The “final” design of the active transportation facilities along the portion of San Pablo fronting the University Village Mixed Use project was shown to the Traffic and Safety Commission at its December meeting. To AS&R’s surprise, the proposed signalized active transportation crossing of San Pablo at Dartmouth did not include accommodation for people cycling. Here is the design presented. Note in particular that the curb opening on the west side of San Pablo is only as wide as the crosswalk, thus requiring people to enter that crosswalk to access the cycle track. However riding in a crosswalk is illegal if it is not a connection along a cycling path, which it is not in this case.
City staff explained they had presented CalTrans with a schematic design that included the cycling crossing, but CalTrans rejected that component. The issue is that the type of signal (a HAWK or hybrid pedestrian beacon) has a solid red phase through which motorists cannot proceed following by a trailing flashing red phase that requires motorists to stop, let any sidewalk users cross, and then proceed. As such, it does not protect people biking across.
To solve this, a cycling signal head facing people crossing San Pablo is needed to tell them when the facing motorists on San Pablo is solid red and so it is safe to cycle across. However, combining cycling signal heads with a HAWK signal is not provided for in engineering standards. So they can only be added under provisions for experimentation. This requires far more overhead in terms of document preparation, meeting attendance, and data collection. However subsequent to the Traffic and Safety Commission meeting, staff committed to pursue this process with CalTrans.
Here is the ultimate design AS&R has requested. If you would like more details, see AS&R’s and Bike East Bay’s letter to Albany staff.
AS&R has sent a letter to the Berkeley City Council, Transportation Commission, and Transportation Division providing input on Berkeley’s draft Bike Plan. Chief among this input is asking that the plan include connections on Berkeley’s side to all the cycling routes proposed in Albany’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP). Most of these connections were already proposed in the version of the Berkeley Bike Plan available for the October 20th Transportation Commission meeting, but a couple were missing.
Below this input, AS&R suggested the organizing vision for improving the bike boulevards of seeking to make cycling west (downhill), and north and south (cross slope) faster than motorists can travel on the adjacent arterials during peak traffic periods. This is required in order to motivate a substantial percentage of people to switch to biking for some of their trips.
In accord with this, AS&R asked that the Berkeley plan optimize the bike boulevards for cycling by replacing diagonal diverters with more friendly semi diverters or other motorist barriers, eliminating stop signs, and improving crossings of motorist arterials other than with the rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) in the current plan. Paraphasing Transportation Division staff, RRFBs are planned because they are cheap, even though they may be fatal because they do not actually give people biking the legal right of way to cross when activated.
AS&R also asked Berkeley to define a rapid cycling network in addition to the low-stress network it has defined, as was done in Albany’s ATP. It suggested that route signage should be uniform within each network rather than along each route type as this would facilitate people connecting across all route types with a specific network, which is their desire.
Finally, AS&R asked that the plan be named something other than “Bike Plan” as that is a misnomer with regard to its goal of getting more people biking.
You can read the full letter here if you like. You can download the draft plan here.
Last September, AS&R joined with numerous other organizations (the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, Bike East Bay and the Albany Berkeley Soccer Club among others) to send a letter to the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) panning various aspects of its active transportation design for the I-80/Gilman interchange reconstruction, chief among these the proposed multi-million dollar active transportation overpass. You can read the letter at bcac-twg-asr-gilman. One of the key maps from the letter is shown below.
ACTC applied for over $8 million from state active transportation program cycle 3 to partially fund construction of the proposed overpass. Fortunately this application was not funded. AS&R has no knowledge whether or not the letter played a role in this decision.
Hopefully this result will motivate ACTC to take the concerns of the community seriously, and revamp the design. AS&R recently learned of an example of a flawed active transportation overpass not five miles away that provides a further red warning light regarding the design proposed by ACTC. The Riverside crossing of I-80 in Richmond is being completely replaced as part of an interchange reconstruction project there. The eastern landing of the previous overpass was between the frontage road and the freeway, like the overpass ACTC proposes at Gilman. Unlike at Gilman though, the planners and engineers of the new Riverside overpass engaged with the community. The community’s main request was to land the eastern side of the overpass on the east side of the frontage road so people did not have to expose themselves to the hazard of motorists on the frontage road in order to access the overpass. The planners and engineers listened, and the new overpass with this configuration will be opening soon.
It is amazing to have such a clear example of the correct outcome from a better process so close by. AS&R will send a followup letter to ACTC pointing out this example, and will seek to have the same broad range of signatories.
Be seen while you pedal at night and keep your pants legs out of the chain with our new leg bands!
