Items tagged with 'cycling'
CDTA announced Monday that is now has a name and sponsor for its upcoming bike share program: CDPHP Cycle! (with the exclamation mark). The system is set to launch this summer.
Planning for this two-year bike share pilot has been in the works since last year, and there are now a few more details about how it's taking shape...
The annual Saratoga Fat Bike Rally is this Saturday, February 11 in Saratoga Spa State Park. The schedule includes races, group rides, and other activities.
Fat bikes are kind of like mountain bikes with oversized, squishy tires that all for riding in snow and mud. Rally blurbage:
The Saratoga Fat Bike Rally sprang out the minds of three individuals one night in February, 2014 while riding around the Saratoga State Park. Three hours and maybe a couple of Craft Brews later, we had a mission. Jim Adams, Shawne Camp, and Tony Ferradino set out to tell the world about Fat Bikes and to share our passion with other Fat Bikers. Our original ideas were very grand and involved complicated event planning and strategic alliances with every bike manufacturer known. In the end we decided we just wanted to ride our Fat Bikes with other enthusiasts.
The events start at 8:30 am at the warming hut in the park ("Look for our tent village.").
Also going on that day is the annual pond hockey tournament. Registration for that is already closed, but it might be fun to head over to watch for a few minutes.
photo via Saratoga Fat Bike Rally Facebook
CDTA opened its new Navigator fare card to the general public Thursday. The new system includes a bunch of potential benefits for riders as well as the transit org -- and it opens some interesting possibilities for transportation in the Capital Region that extend beyond the bus (hello, taxis).
"It makes everything quicker, everything more convenient," CDTA CEO Carm Basile said Thursday. "But most importantly, the customer manages their own account. They do what they want to do when they want to do it and how they want do it."
Here's a quick overview, along with a few bits about the upcoming bike share and a common taxi system for the Capital Region.
One of the many proposals to floated during Andrew Cuomo's ongoing State of the State tour this week is a plan to build the Empire State Trail -- a 750-mile multi-use path that would stretch from NYC to the Adirondacks and from Albany to Buffalo.
The Cuomo admin says it'd be the longest state multi-use path in the country.
CDTA is planning to start its new bike share pilot next summer, the transit org said Wednesday.
It was one of the details the accompanied the announcement that CDTA has selected the company Social Bicycles as the operator of the two-year pilot program. The company runs bike shares in a bunch of cities around the country.
Bike share press release blurbage:
That interactive map of bike-friendly routes through the city of Albany that the Albany Bicycle Coaltion has been working on is now online -- go have a look. The map/app will be formally introduced at an event at the Downtube Friday.
Objective: an online, interactive Albany bike map with bicycle-friendly routes.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort. We especially want to encourage novice riders, visitors, and new residents, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany on mainly bike-friendly streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and bike-pedestrian paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding. Traffic advisories, where needed, are indicated by "caution" triangles.
The map includes preferred routes, bike shop locations, and there's even functions for mapping out a bike-friendly route between two places and measuring distances. It's also set up to work on mobile devices.
ABC has been working on this project with Parks & Trails New York and Mohawk Valley GIS, it was funded in party through state grant money (coordinated by local state Assembly member Pat Fahy) and local donations.
New-to-us pedestrian and bike infrastructure, a continuing (?) series: Jodi pointed out to us on Twitter this week that there are now bike ramps along the stairs leading to the pedestrian bridge that connects Corning Riverfront Park/Jennings Landing and downtown Albany. That's her pic above.
We hadn't seen ramps like this before. And while it might not be a big thing, it is another way of 1) making things a little easier for cyclists and 2) communicating that, yes, there's a place for bikes here.
Which reminds us... we have to get over Corning Riverfront Park and check out how the pedestrian and bike upgrades project is coming along. We've spotted the (very, very) green bike lane in a few spots lately.
The Albany Bicycle Coalition's effort to create an interactive map of bike-friendly routes through the city of Albany is almost to the finish line. ABC has posted a preview of the map, and it's working on the interactive version.
The org says it's still looking to raise $1,500 to complete the project. Details on how to contribute are at that link above. A fully-functional test version is expected to be ready this month.
About the project:
Objective: an online, interactive Albany bike map with bicycle-friendly routes.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort . We especially want to encourage novice riders, visitors, and new residents, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany on mainly bike-friendly streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and bike-pedestrian paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding. Traffic advisories, where needed, are indicated by "caution" triangles.
We have made many revisions the past few months, based on your input. We incorporated valuable advice from many people, and have made significant changes to many of the routes.
(As mentioned this past spring.)
The city of Schenectady's ongoing work toward a master plan for bike infrastructure includes a demonstration project that starts today (Wednesday) and runs through the weekend on Craig Street in Hamilton Hill that's focused on bike lanes, shared lanes, and street calming. Blurbage:
As part of the Schenectady Bike Infrastructure Master Plan, riders and residents are invited to participate in this community demonstration project showcasing street-level bicycle improvements designed to increase safety and connectivity. The temporary installation through funding from CDTC, is designed to explore bicycle-related Complete Streets options for improving Craig Street as a City, Neighborhood and Schools connection.
The demo includes a bike fest Wednesday afternoon from 2-6 pm with bike-themed activities and prizes. And the Electric City Bike Rescue will be there helping with repairs and maintenance.
This is the second demostration project as part of the bike master plan process. Earlier this year there was a demo of a contra-flow bike lane on Washington Ave.
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 tour offers four different routes in lengths of 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. The routes will be supported with rest stops and aid stations All routes start and end at Druthers on Broadway in north Albany, and there's a free after-party there as well.
Early registration fees start at $25 for the 10-mile ride and increase from there. (They jump to $100 and up after September 2.) Of course, this is a fundraiser, riders are encouraged to raise money from supporters for the entry fee (and more).
Habitat says last year's event raised $11,000 for the org.
This plan is being developed to address the needs of all user types ranging from novice neighborhood and trail bicyclists to expert road bicyclists. Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out this questionnaire. Your response will help to build a better understanding of area needs and priorities. Even if you do not bicycle regularly, your feedback will be helpful.
The survey is pretty much what you'd expect: questions about why people bike, what would encourage them to bike more often, and priorities for making bike infrastructure upgrades.
The city is working with the Capital District Transportation Committee and Alta Planning + Design on the bike plan. (Alta is a go-to consultancy for bike projects -- it's also working with the city of Albany on the waterfront bike trail connector.)
Bikeatoga is sponsoring a "Traffic Skills 101" course for cyclists this summer at the Saratoga Springs Regional YMCA. Class blurbage
Traffic Skills 101 is designed to develop individual's knowledge and expertise in the craft and science of bicycling-- the ability to use a bicycle with confidence and competence for pleasure, utility and sport under various highway, climate, terrain, and traffic conditions. This course combines classroom discussion and parking lot activities with on-road practice of the principles of vehicular bicycling. The instructor for this course is certified by the League of American Bicyclists and has years of experience and training.
The class is July 20, July 27, and August 10 from 6-9 pm. It's $25 per person, and each person needs a bike, helmet, and lock. Pre-registration is required: Claire Nolan at 518-209-6477 or email@example.com.
Also this summer, there will be a class for people would like become instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists. It's at UAlbany this August 19-21. It's $300.
The Carey Institute in Rensselaerville has an event coming up the weekend of September 16-18 that could be fun if you're into cycling (and beer). Blurbage for Rensselaerville Ride: From Hill to Hollow (link added):
It's a family friendly weekend with challenging routes for all ages and abilities, with rides ranging from a 3.3-mile time trial to a 64-mile ride through the Helderberg Hilltowns. Fall foliage will be at its peak so it's sure to be a beautiful weekend. Come early for the Pond Hill Challenge and stay late for live music, good food and craft beer. The Carey Institute has a brewery on its estate and plenty of New York State craft beer.
