Upcoming Events

Mar
24
Sun
10:00 am FREE Family Cycling Workshop – B... @ Cornell Elementary School
FREE Family Cycling Workshop – B... @ Cornell Elementary School
Mar 24 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
FREE Family Cycling Workshop - Bring your kids...Volunteers needed! @ Cornell Elementary School | Albany | California | United States
Join Bike East Bay’s certified instructors and AS&R friends & neighbors for a day of fun games, safety drills, skills building, and a neighborhood ride. This workshop is for kids who are able to ride[...]
Mar
28
Thu
7:00 pm Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Mar 28 @ 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
The monthly Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting, the Fourth Thursday of every month, is a great place to make your ideas known, find out about the transportation issues and projects in Albany, and help improve[...]
Mar
30
Sat
12:00 pm As-Is Bike Blowout at Street Lev... @ Street Level Cycles/Waterside Workshops
As-Is Bike Blowout at Street Lev... @ Street Level Cycles/Waterside Workshops
Mar 30 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
As-Is Bike Blowout at Street Level Cycles! @ Street Level Cycles/Waterside Workshops
Due to an overstock of bikes, we are having an As-Is Bike Blowout Sale! We have hundreds of as-is bikes, frames, parts, and accessories that all must go! Complete bikes as low as $10! Unique[...]
Apr
6
Sat
1:00 pm Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Work... @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Work... @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Apr 6 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Workshop @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley | Berkeley | California | United States
Want to ride more but don’t feel confident enough? Know anyone else who fits this description (partner, spouse, parent, teenage or older child?) Here’s a FREE bicycle skills class, courtesy of Bike East Bay (with support from[...]
Apr
25
Thu
5:00 pm AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
Apr 25 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting - eat, drink & problem-solve!! @ Everest Kitchen | Albany | California | United States
Come and talk about walking and cycling in Albany, while eating delicious Nepali & Indian food! All are invited. Got a gripe, question or idea that would make cycling or walking better? Hungry or thirsty?[...]

Discounts

Become an AS&R member and get discounts at local bike shops and businesses.

Berkeley Bikes and Skateboards: 15% off labor, parts and accessories.

Bikes on Solano: 10% off labor, parts and accessories.

Marie Bowser Acupuncture: 25% on all visits.

Blue Heron Bikes: 10% off parts and accessories.

Offers are valid to members of Albany Strollers & Rollers and their households. Tell your friends!
Contact us with questions.

Solano Complete Streets better alternative

AS&R has expressed disappointment in the Solano Complete Streets Draft Plan that was released in February 2019. The plan offered no improvements for people riding bikes on Solano Ave. We heard from many people that bikes don’t really belong on Solano Ave., there are good alternative east-west bike routes nearby, and if we want to shop on Solano by bike we should just arrive from a side street and park at the corner. This is antithetical to the concept of Complete Streets.

The Traffic & Safety Commission took a big step to improve the plan at its meeting on February 28th. The Commission viewed a new alternative design that would welcome bike riding on Solano, offer more sidewalk space for people walking, and maintain roughly the car parking capacity that the street has today.

The new design provides a safe, protected bike lane for people riding uphill, avoiding conflicts with drivers using the diagonal parking. In the downhill direction, bike riders would share the lane with car traffic, alongside a parallel parking strip.

The Traffic & Safety Commission unanimously asked for the new alternative to be included in the plan.

The final plan, coming soon, may offer a range of alternative designs to consider. AS&R will support alternatives that encourage more people to shop on Solano using active transportation, and will oppose alternatives that invite more car use:

  • The primary design in February’s draft plan devotes more public space to car parking and does not recommend any tools to manage parking demand. It makes no improvements for people biking. It widens sidewalks a little, but not enough for a main street. Some features meant to help people walk across the wide street would create new hazards for those biking. AS&R opposes this design.
  • February’s draft plan recommends studying back-in angled parking as an alternative to today’s parking configuration. This would improve safety for people biking, but would not encourage a wide range of people to try biking.
  • AS&R enthusiastically supports the new design with the protected bike lane. It provides safe spaces for people to ride bikes from ages 8 to 80, devotes more space for walking, and does not encourage additional driving. This is a true Complete Street.

Bike to Work Day Coordinator Needed

Standing Room Only at AS&R’s 2018 Bike to Work Day Energizer Station!
courtesy Francesco Papalia

It’s the beginning of February, but advocates are already gearing up for Bike Month in May, and Bike to Work Day (BtWD) May 9, 2019. Every year for many many years now (almost since BtWD began), Albany has had a successful and well-attended Bike to Work Day Energizer Station on the Ohlone Greenway in the morning. I (Nick Pilch) had the privilege of running this station for a number of years and it always gave me a thrill to see the community getting together and celebrating the use of pedal power as a way to get to work, or school, or wherever you’re going.

There was plenty of food, thanks to our generous donors, and volunteers distributed it and plenty of information!


Albany Strollers & Rollers is in need of an organizer for this year. As an organizer, you would be in charge of being a liaison with Bike East Bay, who coordinates efforts in the area. You would also organize efforts of the day of. Finally, solicitations of donations, and local publicity are also part of this effort, but you would have a lot of help. A number of us (Nick, Ken, Amy, Sylvia) can answer any questions and help out with these things, as well as drum up a bunch of other volunteers for you. We just need a main organizer. Your help would go a long way towards  advancing Active Transportation.

Do I see coffee and treats?! courtesy Melanie Mintz

A kick-off meeting with Bike East Bay is coming up this week, and it would be really helpful if you could attend that if you are interested. Attendance at that is not mandatory, but it would be a great way to learn more.

Please reach out to contactus@albanystrollroll.org if you have any questions or interest at all, and we thank you so much for considering!

Stuffing bags for everyone who rolls by is FUN!! If you can help, please email Ken at kenmccroskey@gmail.com – thanks!

Thanks, Volunteers, Supporting Businesses & Organizations, for a Successful Solano Stroll!

AS&R volunteers parked hundreds of bikes at the 44th Annual Solano Stroll!
Photo courtesy Amy

Albany Strollers & Rollers had another successful Solano Stroll (the 44th annual!) on Sunday, September 9th.
Thanks to the many volunteers who were busy from 9am-5:30pm on a bluebird day, we parked more than 280 bicycles on our “Moved By Bikes” Valet Racks at two Bicycle Valet Parking lots. Visitors from Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, San Leandro, Pinole and beyond had ridden to the Stroll – some with an assist from BART – and expressed gratitude that we were there to look after their steeds. More than once I was told that without our service, they would have skipped the event.

People of all ages, bikes of all types!
Photo courtesy Patsy Reese

Our Bicycle Valet Parking volunteers were expertly led by Sylvia Paull, Barb Altenberg, Joseph Friedman, Mac McCurdy and rackmeister Ken McCroskey.
Volunteers Shauniece Williams (who worked all day with barely a lunch break!!), Dave Nicely (he of 3 Stroll booths!), Mike Gill, Nico Primmer, Joan Gallagher, Shantee Baker, Anne Malamud, Bryce & Lyell Nesbitt, Reuben from Brooklyn, John Alexander, Ian MacLeod, Tony Caine, Jackie Wang and Jacky Zhao helped check in, park and retrieve bikes. We needed every single one of you to make the operation go smoothly! Extra added bonus – there were zero unclaimed bikes at the end of the day!

Our table was hopping all day and volunteers answered any & all questions!

Of course, AS&R had its usual information table in front of the west lot. Longtime “super volunteers” Michael Primmer & Lynn Eve Komaromi, new “super volunteers” Megan Padilla & Jean-Marie Enjuto, Eileen Walsh, Nick Pilch, Ken McCroskey, Peter Maass and I engaged people and did outreach on behalf of AS&R  – and cycling in general. We spoke to Stroll-goers of all ages, answered questions about all aspects of bicycles, bicycling & walking, signed up 18 new members (if you’re reading this, welcome!!), and sold a bunch of “Check for Bikes” clings & bumper stickers and our reflective leg bands (Jean-Marie was a pro!)
As I was suffering from a wrenched back, I especially appreciated the proactive setup crew (Michael, Shantee, Eileen, Ken, Nico, Barb & Sylvia) who lifted, moved, hung, taped and placed tents, tables, banners, racks, signage and gear flawlessly!

Where else can you scooter down a Red Carpet?

The support of businesses and other organizations is crucial to our success at this and other event:
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 extra effort she puts into helping us at all our events. Del of the new restaurant Brazilian Breads at the top of Solano provided lunch to the volunteers at the Wells Fargo lot so we all

Everyone enjoyed Kim’s Cafe’s Iced Tea on a warm September day

enjoyed delicious lunches! Cathy from Kim’s Cafe & Sandwiches brewed up some special Mango Mint Iced Tea for volunteers & visitors, and Desiree of RXBAR donated hundreds of delicious protein bars for all the volunteers and many visitors, too!

Special thanks to Grizzly Peak Cyclists who lent us their two pop-up tents via Sherie Reineman, Robby from Abrams Claghorn Gallery for letting me store some of our large gear in the back of his gallery, Bradley Blackshire for purchasing drink dispensers & trays for AS&R, Fern’s Garden and BikeLink for providing gift cards, Laurent from Rendez-Vous Cafe Bistro for sponsoring our reflective bands, Janka from Floor Dimensions for the “Red Carpet” that led cyclists up the ramp to our west lot, Francesco for building the customized ramp, and Brad & Linda Carlton, who lent us their folding tables.

Upon further reflection, we had another great Solano Stroll!

A final thank you goes out to Allen Cain and the Solano Avenue Association, who make Bicycle Valet Parking a priority for this huge regional event and put 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!
We hope that YOU will join us for #45!
If you’ve gotten this far and appreciate the service AS&R provides, please vote for us (you!) in category #32 for “Best of Albany Community Service” award here!
Thanks, all!

Photo courtesy Ken McCroskey

See you soon!

VOTE FOR AS&R FOR “BEST OF ALBANY COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD!” BY SEPTEMBER 19th!

Do you or your family use the many bike racks around town that AS&R has helped fund and install? Please vote for us for “Best of Albany Community Service Award!”

Hey gang, here’s your chance to acknowledge your favorite community service organization, us, Albany Strollers & Rollers! Every year the Albany Chamber of Commerce holds a Best of Albany contest. There are 37 categories this year – you can skip some, but please vote in category 32, “Best of Albany Community Service Award.” Be sure to click “Done” at the bottom of the page.

AS&R members help keep Albany rolling!!
photo courtesy Amy Smolens

For more than one voter in a household using the same, shared computer, be warned that multiple votes are locked out unless you delete cookies between your votes or use different browsers.

Help pump AS&R up by voting for AS&R in category #32, Best Community Service organization – thanks!

Voting for the 2018 Best of Albany winners is open through September 19th at 5 pm. The URL to cast your vote is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BestofAlbany2018Voting
We also invite you to pass the link on to family, friends and neighbors (along with a plug for AS&R, of course!)
Thanks for your support and for being a part of AS&R! Winners will be announced September 27th.

Another Successful & Fun Bike Month!

Standing Room Only at AS&R’s 2018 Bike to Work Day Energizer Station!
courtesy Francesco Papalia

Bike Month 2018 is not quite over but we can report on the fun and successes that we all had, thanks to the volunteers at all the events!
On May 4th Gjergji, Joan, Julie, Ken and Will stuffed 300 musette bags full of swag – bike lights, information, discount cards, snacks –  for the upcoming Bike to Work Day…without those great Bike East Bay bags, Bike to Work Day wouldn’t have the cachet that it has!
Almost a week later, the 25th annual Bike to Work Day was a rousing success. At our Albany Energizer Station, more than 500 cyclists went by while we were there.

Yup, we even had a dog stop by for treats! courtesy Mike Gill

Thank you to all who stopped by to eat, drink, get your bike checked or chat about bike stuff!
I’d to thank Bradley B, Francesco P, Jane L, Jessica M, Julie W-L, Ken M, Mac M, Margo W, Mike G, Nick P, Peggy M, Pete M, Bike East Bay’s Ruth K, Samantha H, Shoey S, Sylvia P and “the Backroads Bunch” of Breeze W, Brittany H, Cooper M, Melissa P & Stacy L for staffing the station, setting things up, distributing swag & snacks, counting cyclists,  and just keeping things running! Without YOU, the volunteers, this absolutely could not happen.
Jessica, Mac, Mike and Francesco each took some great photos documenting the fast-paced morning…as did Melanie, on her way to work! Francesco even took this video, for those of you who want to relive the fun or see what you missed.

Do I see coffee and breakfast?! courtesy Melanie Mintz

There was plenty of food and drink for everyone, thanks to the generous donations by local businesses Kim’s Cafe  (Cathy) and Royal Ground Coffee (Mike)  Trader Joe’s El Cerrito (Dao,)  Semifreddi’s (Rachael,) GU Energy (Jessica & Germán,) Safeway (Cherise & LaToya) and Sprouts (Brenda & Jen), plus Barney Butter (Alexandra) non-GMO almond butter from the Central Valley!
And Mattison L volunteered to do the shopping at Safeway and Sprouts, taking a load off of Ken!!
Rob from Blue Heron Bikes and Winston from Berkeley Bikes & Skateboards volunteered their time, checking your bicycles for safety and road-worthiness as they have in previous years!

Bradley with freshly baked Semifreddi’s bread!
courtesy Jessica McGowen

Bradley Blackshire of Edward Jones did triple duty: as a sponsor, he bought AS&R drink dispensers, serving trays and tongs that we can use at all future events; as an Alameda resident he picked up 50 baguettes fresh from the oven at Semifreddi’s for our Energizer Station; then he volunteered all morning at the station!

Cyclists streamed by all morning!
courtesy Mac McCurdy

Nice turnout for 2018’s first Bike About Town!
courtesy Ken McCroskey

Bike About Town family fun rides began on May 18th and we had a fine turnout for a loop around Albany. Brennen from the City of Albany, Gjergji, Jerry, Ken, Sylvia and I rode with the group and had a great time. I hope more of you will join us on upcoming rides!

 

 

APAL gave out free helmets and AS&R volunteers made sure they fit the kids.
courtesy Amy Smolens

The APAL Bicycle Rodeo took place last Saturday. Hundreds of kids and their parents enjoyed a cycling confidence course run by Cycles of Change, BMX demos, the famous “Bike Blender,” getting their face painted by Ping F, and talking to me about how to safely ride on the streets of Albany and beyond.
Britt T, Gjergji Z and Ken M fitted some of the 100 new helmets that Albany PD gave out, and tweaked old helmets, too.

EVERYONE loves pedal powering – and drinking – a fruit smoothie!
courtesy Amy Smolens

Tenisha N, Albany MTB team member Griffin and a bunch of student volunteers kept the blender filled & running so the kids could power their way to blend smoothies for themselves, their families (and us, too.)
Bike Month isn’t quite over, and the City is sponsoring a Bike-In Movie (Chariots of Fire) and mini-Bike About Town tomorrow (Friday.)
And Pat, owner of Tay Tah Cafe and Bua Luang Thai Cuisine, is offering Bike Month Discounts through May 31st:
If you bike to Tay Tah from Monday through Friday during May, when you buy one Boba Drink you get another of the same flavor FREE! So ride over with a friend and enjoy!
If you bike to Bua Luang, when you buy one kid’s meal you get another kid’s meal FREE!

Pat, who runs Tay Tah and Bua Luang, has always been supportive of AS&R

Fern donated gift cards for AS&R’s volunteers so check out her shop’s cool bike section!

I want to give extra recognition to businesses and owners BLUE HERON (Rob), BUA LUANG  (Pat,) AND FERN’S GARDEN (Fern, obviously) for donating special gift cards or coupons for all of our Bike Month Volunteers as a thank you for your time and service to the community!!! I truly appreciate those small businesses, as well as our other supporters (see description of BtWD) for going the extra mile to give back to AS&R’s volunteers and show that they are really involved with our community!

…and we can always count on Rob’s generosity!

 

 

Gilman Intersection Improvement Designs

As part of the reconstruction of the Gilman Avenue interchange at I-80, an active transportation overpass of I-80 will be built to accommodate the vast majority of people that would bike or use sidewalks to the waterfront but not if they have to go along Gilman under the freeway. In order to make the approach to the overpass nearly as inviting as the overpass in order to maximize the utility of the overpass, the segment of Gilman along the route between the Codornices Creek path and the overpass will be upgraded for cycling.

The route from the Codornices Creek path to Gilman follows Fifth, Harrison, Fourth. From there the route is along Gilman. The project will build a two-way cycle track on the south side of Gilman from Fourth to Second and cycling path on the south side of Gilman from Second to the eastern landing of the overpass.

As the route on Gilman crosses four intersections, each intersection will also be upgraded to accommodate cycling. The current designs are shown below with some explanation of each. Clicking on each image will bring up the more detailed pdf version. Feel free to suggest further improvements, ask questions, or make other comments by clicking “Leave a comment” in the menu just below this post.

Fourth and Gilman

People cycling the route westbound cross Gilman here to access the cycle track. This is relatively simple as there are few motorists on Fourth north of Gilman and people cycling need only ride straight ahead across Gilman and then turn right into the cycletrack.

People cycling the route eastbound have to cross Gilman and Fourth, making this direction more complicated. The current design has people ride across Fourth and then wait in a bike box to then turn and ride across Gilman when the light changes. The current design appears to only have room for a person or two to hand out on a bike in the bike box. It also requires hanging out on Gilman with physical protection, which is counter to the purpose of all the upgrades. This purpose is to provide a route as physically separated from motorists as possible so that more people feel comfortable using the overpass. The bike box also requires people using it to make a really sharp turn. While this is from a stop, doing so from a stop is exactly the kind of turn that is the most difficult to make on a bike that has kids or other substantial weight on the back. Women in particular struggle with this because the maneuver requires a lot of upper body strength to keep a bike loaded in this manner from going over then the front wheel is turned hard to one side at a stop.

Third and Gilman

Third and Gilman is better known as the railroad track crossing. This is straightforward. There will be railroad crossing gates across the through cycling lane in each direction in advance of the tracks, just like for motorist lanes.

Second and Gilman

Crossing Second between the cycletrack and cycling path portions of the route only requires crossing one lane of motorists and only motorists turning right from Gilman to Second. Consequently people crossing only have to look at one spot in the road for motorists who might not yield to them, and those motorists are turning right meaning they are making the slowest movement. This is almost as safe as a crossing can get short of eliminating it entirely (it would be a bit safer if there were an eastbound lane just for motorists turning right, but there is not sufficient street width or length from the roundabout to the west).

Eastshore Highway and Gilman

Eastshore Highway is one lane, one-way for motorists at the crossing. The site lines are such that motorist can see people crossing from some distance away. Motorists are also slowing in preparation for entering the roundabout ahead, which requires them to look for and yield to motorists in the roundabout. As a final safety measure, the crossing will be on a speed table, which is a wide, flat-topped speed hump. Local examples of these are the new crosswalk on Masonic at the Senior Center north of Solano and two street crossings along the Manor Way path (Peralta and Ordway).

 

Bike Month is Coming - thanks to many businesses for generous donations!!

With a busy Bike Month almost upon us, I (Amy) have been contacting many local and regional businesses requesting donations for our events such as Bike to Work Day and the APAL Bike Rodeo. I’m thrilled to report that we got a lot of generous donations from businesses both new and old, local and regional!

Pat, who runs Tay Tah and Bua Luang, has always been supportive of AS&R – bike on down to Tay Tah during May and get Buy One Get One Free Boba drink (same flavor!)

Pat, who owns Bua Luang Thai Cuisine and Tay Tah Cafe  , has supported AS&R for years with lunches and coupons for our event volunteers. She again will be giving us discount coupons for me to pass on to volunteers for our Bike Month events.

Fern donated gift cards for AS&R’s volunteers so check out her shop’s cool bike section!

Fern Solomon of Fern’s Garden gave us some gift cards for hard-working volunteers…and Rob from Blue Heron Bikes will also give surprise gifts to those who help AS&R out during Bike Month!

 

Thanks, Mike, for donating pastries for our Energizer Station again!

Since 600+ hungry & thirsty cyclists will pass through our Energizer Station, we need LOTS of food and drink! Cathy from Kim’s Cafe (drinks!),  Mike from Royal Ground (pastries!) ,

The Mango Mint Iced Tea from Kim’s Cafe is always a hit

Dao from Trader Joe’s El Cerrito (groceries and cups!) and Alexandra from Barney Butter have all pledged AS&R product donations to help make our Energizer Station the place to be on the morning of May 10th. Semifreddi’s is donating freshly baked bread for all of you/us, too, and GU Energy is giving us gels to power our rides!!! Our local Safeway  and Sprouts are donating groceries so we’ll have enough for everyone who comes by.
SO YES, WE NEED YOUR HELP IN DISTRIBUTING ALL THESE GOODIES (AND MORE!) TO 600+ CYCLISTS!
Contact Ken McCroskey at kenmccroskey@gmail.com or Amy Smolens at calamari@alumni.duke.edu or leave a comment on this post – THANKS TO ALL!

 

We appreciate Dao donating groceries from Trader Joe’s for our Energizer Station

Winston is the intrepid sole proprietor of Berkeley Bikes & Skateboards

…and we can always count on Rob’s generosity!

Winston from Berkeley Bikes & Skateboards and Rob from Blue Heron will both be on hand to give safety checks to everyone who rolls by.

**SPECIAL BIKE MONTH DISCOUNTS WHEN YOU BIKE TO LOCAL RESTAURANTS!!
Local supporting business Tay Tah Cafe is offering Buy One Tapioca Drink (Boba) Get One of same flavor FREE if you bike there Monday-Fridays during May, Bike Month!!
And bike to Bua Luang Thai Cuisine this month and when you buy one kids’ meal you’ll another kids’ meal free!
Plenty of bike parking at both locations!!

Got almond butter? We’ll have plenty of Barney Butter at our Bike to Work Day Energizer Station so stop by!!

Fresh Semifreddi’s bread, coming your way!!

Albany's Most Relaxed Cycling Routes

The HAWK signal on San Pablo at Dartmouth was finally turned a couple months ago. This provides the critical link in Albany’s most relaxed cycling network. It allows riding between the Bay Trail and the Ohlone Greenway, and all points between, with only six blocks on street, all of them on Dartmouth, which has among the fewest motorists of any Albany street.

This network is shown on the new maps below. The maps are sponsored by the Albany Little League and the Albany Berkeley Soccer Club because using the network, it is also possible to ride to and from the Albany Little League fields and the soccer and softball fields at the west end of Codornices Creek with minimal exposure to motorists as well.

Let your family and friends who have been interested in biking, but not if it means mixing it up with lots of motorists, know there is a network for them now. In fact, it is one of the most comfortable networks connecting homes to destinations in the urban East Bay.

Clicking on the map images below brings up higher resolution, scalable versions.

 

Sidewalk repair update

Albany Strollers & Rollers’ (AS&R’s) almost decade-long effort to have the City perform most sidewalk repair is coming to fruition. This effort started in 2009 with the development of AS&R’s sidewalk survey methodology. This methodology was put into practice by volunteers measuring the most impassable location along each block across Albany in 2010-2011. In 2011 the resulting data was analyzed. This showed Albany’s sidewalks were indeed in poor shape, in agreement with perception.

AS&R used this information to get the City Council to adopt improving sidewalk repair into its two-year strategic plan in 2013. Not much happened until 2016 when the City put a pilot project to repair about 50 locations out to bid using about $150,000 in various funds. The success of that project increased the Council’s and staff’s comfort with AS&R’s proposed property tax to fund sidewalk repair, akin to Albany’s property tax to fund road and storm drain repair.

The Council subsequently had staff develop a sidewalk repair tax measure to generate about $200,000 per year and placed it on the November 2016 ballot. With AS&R’s input, this measure was based on parcel size, which is an appropriate metric for two reasons. First, larger parcels require more sidewalk fronting them. Second, charging by parcel size is fairer with regard to charging per capita. Large parcels with lots of residents or business activity amortize the cost over a larger base while large parcels with few residents or little business pay more, as they should for requiring more infrastructure per capita or unit of economic activity. AS&R also located data held by the City that convinced the Council the tax only needed to be half the size staff was proposing, and successfully advocated for inclusion of an exemption provision for low-income home owners and a rebate for low-income renters.

The measure (P1) passed with the most votes of any measure in Albany’s history, showing how much Albany’s adult citizens value walkability on the ground as well as in theory (walkscore.com’s algorithm does not consider sidewalk condition for instance).  The money is now flowing in and the City has started regular spending on sidewalk repair using the first year of revenue plus an additional $300,000 previously designated from other funds to jump start the program.

You may have noticed that some uplifts around town have been ground down  to make them less hazardous. The City had this work performed at 25 locations at no cost to individual property owners. A month or two from now the City will put the first of many routine repair projects out to bid. The project consists of 40 locations for an estimated cost of $100,000. The locations are shown in the map from the City below.

The City is prioritizing repair of sidewalk damage in the following order:

  • Next to residences where people with accessibility needs have made a request,
  • Uplifts greater than 2″ or major structural failure along the priority sidewalk network,
  • Uplifts greater 1/2″ along the priority network,
  • Uplifts greater than 2″ or major structural failure elsewhere, and
  • Uplifts greater than 1/2″ elsewhere.

In the first 40 repairs, the City will fix all the known locations in the first two categories and some in the third category. The City’s inventory currently has 250 locations needing repair. This inventory will grow as more detailed survey work is performed. However for scale, after the upcoming project, the City will have about $400,000 for additional repairs. Extrapolating from the past and upcoming project, this would cover another 150 repairs. Next year’s $200,000 would cover another 80 repairs.

At this rate of repairs, all locations may be repaired within four years. At this point it might make sense for AS&R to advocate for a re authorization measure and actually has the City legally take over authorization of the tax that cuts the rate in half and has the City take back legal responsibility for sidewalk repair. Currently, even though the City is making repairs the adjacent property owner is still legally responsible for repairs. The City was understandably not willing to take this step as part of putting the recent measure on the ballot. However once all the sidewalks are in good shape there will be little reason for the City to continue the injustice of imposing responsibility for repair on individual property owners rather than all of us collectively. The current tax runs through 2026, but re authorizing it earlier, such as 2022, might be useful to either scale the revenue down to the ongoing need, increase its scope to include maintaining or building other active transportation infrastructure.

Happy sidewalks, however you use them. If you have a story of a location that gave you trouble that was repaired in 2016, ground down in 2017, or repaired upcoming in 2018, please share it in comments.

Donate to AS&R, Help Albany and Get a Tax Deduction!

56 of these attractive and useful “Bike Bike Racks” around town and counting!!
And YOU can help us get more!

Previous donations by AS&R members Cyndi, Tom, Karen, Christiane, Britt, Bryce, Lynn Eve, Catherine, James, Len and David helped fund those great Bike Bike Racks, AirKit public pumps and bike racks at the High School and Middle School that you and your family are using now!
Do you like the Bike Bike Racks around town and want more? Do your kids ride to school and use the racks we

AS&R funded these bike racks at the High School and they get constant use! Want more – consider donating!

funded at AMS and AHS? Are you thinking there are other ways Albany Strollers & Rollers (AS&R) could spend money to make cycling and walking safer and more enjoyable if AS&R were a bit better funded?
Well, here’s an easy way to help, while getting tax benefits as well. If you and/or your employer donate money to AS&R via our fiscal sponsor, Bike East Bay, it will go to important projects in Albany such as more bicycle parking where you and your neighbors needed it or more bike valet parking racks at local events. And yes, you and/or your employer will get a tax write-off if you make the donation through our fiscal sponsor by the end of the year!

Thanks in part to your donations, AS&R bought and installed this public pump on the corner of Solano & Santa Fe!

The best way to do this is to write a check made out to “Bike East Bay for Albany Strollers & Rollers” and send to Harry Chomsky, Treasurer, Albany Strollers & Rollers, 1127 Curtis St, Albany, CA  94706. More questions? Email Amy Smolens at calamari@alumni.duke.edu or Harry Chomsky at harry@chomsky.net and we’ll get you going. And soon you’ll see the fruits of your donations right here in Albany!

Busy busy busy! Our Bicycle Valet Parking service is so popular we could use more of these bike valet racks!
And YOU can help!