet_striping_3.jpg

Madison at Main:

madison_ave_road_diet_striping_4.jpg

madison_ave_road_diet_striping_5.jpg

Madison east of Main:

madison_ave_road_diet_striping_6.jpg

Looking back to the west between Main and West Lawrence:

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Madison Ave Road Diet, now lined up

Madison Ave east of Main

As mentioned, the city of Albany has started re-striping Madison Ave has part of the road diet in the works for the corridor between Allen Street and, eventually, Lark Street. So we took a a few minutes Tuesday to stop by the western-most section to see how it's looking.

That's a pic above, and there are more after the jump if you're curious.

The Madison Ave Road Diet is changing the street from two travel lanes in each direction to one travel lane each way with a center turn lane and bike lanes running along both sides.

The goal behind changing the road design is to "calm" traffic -- getting cars to move slower and making the corridor more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists -- with an eye toward making the street safer. A representative of Creighton Manning, the firm that's overseeing the road diet project, said at a public meeting earlier this year they're projecting a 25 percent decrease in accidents because of the redesign.

The idea of squeezing four lanes down to two (with a turn lane) might sound like a recipe for creating jams. But at the series of public meetings leading up to the announcement of the final plan, engineers involved with the project explained that even though vehicle speeds would probably be reduced, they predict overall travel time along the corridor would be extended by less than a minute because of new traffic signal coordination. And the turn lane should also help vehicles moving in the travel lanes.

So now that the new configuration is partially in place, it'll be interesting to see how things turn out. One way to think of the Madison Ave Road Diet is as a test of concept (a test that's been years in the planning). If it achieves the goals of making the street safer and friendlier to all users -- while keeping traffic moving -- it's not hard to see the idea possibly being extended to other corridors. (In fact, consultants for Rezone Albany just recently floated the idea of a road diet for Washington Ave near the downtown UAlbany campus.)

The current re-striping project is for the section of Madison Ave from Allen Street to Partridge Street. And the Cuomo admin announced earlier this year that funding for the second part, from Patridge to Lark, is on its way.

Photos -- look up

The photos are above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Comments

Today must be painting day. They painted the new bike path around the pond near Jenning's Landing a BRIGHT GREEN today and god did it stink.

This is one of the STUPIDEST ideas the city of Albany could ever agree to!
There are hardly any bikes riding by on my stretch of Madison Ave, , BUT MANY CARS, TRUCKS & BUSES!
With all of the stores for rent, and traffic tied up how can my area thrive?
Cars will AVOID THIS AREA LIKE THE PLAGUE!
I will be hearing loud music, smelling exhaust, and hearing horns beeping more than ever.
Places to park have been taken away, and how can a driver get in & out of their car without hurting a bicycle driver?
Taxpayer money should have gone to NEW STORM SEWERS!

"traffic tied up how can my area thrive?"I have never once seen anything close to major traffic on Madison Avenue. Ever.

"Cars will AVOID THIS AREA LIKE THE PLAGUE!" Yahtzee! Though, in reality, traffic seems to be flowing much more smoothly, just more slowly, as it should.

"Places to park have been taken away" Where? A giant garage was just added a block off Madison.

"how can a driver get in & out of their car without hurting a bicycle driver?" Setting aside your contention that "There are hardly any bikes riding by on my stretch of Madison Ave", can't they assume a few seconds of responsibility and look in the mirror before opening the door?

"Taxpayer money should have gone to NEW STORM SEWERS!" So instead of getting state and grant funding for this, we should spend vastly more money to fix a problem that affects cities nationally. Because how can we fix any problem without fixing everything at once?

I'm so glad to see this new configuration in existence. The street already feels much safer than it did a couple of weeks ago.

I actually like the changes. It seems to make more sense to have turning lanes. I drive down this stretch of road every day. I haven't been negatively impacted by this at all.

Tried them out yesterday on my bike. It felt SO much safer than the rest of Madison. And guess what? Where it's 4 lanes, I had to take up a whole lane anyway because there is not enough space. This will definitely encourage others to ride bikes.

And I have not seen any additional traffic.

It's astonishing that in 2016 Albany still only has 2 bike lanes. We need lots more!

It looks great! I was in Salt Lake City this summer and their bike lanes are protected by a "curb" that separates the car lane from the bike lane - it seemed to get a lot of use.

I will reserve judgment until this is in place for a few months, especially with the upcoming onslaught of the students coming back to town. I initially thought this proposal wouldn't work, but the overall scheme in city planning throughout the world is to increase pedestrian and bicyclist space on thoroughfares. This always results in increased economic development and safety for all roadway users.

People complained (and still do) about traffic circles, but it is proven that they have significantly reduced fatal and injurious accidents at intersections. People should wait and see before jumping to conclusions.

My only suggestion at this point on this project is that there should be improved signage on Western Avenue eastbound before approaching the Western/Madison Avenue split, signifying what lanes people need to be in. I.e. "Left Lane Western Avenue, N. Allen Street only" and "Right Lane Madison Avenue/Rt 20, S. Allen Street only." I walk through this area regularly and have already seen a lot of confused drivers in the few days the new striping has been in place.

As a driver, but who doesn't feel the need to label pedestrians or bikers as entitled for requesting safer streets, I found this new set up to be a much less stressful experience. The four bikers I drove by, I could now respect their space, since they had a dedicated lane and I didn't have to squirm over whether I was giving enough clearance in the old set up. The fact that I can predict when cars may be turning (because they could pull up into their own turn lane), rather than get stuck behind them last minute, in itself was a huge improvement. We'll see how things shake out when folks return for school and work, but my rush hour experience was not the Armageddon folks had feared. In fact, I may now be stressing over the fact that this stretch requires far less of me in concentration, because I'm not looking for sudden stops to turn left or bikers to weave out around some pot hole, and some how, that doesn't seem safe.

Love what's been done so far, and I can't wait for it to continue down to Lark. (The real benefit should be seen around the New Scotland intersection.)

Maybe someone can sneak a pedestrian crossing signal at Willett / Washington Park into the budget for phase 2?

Uncle Leo - while I am totally with you on "lets wait and see", let me point out that realistically roundabouts are NOT proven to be safer. There are studies for lower traffic ones which indeed do their job - but multilanes often have increase of crashes. In many cases - increase in injury and fatal crashes... But who cares?

I drive this stretch of Madison twice a day (at least) and walk it a few times a week. I really like the new configuration so far--it's quieter and feels more like a neighborhood that you'd want to be in. It makes me realize that 4 lanes in each direction maybe weren't necessary all along!

It is good to see the generally positive comments about the first phase of Madison Avenue Road Diet project. I would have preferred one of the protected lane designs proposed, but this is much better than doing nothing.

I see the recent Everett Road repaving as an opportunity lost -- they did not even put in "Sharrow" symbols, and heading away from the city the speed limit increases (well, at least the speed of the cars increases substantially), so I do not feel safe biking it at all.

This is a great idea I think people are upset about this because they are used to having 2 lanes for cars but that intersection was always a mess on madison with 2 lanes! I'm glad because when I eventually live in albany I will be riding my bike in those bike lanes which I think more people should if they can. Everyone is used to just hopping in the car for one person taking up way too much space and resources.

It's great! We should have many more streets with dedicated bike lanes. If this is the only one coming online it won't make much difference and won't attract many more bikers. Need more bike lanes! As for doubters, bike lanes are being installed in cities around the world. They work. They reduce the number of cars and thus speed car commutes. And yes, they'll even work in Albany.

Just curious, are the people who are commenting in favor of this change Albany residents? As someone who commutes into Albany for work, I am not having the same positive reaction. It took 25 minutes for me to get from New Scotland to North Allen last night. People were visibly annoyed and were using the bike lane to move up and merge into wider gaps between cars. I hope these are just some kinks that need to be ironed out.

I'm a biker and a driver, I think there's some nice features in this for me across the board.

Another sign Albany is in decline, when you purposely "under-develop" something. At one point Albany needed 4 lanes on Madison, now that most of the tax base has fled this city like bat out of hell, 2 lanes will suffice, sad really. The next census may show Albany at under 80,000 people, and just think in 1950 Albany had double that. Albany is no longer the center of the capital region, in fact if the state work force wasn't propping it up, it would just be another Utica... pathetic. Enjoy your decline Albany residents, those who are left that is...lol

Guy, Albany is still the center of the Capital Region, its population is growing and its decline reversed long ago. This city drastically overbuilt for suburban commuters, as nearly every city in America did. It's doubtful it ever needed 4 lanes on Madison.

Sue, yes, Albany resident here. Your story is exaggerated from everything I've seen. Even if it were true, I would personally be fine with your inconvenience as it makes the street safer for people who actually live here and for those who get around in cleaner, less destructive ways.

@Sue it's high time that Albany focuses more on city taxpayers and less on people who commute in for work. Let's hope that Central Ave is next

@Capitol Region Guy

i can tell you don't live in albany. i have lived here my whole life and albany has felt more active and vibrant in the last 2 years than in the preceding 15.

It's amazing to me the mental gymnastics people will go through to cast everything that happens in Albany in a negative light. It's almost as if this people should pack up and leave if they think it sucks so much, but they'd probably bring the same sh*$ty attitude to whatever other city they move to.

I'm sure these same people are in other comments sections talking about how the city never invests in infrastructure. Look, the traffic engineers that signed off on this plan are 1000x more knowledgeable on the subject than you or I. Your small minded perspective that revolves only around you and your own use cases has nothing to do with the greater picture of usability and improving the area for residents as a whole. Stop tilting at windmills.

Sue: I do live in Albany. The delay last night was likely because the Albany Fire Department was doing a "fill the boot" donation drive for MDA on Madison between W. Lawrence and N. Allen. It definitely tied up traffic, and it seemed much worse for people driving west on Madison.

Last night's traffic aside, I've seen traffic moving smoothly through the narrowed Madison every other night. I'm still a big fan of the slimmed-down Madison!

@Sue, I believe the Albany Fire Department was collecting money for charity on that stretch, which most likely tied things up. One lane or two lanes, between educating people on the new set up and general life gunking things up, there is bound to times when things get tied up. I haven't had a chance to drive, but I certainly noticed that my trip by bus has gone quicker this week during rush hour traffic, so I'm pleased. Can't wait to bike over and test the bike lanes this weekend.

I take back my accusation that Sue exaggerated, with apologies. Though it does seem to take unusual circumstances to make such a delay happen, which is ultimately good news.

Yes, the Albany Fire Department has been all around town with their boots for charity. I’ve seen them downtown, around N. Pearl and 787 junction. This is already a hairy location during typical rush-hour traffic and their presence has heighten the tension. Once folks drive by and notice what the holdup is, you can see their nervous smiles that seem to say “I appreciate what you are doing for your community, by your community is just a job to me, and I have a long way home….scram!”

Capital Region guy - very off the mark. Albany under 80,000? We are actually growing according to Census estimates. Albany's population will probably be back over 100,000 by 2020. Less cars = more livability. Do you ever wonder why people love the European cities so much? Do you think it could in part be because there are far fewer cars in the city center? As for the fire department charity, we all love firefighters, but come on. I pay $7,300 a year in local property and school taxes. I think that should be considered my donation.

Paul: just to clarify... the firefighters were collecting for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, not themselves. But thanks for letting us know how much you pay in taxes.

Back on topic... one thing that I've noticed after a few weeks with the single-lane Madison is that buses picking up and discharging passengers tend to gum things up, especially at the intersection of Madison and N. Lake. You're allowed to pass a stopped city bus, but it can be really tough to see around them for a safe time to pass. Pretty frustrating, and I hope that will be addressed as they refine things and make improvements over time.


@Paul, spot on!!! Minor issue, the Albany FD charity was to benefit MDA (not the department itself) and all members involved volunteer their time to take part in filling the boots along major Albany corridors. Otherwise, thanks for clearing up some mis-information.

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