AS&R’s volunteers parked about 250 bikes at two lots at the Solano Stroll!
Albany Strollers & Rollers had another successful day at the 40th annual Solano Avenue Stroll on September 14th.
For the first time, we managed the Bicycle Valet Parking service not only at the Pumpkin Patch lot, but on Solano Ave’s eastern end at the Wells Fargo lot. Because of the expected volume, in addition to our own 16 “Moved By Bikes” Valet Racks, we rented some racks from neighboring organization Rich City Rides. That’s a good thing, because our volunteers parked more than 250 bicycles over the course of the day! Can you imagine if even half those people had come by car? We’re providing such a valuable service to our communities!
Thank you to all our Bicycle Valet Parking volunteers, led by Sylvia Paull, Ken McCroskey and Mac McCurdy – Alan Hsiao, Anne Malamud, Barb & Mark Altenberg, Eli Cochran, Eric Appelquist, Floy Andrews, Ian, Iris Miranda, Jane Lenoir, Joseph Friedman, Judith, Marcia Crump, Momoe, Shawn Blakely and Sheri. Some of you have helped us at previous events and some of you were first-time volunteers for us. Your organized and energetic work was appreciated by everyone!
Lynn Eve Komaromi takes a well-earned Pad Thai break – thanks, Bua Luang!
Our “Check for Bikes” bumper stickers and clings were a real hit and help bring awareness of bicyclists on the road to drivers
Lynn Eve Komaromi, Preston Jordan, Nick Pilch 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 festival-goers of all ages, answered questions about all aspects of bicycles and bicycling, signed up some new members, sold a bunch of “Check for Bikes” clings and bumper stickers…all while enjoying the music on a sunny day.
A big shout-out to local business Bua Luang Thai Cuisine for again sponsoring our BVP service and for providing delicious lunches & drinks for all the volunteers, as well as personalized coupons for each of the volunteers to use over the next few months. Pat’s support is so important and we really appreciate the effort she puts into helping us out.
A final thank you goes out to the Solano Avenue Association, who 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!
What a great team effort – what all our volunteers do truly makes a difference and helps make our community more bike-friendly and safe!
We saw quite the variety of bicycles all day!
Would you spend a dollar if it meant cycling more safely? You can, because the NEW “Check for Bikes” Bumper Stickers are here!
Many of you are familiar with our “Check for Bikes” clings, the vinyl window/windshield clings to remind drivers to look for bicyclists before opening their doors, turning right, or making any sudden move.
A bike child seat is the perfect place to put a “Check for Bikes” bumper sticker!
Well, by popular demand we’ve made 4×4″ square bumper stickers with the same image!
We also have the clings and bumper stickers in Spanish!
Spread the message by putting these on your windshield, bike’s child seat, scooter, helmet, computer, car bumper – wherever you can stick something!! They only cost $1, four for $3! So buy a few to give to friends, colleagues and neighbors!
The original “Check for Bikes” windshield/window cling reminds drivers to look for bicyclists before they open their door or make any sudden move
Want a combination of bumper stickers and clings to pass along?
Pick up one of our $10 COMBO PACKS:
8 bumper stickers + 25 clings
12 bumper stickers + 15 clings.
Get any amount in English or Spanish! Go to www.checkforbikes.org or email Amy Smolens to get them.
It’s never been so easy to pass on the gift of safe cycling and driving safely!
Spanish or English if you see this image, you’ll check for bikes on the road!
The original “Check for Bikes” cling, AS&R’s safety initiative. What is it?
Go to ww.checkforbikes.org to find out more!
Bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, kites, trailers, bikes, child seats, scooters, bikes, more bikes!!
Photo credit Rich City Rides
Albany Strollers & Rollers partnered with Richmond’s Rich City Rides to provide free Bicycle Valet Parking at the 29th Annual Berkeley Kite Festival at César Chávez Park this past weekend.
Najari Smith checks in a family riding a road bike, a trail-a-bike and a Burley trailer
Photo credit Francesco Papalia
Organizer Tom McAlister runs a huge regional event so we knew we would have to pull out all the stops in order to park all the bikes – he expected as many as 1000 over the weekend.
Photo credit Francesco Papalia
Both organizations brought all our portable bike racks (a total of 36) and volunteers who were ready to work hard, and that’s a good thing – we parked MORE THAN 1200 BIKES over the weekend! With many of the bikes accommodating more than one person – some as many as 4 per vehicle – that’s a lot of people who took advantage of our services to get to the festival in the most fun, healthy, stress-free and convenient way possible.
Najari checks out the variety of bikes that we parked
Photo credit Francesco
There were unicycles, scooters, cruisers, sleek road bikes, tandems, kids’ bikes, trail-a-bikes, mountain bikes, Xtracycles, folders, folding tandems, bikes with all types of child seats, balance bikes, plenty of parents towing trailers, combinations of the above, strollers… I must be forgetting something! Every one of them was entrusted to Albany Strollers & Rollers and Rich City Rides. Their owners and passengers enjoyed a fabulous festival, and when they were finished we returned their bikes to them – no need to lock or worry! Our “Moved by Bikes Valet Racks” were equal to the task, easy to set up and sturdy for the loads.
Yes, there were kites!
Photo credit Amy Smolens
A handful of the volunteers from both RCR and AS&R had the special privilege of attending the event’s Wrap Party & Dinner Cruise courtesy of Tom McAlister, a Hornblower Cruise on the Bay. We went under the Bay Bridge, along the San Francisco City coast, up-close-and-personal past Alcatraz and back to the Berkeley Marina – a beautiful reward for a job well done!
Thanks to all of AS&R’s volunteers who took time out of their busy schedules to help out this past weekend – Angela Armendariz, Joseph Friedman, Preston Jordan, Ken McCroskey, Tenisha & Griffin Neal (12-year-old Griffin was an incredibly hard worker!,) Francesco Papalia, Nick Pilch, Sherie Reineman and John Steinberg.
To give you an idea of just how slammed we were, I didn’t have a meaningful conversation with one single new person about advocacy or issues – for those of you who know me, you understand that means we were parking and retrieving bikes consistently all day from setup through wrap. A mathematical way to look at Sunday is this: the Festival ran from 10a-6p, which is 8 hours, which is 480 minutes. We parked 700 bikes Sunday, meaning 1400 transactions (park + retrievals) – so that’s almost 3 transactions a minute for 8 straight hours.
We hope the rest of you will consider joining us next year, or at our next Bicycle Valet Parking endeavor – we sure could have used you!
Special thanks go to to fellow New Yorker Najari Smith, Director of Rich City Rides, for working with me over the past few weeks to organize this daunting undertaking and recruiting so many enthusiastic RCR volunteers. He’s a pleasure to work with and I’m sure our organizations will be teaming up again in the future!
For many volunteers, a hard day of work was capped off by a beautiful Hornblower Dinner Cruise on the San Francisco Bay, courtesy of event organizer Tom McAlister. Photo credit Francesco Papalia
Albany has the second highest percentage of people biking to work of cities in Alameda County and the third or fourth highest in the Bay Area. People are voting with their wheels that Albany is a good place to ride.
For the last decade, Albany has focused on implementing complicated and/or expensive infrastructure projects that support cycling. First, it built the path under the freeway onramp to make the journey to the waterfront safer. Then it installed cycling lanes along Marin east of Cornell. The cycling path along the northern portion of Pierce was next. And just recently, the Ohlone Greenway path was rebuilt wider, and the Buchanan path and cycling lane were installed.
These facilities are great, and more like them are yet to come, such as closing the cycling lane gap on Marin between San Pablo and Cornell in the next couple of years. However these facilities alone don’t provide a cycling network. Such a network covering the town was proposed in Albany’s first Bicycle Master Plan drafted in the late 1990’s and was updated in Albany’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP), adopted in 2012. During the development of the ATP, and the previous adoption of the Climate Action Plan, AS&R successfully advocated for including deadlines for actually implementing the cycling network. After all, most of the routes require just some paint and signs and so have a high benefit-to-cost ratio.
The adopted targets are to implement 50% of the route length by 2015 and 90% by 2020. This led the City Council to include striping and signing the cycling routes by the end of 2015 in the City’s strategic goals. The City subsequently contracted for design of the striping and signage plan for these routes. AS&R is thankful for the consideration and discussion of its input regarding this design by the Traffic and Safety Commission, City staff, and the Fehr & Peers design team, headed up by Ryan McClain. This discussion led to a number of plan improvements.
Most of the routes will be indicated by sharrows and bike boulevard symbols. These will be centered at least 12 feet from the curb to guide people out of the door zone (some had originally been proposed at 11 feet). Where there is sufficient street width for cycling lanes, they will be striped 13 feet or more from the curb to provide space outside the door zone (some had originally been proposed at 12 feet). The cycling lane symbols will be offset toward the traffic lane side to guide people to cycle out of the door zone, and some visual cue as to the position of the door zone at the start of each block may be included.
Besides on Marin and Buchanan, the ATP proposes cycling lanes on Washington east of Pomona, Posen eastbound (generally uphill) from Peralta, and Jackson between Solano and Buchanan. AS&R successfully advocated for the addition of the following cycling lanes:
- uphill on Peralta between Posen and Sonoma,
- uphill on Portland east of Carmel,
- southbound on Key Route north of Solano, and
- westbound (generally downhill) on Posen.
The southbound cycling lane on Key Route extends the lane from Ashbury in El Cerrito. Northbound Key Route is unfortunately slightly too narrow for a cycling lane and so will receive sharrows, as called for in the ATP. With cycling lanes in both directions on Posen, the design specifies a wider cycling lane in the downhill direction.
Unfortunately Jackson between Solano and Buchanan was determined to not be wide enough for cycling lanes in both directions. AS&R successfully advocated for installing a cycling lane in the southbound direction to provide more separation between students riding to Ocean View and motorists commuting to work in the morning.
AS&R’s understanding is that some of these routes will be painted as part of this year’s paving project occurring now and the rest of the routes included in the design (all but Kains, Adams and Brighton) will be painted next summer. So look for implementation of a more complete cycling network in the next year and a half.
The Buchanan Bike Lane has been repaved and restriped, so is much safer than before! Head on out to the Waterfront!
As for Albany’s ongoing paint, signage and paving projects, here’s an update:
*BUCHANAN BIKE LANE – REPAVED nicely and is oh so smooth! The lane was striped the 2nd week of July and looks great! The new stripes are 7 feet and 13 feet off the curb (the previous stripes had been 8 and 13 feet) so motorists will park closer to the curb, and bicyclists will have a wider lane & more easily be able to ride outside the dreaded door zone. Love it!
Where do you want to go? Check the signs!
*The first new Albany-branded way finding sign is on the Buchanan/Pierce landing. It has valuable information for folks who may not know how to get where they want to go.
The long-annoying “Bicyclists Dismount” sign has finally been taken down by the City!
*The irritating BICYCLISTS DISMOUNT SIGN HAS BEEN REMOVED from the underpass toward the Bay Trail!
Great new signage directs people how to get to the Bay Trail and the Eastshore Freeway (Target)
*New WAYFINDING SIGNS ON THE UNDERPASS TRAIL direct people toward the Bay Trail, Buchanan Bikeway and East Shore Highway. More to come – stay tuned.
*A LEADING PEDESTRIAN/CYCLIST INTERVAL has been implemented crossing Buchanan from Pierce St. to the Buchanan Bikeway. Peds and cyclists now have a 4-second head start, increasing their visibility and safety. Thanks to daily bike commuter Lynn Eve K for bringing this situation to AS&R and the City, and for suggesting this specific fix.
*A similar phase is also in effect crossing Jackson from the Buchanan Ped/Bikeway (Sherie R had brought up that intersection as being a danger for right hooks.)
*OHLONE GREENWAY – temporary ped/bike icons have been drawn, and already people seem to be more clear on their lane. The permanent ones will be painted soon.
*OHLONE GREENWAY CROSSWALKS AT MARIN & SOLANO – Britt T and Alan E had both brought this to our attention. BART restriped those intersections so Albany Public Works is trying to get them to fix the surface. Discussions are ongoing and we will keep you posted.
*MASONIC – when the sewer work was done it left the surface much worse than it had been. Masonic and some other streets are scheduled for more environmentally friendly rubberized pavement in 2015, for which the City got a grant. So this may not get fixed for another year. Personally, I now ride closer to the center of the street where the surface is much smoother and safer, so you can do that if you feel comfortable.
We always appreciate the suggestions coming from AS&R members via the Discussion List and they have truly led to improvements!
Insert your card, follow the directions and voila – your bike is safe and secure from theft, vandalism and weather!
Ever want to ride somewhere but are wary of leaving your bicycle locked up outside? Want to take BART without your bike and have your bike, lights, panniers and everything else still be there when you get back? Heading to downtown Oakland or SF on the train but afraid it may rain and don’t want to sit on a soggy saddle? Well, worry no more – AS&R has a simple and inexpensive solution!
Just roll your bike into any locker at any time for safe storage at 3¢ – 5¢ an hour
FOR BETWEEN 3¢ to 5¢ AN HOUR (seriously!!) you can park your bicycle and your belongings inside SECURE lockers throughout the Bay Area. BikeLink, a company based in Berkeley, has secure lockers throughout the Bay Area and beyond – including most BART stations – 96 at El Cerrito Plaza, 80 at North Berkeley- as well as at Berkeley Amtrak, the Alameda Ferry Terminal and hundreds of other locations!
Albany Strollers & Rollers is now a vendor of these great cards – preloaded with $20, which will can get you at least 400 HOURS of secure bike parking!
Want a card and thousands of new parking spaces for your bike? Come to one of our events, meetings or Happy Hours or email Amy Smolens or firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more details, go to www.bikelink.org
Here are some of the 96 BikeLink lockers at nearby El Cerrito Plaza BART
Another great Bike to Work Day has come and gone. At our Albany Energizer Station, we counted 580 cyclists going by while we were there. We are one of the busiest stations. Bike East Bay (formerly the East Bay Bicycle Coalition) reports a 24% increase in riders over last year: https://www.ebbc.org/node/11633. Thank you to all who stopped by. If you didn’t get a Bike to Work Day bag, a limited number will be available at the Bike Rodeo on Saturday (see above). We wish to thank Amy, Jay, Matt, Nathan, Pete, Brian, Flora, Jean, and Anni for staffing the station! Flora and Brian and Matt were angels for arriving extra early to help with setup. Jay did an awesome job of counting – outstanding! Everyone was great. Amy and Megan and Jeanne, we thank you for the all the advance work in putting up the signs. And finally Marie Bowser and Judy for helping out with sponsors. And we wish to give a big shout out to our sponsors:
Fehr & Peers
Albany Fresh Produce
La Val’s Pizza
Bua Luang Thai Cuisine
Marie Bowser Acupuncture
Nathan Hohmann, Pilates Instructor
Berkeley Bikes and Skateboards, Winston Jamison
Blue Heron Bikes, Rob Allen
Bike East Bay
Thanks for your support of bicycling!
Thanks for all the coffee, Peet’s. Thanks for returning the empty container, Nick!
AS&R’s booth was always busy!
Courtesy Angela Armendariz
What a fantastic day we had at the Albany Arts and Green Festival on Sunday!
We parked 76 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. Thanks to all who parked their bikes, stopped by,
AS&R’s Bike Valet Parking was hopping all day!
Courtesy Angela Armendariz
chatted, bought “Check for Bikes” clings or anything else. To those 15 people who just signed up for our email list, hello and welcome! We look forward to your input on issues and at events, and to seeing you around town.
Our first annual kids’ coloring contest was a huge hit. The kids really 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 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. For the record, the winners were Adriana, Griffin, Joyce, Preston M., Ross and Zachary, ranging from 4 to 12 years old – great job by all of you! We really appreciate Rob Allen at Blue Heron’s support and donations at our events!
We also gave away coupons to Bua Luang Thai Cuisine, whose owner, Albany resident Pat Boonyalak Viboonlarp, has always supported our organization! Thanks for the coupons and for always sponsoring our Bicycle Valet Parking service at our biggest annual events! If you didn’t get a coupon, we’ll have more for you at our Bike to Work Day Energizer Station.
Some boys drawing their visions of biking, walking, skateboarding and scootering in Albany in our coloring contest
Thanks to Saadia Morales and El Cerrito Chipotle for supplying all the volunteers with delicious burritos, chips and salsa to fuel us through a long day!
As always, the crew from Street Level Cycles was fantastic, giving 18 free tuneups and a “how to fix a flat tire” clinic to the public ! Their wrenching included everything from brake and shift adjustments to tightening headsets to inflating tires. They also diagnosed a few problems that they were unable to address at the event, explaining to the patron what needed to be repaired or replaced and letting them know about Street Level Cycles’ public shop service. They worked on everything from department store Magnas to fancy new Cannondales. Thanks Amber, Cory, Eric and Nick for your hard work!! Everyone appreciates the service you provide to us here and to the East Bay Communities.
Of course, sincere thanks to all of our stellar volunteers – Angela Armendariz, Ken McCroskey, Ralph Boniello,
Joyce with her winning drawing and the bike bell that she won – thanks, Blue Heron Bikes!
Courtesy Angela Armendariz
Shantee Baker, Jean Poulter, Brian Miller, Francesco Papalia, