Items tagged with 'Madison Ave Road Diet'
The second phase of the Madison Ave Road Diet in Albany is set to start later this year and the city has a public meeting coming up April 6 to offer info and answer questions about the plan:
Continuing the transformation of Madison Avenue into a complete street and consistent with the theme developed publicly during Phase 1, the City of Albany is now progressing Phase 2 of the project to add bike lanes, improve transit stops, and improve pedestrian accommodations on this important City Street. During this public information meeting, project representatives will provide information about the Phase 2 scope and schedule, and address questions during a brief Q&A period. Similar to Phase 1, Phase 2 proposes to reduce the number of travel lanes in the corridor from four lanes to three, upgrade traffic signals, provide signal coordination for motorists, and provide improved accommodations for non-motorized users in the corridor.
This next phase will cover the stretch from Partridge Street to Lark Street.
The lead up to the road diet prompted a lot of discussion -- from cycling advocates, from businesses expressing concerns about parking, from people who just had a hard time believing that reducing the number of travel lanes wouldn't create traffic problems. And when that first phase -- from Allen Street to Partridge -- was reconfigured, it set off a whole new flurry of comments and criticism, with city officials calling for people to be patient and adjust.
So this meeting will be a good opportunity to take a stock of how things have turned out so far. (An informal take based on our own experiences: The reconfigured section feels safer and more humane, and the transition from the new segment to the not-yet segment is jarring.)
And as we mentioned last year, this project is a test of the road diet concept. If it works out, it's not hard to see other streets getting a similar treatment.
The public meeting is Thursday, April 6 at 6 pm at the College of Saint Rose's Touhey Forum (Lally School of Education building, 1009 Madison Ave).
Some follow-up on the roll out of the Madison Ave Road Diet in Albany...
Since the new striping has gone down on the section of Madison Ave starting at Allen Street this week, we've heard a lot of comments from people hailing the traffic calming project for slowing vehicle speeds and providing bike lanes.
We've also seen a few complaints that traffic has become very slow during the late afternoon. For example: one person said it took her 25 minutes to get from New Scotland Ave to Allen Street on Wednesday, a distance of 1.3 miles. (Though maybe there was an unusual circumstance contributing to the backup.)
So at the city of Albany's official unveiling of the project's first phase Thursday afternoon, we talked with city officials about these complaints.
They urged patience as construction continues and they work out the snags. But they also called for people to adapt.
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.
Two traffic safety/road design things of note in the city of Albany:
Washington Ave speed limit reduction
The Albany Police Department announced this week that the posted speed limit on the section of Washington Ave from Jermain Street (basically the overpass over Rt 85) to the I-90 Exit 2 ramp will be changed from 45 mph to 30 mph as of this Friday, August 19 at 9 am.
As the department said in a press release: "The Albany Police Department will also have units on patrol in this corridor for the purposes of traffic safety education and enforcement."
That section of Washington Ave is the stretch along the the Harriman State Office Campus and UAlbany's campus. And there's been a lot of development along there over the past few decades -- the Patroon Creek office park, a bunch of hotels, and now a new private dorm across the street from UAlbany with another one in the works. The dorms alone will probably prompt some increased pedestrian activity along there. Lowering the speed limit should make the situation marginally safer. But it wouldn't be surprising if the design of the road -- currently two lanes in each direction -- eventually becomes a point of discussion.
Madison Ave Road Diet striping
Also announced this week: There will be paving work on the section of Madison Ave between Allen Street and Partridge Street this Friday. And then on Monday and Tuesday the new striping for the Madison Ave Road Diet project will be going down on that stretch.
As you might remember, Madison Ave -- currently two lanes in each direction -- will be re-striped so that it's one lane in each direction with a center turn lane and a bike lane in each direction.
Earlier on AOA: Designing for safer Capital Region streets
The Cuomo admin announced a new statewide pedestrian safety campaign with $110 million for projects -- and one of the Capital Region items caught our eye:
$770,000 for a Capital District Transportation Authority project to reconfigure a one-block section of Washington Avenue in Albany between Lark Street and Dove Street to enhance safety for pedestrians, transit riders and motorists. The project will construct a travel lane exclusively for westbound left turns, consolidate six heavily used transit stops, provide a signalized, mid-block pedestrian crossing and extend curbs and revise parking to reduce speeds and traffic congestion.
CDTA has been wanting to reconfigure the bus stops there for a while (you might remember there was some outcry about how such a consolidated stop could affect the Iron Gate Cafe). It'll be interesting to see how this design shapes up. [TU+]
Info about the rest of the Capital Region projects getting money via this program is after the jump -- items include the rest of the Madison Ave Road Diet and improvements along Brandywine Ave in Schenectady.
Also: Apparently the technical term for a rumble strip is "Milled-In Audible Roadway Delineators."
The city of Albany has made a choice of which direction to go on the much-discussed Madison Avenue Road Diet, a plan to calm traffic along the busy corridor in an effort to make it safer -- and, at the same time, friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.
The long-developing project has recently been getting more attention because of a push for the inclusion protected bike lanes in the road re-design. A coalition supporting the idea has argued the lanes are both safer for cyclists and feel safer, which would lead to more people cycling.
Consultants for the project explained the reasons for the selected choice at a public meeting Wednesday evening at Saint Rose. So, without further ado, here's the selected plan.
The city of Albany has a public meeting set for March 9 at Saint Rose to discuss options for the Madison Ave Road Diet. As you know, that's the project to reduce the number of traffic lanes along the corridor and, perhaps, add some sort of bike lane.
Blurbage from the meeting flyer:
The City of Albany is progressing a Locally Administered Federal Aid project to design and construct a road diet along Madison Avenue from South Allen Street to Lark Street. The project will reduce the number of travel lanes, while improving bicycle accommodations and completing all work between the existing curbs. The purpose of the meeting is to review concepts and trade-offs for two feasible alternatives and to obtain public input on the preferred Complete Streets solution.
Update March 7: From a new press release from the city Monday: "The meeting will present the preferred Complete Streets alternative, including the selected bicycle infrastructure."
The path to this point hasn't been a straight line. After the city presented five options for the road diet last summer, it scheduled a public meeting last November to present proposed plan -- and then the meeting was cancelled.
One of the most vocal groups leading up to road diet decision was a coalition pushing for protected bike lanes along the corridor -- these would lanes that are separated in some way from car traffic, either by some sort of barrier or parked cars. The argument for these lanes is that they are not only safer for cyclists, but they also feel safer, encouraging more people to bicycle. The argument against is that they could cut into the number of parking spaces available and would be more costly to maintain.
It appeared at the time, based both on the earlier public presentation and unofficial word circulating, that the city was probably leaning toward "regular" bike lanes rather than protected bike lanes. But then the meeting was cancelled and the city said the road diet was getting further review.
So... it'll be interesting to see which options are presented at this meeting -- and the arguments made for and against those options.
The public meeting is Wednesday, March
6 9 at 6:30 pm in the Lally School building (1009 Madison Avenue) at Saint Rose.
Earlier on AOA: A new pitch for protected bike lanes in Albany
Back in November the city of Albany was set to present the much-awaited plan for the Madison Ave Road Diet. And then, just a few days before the public meeting to announce plan, the city canceled the announcement and there's been no public word since then about what's up.
There are a bunch of interesting ideas wrapped up in the road diet, among them that the city can reduce the number of travel lanes to slow speeding vehicles while at the same time maintaining overall volume and flow of the corridor. But the idea that's gotten the most attention is the possible inclusion of protected bike lanes -- both from advocates who say the lanes would be a big step forward in the city's effort to become friendlier to cyclists, and from skeptics who worry about the cost of maintaining the lanes and their effects on the number of parking spaces.
It's hard to say what exactly is holding things up. A spokesman for mayor Kathy Sheehan told us this week that the city is still gathering info from its consultants on the project and there weren't any new developments. But there's a sense among cycling advocates that the bike lanes are probably a sticking point.
So now those advocates have a new pitch that is, essentially, the city should do an experiment.
At some point in the near future the city of Albany will be releasing its plan for the Madison Ave Road Diet, an effort to reshape the traffic flow a long a large portion of the Madison Ave corridor.
Bike lanes are expected to be part of the plan, and exactly what sort of bike lane has become a hot topic -- "regular" bike lanes separated from car traffic by a stripe on the road, or "protected" bike lanes that are separated by some sort of barrier (such as parked cars or vertial pylons).
Listening between the lines this past summer when the city and its consultants presented the options for the road diet, it sounded like the city might be leaning toward regular bike lanes because of concerns about the impact on the number of parking spaces and the costs associated with clearing snow. And ahead of a meeting that had been scheduled for last week (and was then canceled) to release the plan, word was circulating that the city would be heading in that direction.
Perhaps in an attempt to make a pre-emptive case, a group called the Albany Protected Bicycle Lane Coaltion released a report today that attempts to head off some of the arguments against protected lanes.
So, let's have a quick look.
Can Madison Avenue in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood be a better version of itself, one that both moves cars along but also provides a safer, more comfortable experience for cyclists and pedestrians?
That's the question at the heart of the proposed Madison Ave Road Diet, one of the region's most interesting transportation projects -- and a high-priority focus for cycling advocates pushing for protected bike lanes. Wednesday night at the College of Saint Rose city officials and consultants unveiled the menu of proposed options for reconfiguring the thoroughfare.
"It's most important that we get it right," Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan told the crowd Wednesday in emphasizing the importance of public feedback on the project. "We're really going to have one opportunity and then this will become the model for what we do in other parts of the city."
Here's the menu of options, along with a few thoughts...
This Wednesday is a big day for one of the most interesting transportation projects in the Capital Region because the city of Albany will be publicly presenting options for the Madison Ave Road Diet. The range of options will be on display, and public comments collected, at the College of Saint Rose Wednesday at 6 pm.
The project is aiming to make the popular thoroughfare through Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood safer by reducing the number of lanes in an effort to "calm" traffic. It's a notable example of how the thinking about the way people get around is evolving from a perspective that places a high, almost sole, priority on cars, to an approach that intends to be more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.
The Madison Ave Road Diet is also potentially important because it could end up including the first protected bike lane in the city of Albany -- that is, a lane designated for bikes that's protected from car traffic by some sort of barrier. Cycling advocates have been pushing for such an amenity, and see it as a significant step towards more bikeable city.
Here are three thoughts about the push for protected bike lanes.