There's a schedule of events at that link. Entry fees for the rides range from free up to $80 -- the fees will increase at the start of September. (We also hear there are some early bird deals on lodging and meal packages if you're looking to stay there for the weekend.)
Rensselaerville is a beautiful spot in southwestern Albany County. While you're in that area, it's also worth stop at the Huyck Preserve, which has a series of hiking trails and some good waterfalls.
The city of Albany's ongoing process to plan for a more walkable and bike-friendly future took another step forward this week with the public presentation of a draft of the city's "complete streets" manual.
And if that sounds a little wonky... well, it is. But think of it this way: The manual is like a cookbook for city streets, with recipes (so to speak) about how to incorporate elements such as bike lanes. And it's online for public review -- the city will be accepting comments July 27.
Here's a little bit more about the idea, and a few things that caught our eye while looking over the manual...
Windham Mountain Resort's Bike Park recently opened for the season. We get the impression is works kind of skiing -- there are trails, equipment rentals, even a lift. And there's a beginner's area, too. Blurbage:
A Skills Park (designation: Green Circle [Beginner]) where new mountain bikers will be born. This is a beginner area to learn the basics - braking, weight distribution, how to stand on pedals, controlling the bike over obstacles, including rollers, roots, and berms. This area will be simple with small features, including eight berms, a mini rock garden, mini drops and skinnies that will allow riders to really experience their bike for the first time in a controlled MTB setting. First-timers welcome!
The park is open weekends until July 1, and then it's open Monday-Sunday through September 5, before switching back to weekends through October 10.
Regular lift tickets are $36 for adults. And bike rentals are $75. Protective gear is also available for rental (helmets are required).
Mountain Bike Festival at Grafton Lakes State Park
Speaking of mountain biking... The Saratoga Mountain Bike Association is hosting a mountain bike festival at Grafton Lakes State Park this Saturday, June 11 from 9 am-4 pm. The lineup includes bike demos, trail rides, kids activities, and vendors.
Individual registration is $10 / family registration is $20. Festival proceeds will go to support mountain biking trails around the Capital District.
A paved section of the Albany County's Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail recently (officially) opened from Slingerlands to Albany's South End neighborhood. That end point on South Pearl is just about two miles from where the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail picks up along the Albany riverfront.
And that proximity, of course, prompts the idea: Hey, maybe these should be connected in some meaningful way, right?
The question of how that make connection happen is at the center of the Albany Waterfront Connector project. And Thursday night there was a public meeting laying out some of the possible options.
Here's a quick look.
The project aiming to connect the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail in Albany's South End has a public meeting lined up for June 2. The purpose of the event will be to gather comments from the community about the creation of the trail connector.
There's been a lot of work going on recently with both of these bike/hike trails. The paved segment of Albany County's Helderberg Hudson trail between Delmar and the South End will officially open this month (it's been unofficially open for a while). And the city of Albany has a $5 million project under construction to upgrade pedestrian and bike amenities along the Mohawk-Hudson trail along the Hudson riverfront.
So this connector project is about figuring out the best to link these two trails. As Kate Lawrence, a senior planner and sustainability coordinator for the city of Albany, told us recently: "With [the waterfront connector] study what will be important is to get feedback from people in what they want to prioritize for that multi-use path because there will be a few options available." Among those options will be deciding the route of the connecting path, whether it bypasses or goes through the neighborhood, and how it negotiates I-787.
The public workshop is Thursday, June 2 from 5-7 pm at the Howe Branch of the Albany Public Library (105 Schuyler Street). There will be a project open house from 5-5:30 pm, a presentation from 5:30-6:30 pm, and the open house will continue from 6-7 pm.
We were walking by the Albany Public Library's Bach Branch and had a chance to check out one of the library system's new bike repair stations, which were unveiled last week. Blurbage:
The stations, manufactured by DERO, contain all the tools riders need to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, including changing a flat tire, adjusting brakes, and fine tuning gears. Each station includes the following tools: Philips and flat head screwdrivers, various Allen wrenches, a headset wrench, a pedal wrench, several sizes of box wrenches, tire levers, and an air pump. The tools and air pump are securely attached to the stands using stainless steel cables, but are still easy to access for those using the stations. The stands have hanger arms that allow users to spin the pedals and wheels while making adjustments.
There are a few pics after the jump.
The free-to-use stations are at three branches: Bach at 455 New Scotland Ave, the Delaware branch at 331 Delaware Ave, and the Arbor Hill/West Hill branch at 148 Henry Johnson Blvd.
Funding for the stations came from the Capital District Transportation Committee's Capital Coexist program.
Check it out: The Albany Bicycle Coalition is putting together of map of bike-friendly streets in the city of Albany. And it's looking for help. Blurbage:
Objective: an online map of bicycle-friendly streets in the City of Albany.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort. We hope to encourage novice and first-time riders, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany yet avoid most busy streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and multi-use paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding.
This is a work in progress, and we value your input!
We encourage you to download and print any of the DRAFT files below, and ride as many routes as you want. Your feedback will ensure that the final map is a valuable tool for the Capital Region cycling community. Please email us:
Comments & suggestions about maps - firstname.lastname@example.org
General questions & comments about this project - email@example.com
The org is also breaking individual maps out in to their own maps. (The maps are at that link above.) Example: Center Square to the Hannaford on Central Ave.
ABC says it's working with Parks and Trails New York to develop an online interactive version of the map.
The annual Bike to Work Day is May 20 -- which means you still have some time to organize your team for the Capital Region Bike to Work Challenge.
What is this challenge? Blurbage:
Trophies will be awarded in each county for the following categories. Winners will "own" the trophies until Bike to Work Day 2017.
+ Organization with the largest number of riders
+ Small organization with the highest percent participation (20 or fewer employees)
+ Organization over 20 employees with the highest percent participation
+ Person who rode the farthest.
The challenge is organized by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC), Capital Moves, and Bikeatoga. There's sign-up info at that link above.
Competition aside, this sort of event can be a good prompt to try cycling to work. For some people it's just not going to work because of distance or whatever. That said, we suspect it's a bit like riding the bus: If you don't do it often, it might seem impractical or a big hassle. But you might be surprised by how well it works out. You just have to give it a fair shot.
How many people bike to work?
Bike commuting in the Capital Region core ranges from .4 percent of adult commuters in Albany County to .1 percent in the other counties, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates (2010-2014). That adds up to... not a lot of people -- something just under 1,000 people.
The percentages are bit higher for some of the places within the Capital Region, such as the cities of Albany and Saratoga Springs.
Here's a national list of the cities (population 100k+) with the highest percentage of bike commuters -- it includes cold-weather spots such as Cambridge (Massachusetts), Madison (Wisconsin), Ann Arbor, and Minneapolis. All of those places have rates about 4 percent. (It'd be interesting to learn more about the bike infrastructure in those places.)
Check it out: The Downtube storefront on Madison Ave in Albany is set to reopen this week.
The bike shop's building was damaged in a second-floor fire a year ago, and its first-floor retail space suffered extensive smoke and water damage. It's now been restored and renovated. There are a few pics after the jump.
The Downtube's Adam Hahn said they had been doing bike repairs out of the shop's garage last spring and summer and into the early winter. The shop has been closed the last few months for the renovations.
"We're here and ready to sell bikes, fix bikes," Hahn said to us this week during our quick peek at the space.
Hahn says The Downtube is aiming to be open this Thursday and Friday, and definitely this Saturday. (The shop had a soft open day this past weekend, too.) Hours going forward: Tuesday-Friday 11 am-6 pm, Saturdays 10 am-5 pm.
The Downtube has been operating since 1972, and at this location since 1980.
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.