We just turned the clocks back, it gets dark early, and sometimes it even rains – so we all have to do more to BE SEEN BY DRIVERS! We got a new shipment in of AS&R’s great REFLECTIVE LEG & ARM BANDS, so pick up a few to make yourself and your loved ones more visible!
Thanks, Laurent at Rendez-Vous, for supporting AS&R and helping fund our newest safety project!
Thanks to Rendez-Vous Cafe Bistro, who helped with funding, we were able to produce these 12″ long, reflective leg bands, to “keep your pant legs tight and you & your family bright” and allow us to ride and walk more safely as the days get shorter, and in foggy or rainy weather.
The drivers see my arm when I signal when I’m wearing this reflective band.
A suggested donation of $3 per band will help you be more visible to drivers when you’re riding and walking!
Contact Amy Smolens to pick some up for you and your family now! They make great holiday gifts, too!
Take a ride and rendezvous at Rendez-Vous.
Our Bicycle Valet Parking was in demand all day!
Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
Can you believe that the Solano Avenue Stroll turned 42 last weekend? Albany Strollers & Rollers again managed two Bicycle Valet Parking lots for the event, in the lot below Masonic in Albany, and at the top of Solano in the Wells Fargo lot in Berkeley. Because of the expected volume, in addition to our own 18 “Moved By Bikes” Valet Racks, we borrowed some racks from the City of Albany (thanks, Liam Kelly) and rented some from neighboring
Lots of families were happy to see us so they could leave their bikes while they Strolled the Avenue!
Photo courtesy Mark Altenberg
organization Rich City Rides. We needed every one of them to accommodate the more than 300 bicycles we parked over the course of the day, despite the chilly weather!
Thank you to all our Bicycle Valet Parking volunteers, led by Mac McCurdy, Sylvia Paull and Eli Cochran, who has agreed to take the reins as director of the WF lot next year!
Ami and other youngsters brought great energy.
Photo courtesy Tenisha Neal
Marcia Crump, Bill Newcomb, Ruth Block, Barb & Mark Altenberg, Joseph Friedman, Joan Gallagher, Will Hawk, Samantha & Saraya Hampton, Sahara Borja, Lyell Nesbitt, Tony Caine, Shauniece Van Eyck, Lukas Abeck Sanetra, his friend Ami, Griffin Neal, Brian Beall, Aki Zielinski, Eileen Walsh, Joan Williams and Susan Moffat all helped check in, park and retrieve bikes. Some had helped us at previous events and some were AS&R rookies. All were fantastic and got major kudos from everyone who came by!
Many people told me specifically that if we hadn’t been there they wouldn’t have come to the Stroll at all – too far to walk, but a hassle to drive.
Amy & Michael were two of the volunteers who kept the AS&R table rolling.
Photo courtesy Tenisha
Lynn Eve Komaromi, Mike Cabanatuan, Kim Van Eyck, Sherie Reineman, Michael Primmer, Tenisha Neal, Preston Jordan, Tony Caine and I (Amy) had a great time engaging people and doing outreach on behalf of AS&R and cycling in general. We spoke to so many Stroll-goers of all ages, answered questions about all aspects of bicycles, bicycling & walking, signed up more than 20 new members, sold a bunch of “Check for Bikes” clings and bumper stickers and lots of our new reflective leg bands.
Tenisha wandered over to the Ohlone Greenway to “recruit” bicyclists, and sure enough, she brought some folks who hadn’t known but were grateful for our service. People were SO thankful that we were there – can you imagine if even half those people had come by car?
Joseph, Will and Joan had fun parking bikes at the Wells Fargo lot.
Photo courtesy Patsy Reese
Ken McCroskey, Bill, Marcia, Sherie, Lynn Eve, Mike C., Mac, Eli, Joan G and Will were stellar with setup and Ken, Eli, Griffin, Eileen, Michael P, Susan, Sahara and Mac made the wrap go smoothly.
A big shout-out to Pat, owner of local businesses Bua Luang Thai Cuisine & Tay Tah Café, for again sponsoring our BVP service and providing delicious lunches & coupons for some volunteers. Pat’s support is so important and we really appreciate the effort she puts into helping us in all our events.
Special thanks to Grizzly Peak Cyclists who lent us their two canopies via Sherie.
A final thank you goes out to the Solano Avenue Association, which makes Bicycle Valet Parking a priority for this huge regional event and puts us in a position to succeed every year. It’s an honor to be associated with one of the region’s longest-running and best street fairs!
The Pumpkin Patch lot was busy all day!
Thanks to Berkeley Lions Club for sponsoring our Bicycle Valet Parking and to Eric for helping out!
AS&R had another successful Albany Arts and Green Festival on Sunday, May 1st!
To those people who signed up for our email list at the Festival, hello and welcome! We look forward to your input on issues and at events, and to seeing you around town.
Our BVP was hopping all day and keeping the volunteers busy!
Photo courtesy Laura Emery
Bike Valet Parking
Thanks to first-time supporting organization, Berkeley Lions Club, for sponsoring our Bicycle Valet Parking & to President Dave Nicely for getting it done. We parked more than 50 bikes & scooters and talked to lots of people about what AS&R does and what they want to see in and around Albany to make it better for strolling and rolling. Mac McCurdy again ably directed the Bicycle Valet Parking from the early morning setup with Ken, as he’d been working on the organization for the past weeks … thanks to the help of Jean, Ellis, Dave E, Marc, Eric, Joseph (all day!,) Griffin, Brian, and Dale (who stayed to the bitter end to dismantle and put away all the racks.) Everyone helped where needed and had fun in the process!
This is AS&R’s 9th year at the Arts & Green Festival!
Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
Laura (who’d organized the volunteer effort and staffed the table the entire day!,) Nick, Britt, Samantha (both superstars with organization & setup,) Amy, Preston, Michael, Shauniece, Kelly & David A. staffed the AS&R table. Everyone engaged passers-by into meaningful discussions, found kids who liked to draw and encouraged them to enter our coloring contest, sold “Check for Bikes” clings & stickers, BikeLink cards and reflective leg bands (thanks Laurent from Rendez-Vous) – all while enjoying great music! New member signups bring us past the 630 mark!
We find budding artists every year in our coloring contest to win bike bells from Blue Heron!
Kids Coloring Contest
Our third annual kids’ coloring contest was a huge hit. More than 40 kids, aged 4 to 14, enjoyed drawing their visions of biking, walking, skateboarding and scootering in Albany. They took their time and seemed very focused on winning the cool bicycle bells (and one horn) donated by Blue Heron Bikes. There was so much creative art that we had a very hard time picking only 6 kids to give the bells to – we could have found even more winners! We really appreciate Rob Allen at Blue Heron’s support and donations at our events!
Our other consistent community supporting businesses are Pat Boonyalak Viboonlarp’s Bua Luang and Tay Tah, who sponsored our Bicycle Valet Parking and supplied delicious lunches for all of our volunteers! The lunches that Francesco delivered certainly helped fuel us through the rest of the event. All the volunteers also got personalized coupons for either Bua Luang or Tay Tah, a great extra thank you for your time! We truly appreciate their continued support of AS&R’s efforts to make cycling more convenient & safe here in Albany and nearby.
Danny & Sergio from Street Level Cycles tuned up everyone’s bikes in time for Bike to Work Day – thanks for your hard work, guys!
Free Bike Tune-Ups
Danny and Sergio from Street Level Cycles did their usual great job giving FREE tuneups to anyone who rolled up with a bike! The good news is that every year there are fewer and fewer tuneups needed, which means that people are riding more and keeping their bikes in working order! Thanks for your hard work and for getting more bikes functioning well and safely!!
Thanks again to all of you who volunteered, parked your bikes, stopped by, chatted, bought “Check for Bikes” clings or stickers, or picked up some great reflective leg bands!
Let’s do it again next year!
Do you and your family use these Bike Bike Racks? More are coming soon…and you can help!
Photos courtesy Amy Smolens
I know you thought that 39 was a lot of attractive & practical Bike Bike Racks here in Albany, but soon enough we’ll have 10 more!!
The businesses & business people who are partnering with AS&R and the City of Albany are as follows:
Abrams Claghorn Gallery , 2 at Albany Bowl, Fish First, another one by Little Star, Mr. Dewie’s, Royal Ground Coffee, Schmidt’s Pub, Sweat Strength & Cycling, and one shared by Stone Bridge Press (Peter Goodman) & Francesco Papalia – so there will be 49 in our little burg before you know it!
If you go to any of these businesses or ones nearby (Fonda?
Everyone loves AS&R’s Bike Bike Racks and there will be 49 of them in Albany before you know it!
Cafeína? Fisher’s jewelry?) please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help pay for these racks. Donate now, see the fruits of your generosity in the next month! Thanks to Cyndi, Syed, Britt and Bryce who have already donated to help fund this batch of racks! If you’re interested, please email Amy Smolens.
Whether you donate or not, we’ll all have lots of fantastic locations to park our bikes, right at the businesses’ front doors. A full list is included in this post. Please tell them that you appreciate the bike parking!
Albany Florist and Gifts’ owner, Zagdaa Baatar, puts the decal on her brand new Bike Bike Rack!! photo courtesy Amy Smolens
Last week AS&R and the City of Albany installed 10 more fabulous Dero Bike Bike Racks in our business district, thanks to our long running partnership with the City and local businesses. The 10 new racks are at Albany Florist and Gifts, Eisenmann Architecture, Hopsy, Kim’s Cafe &
Public Works’ Mark Matherly installs the Dero Bike Bike Rack at Little Star Solano while Francesco Papalia checks out the menu! photo courtesy Amy
Sandwiches, Boss, Cafe Eugene, Feagley Realtors, Little Star Pizza and Solano Smile – be sure to ride on by soon!!
Thanks to your neighbors, fellow AS&R volunteers Dan Lieberman for helping mark/measure/photograph the locations over the years, Ken McCroskey for designing the fantastic customized decals at Design-a-Sign and Francesco Papalia for helping finesse some of the complicated locations.
Diners at Cafe Eugene have plenty of bike parking now!
AS&R’s association with the Albany Chamber of Commerce and the Solano Avenue Association has helped us find businesses who realize that their customers, clients, patients and staff want to bike there, and that it was worthwhile for them share the cost with AS&R and the City of Albany in order to provide attractive and secure bike parking.
The City’s Aleida Andrino-Chavez has been instrumental over
Pick up your Growler of Beer on your bike!
the years in finding new bike-friendly businesses and has sent many a business owner my way A HUGE shout-out goes to Mark Matherly of Albany Public Works, who has installed all 39 of the Bike Bike Racks and whose attention to detail is greatly appreciated. Kudos also to Gale Rossi & Ray Chan of Public Works, who ensure that the racks get installed soon after they are delivered.
Without the generous annual donations of recreational cycling club Grizzly Peak Cyclists we would be hard pressed to have the funds to provide racks to every business that desires one.
Ride to eat delicious Banh Mi and Pho for dinner or lunch – photo courtesy Ken McCroskey
A special thanks also goes to Tom C. and Chris E., whose tax-deductible donations in 2015 were put immediately to use with this order. Tom and Chris, when you ride to any of these businesses and lock your bikes to these racks, you know that you were in part responsible!
If any of you want to help with the next order, which is imminent, email Amy Smolens.
Here is a full list of locations with AS&R’s “Bike Bike Racks” – more than 150 bike parking spots!
Albany Children’s Center, Albany Florist, Albany YMCA, Avenue Yarns, BevMo, Bikes on Solano, Boss Burger,
Bridgewater Condominium Visitor Parking, Bua Luang Thai Cuisine, Cafe Eugene, Daniel Winkler & Associates, Eisenmann Architecture, Feagley Realtors, *Fish First, Gathering Tribes, Hamro-Aangan, Grazzy Burgers/Albany Taproom, Hopsy, Innate Chiropractic and Wellness Studio, Jewel’s Terrace Park, Kim’s Café, Kumon Math &
Eisenmann Archictecture’s staff began using these racks the day they were installed – photo courtesy Jean Tan
Reading Center, Little Star Pizza, Prins Chiropractic, Metta Thai Massage/Be Fit Personal Training, Rising Sun Montessori Preschool, Royal Café, Solano Smile, T324, Tay Tah Café, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Zarri’s, City of Albany eastern welcome sign at Solano & Neilson .
Ride to these businesses and tell them that you appreciate their attractive & practical Bike Bike Bike Racks!!
Coming soon – racks at Fish First and Schmidt’s Pub. Any businesses that YOU know need one? Send them to me, Amy Smolens – thanks!
The original “Check for Bikes” cling, AS&R’s safety initiative.
What is it? Go to ww.checkforbikes.org to find out more!
Sending or giving holiday cards or notes to your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues?
The original “Check for Bikes” windshield/window cling reminds drivers to look for bicyclists before they open their door or make any sudden move – please pass them on to friends, family, neighbors & colleagues!
Albany Strollers & Rollers member Lynn Eve Komaromi came up with a great idea about how to spread the gift of cycling safety by including Albany Strollers & Rollers ‘Check for Bikes‘ clings in her cards – why don’t you do the same?
These are clear, repositionable, vinyl clings for drivers to put on the inside of their windshield or window – a simple and friendly reminder to watch for bicyclists on our roads while driving. AS&R members – your neighbors – conceived and designed these, and you can buy any quantity at 5 clings for $1.
A bike child seat is the perfect place to put a “Check for Bikes” bumper sticker! Pass ’em on!
We also have NEW bumper stickers, which are great to put on helmets, bike toddler seats, trailers, and yes – car bumpers!
For the cost of a few lattes or a beers you could help keep cyclists (yes, you!) safe out there on the road!
Email Amy Smolens at firstname.lastname@example.org to get them or if you have any questions.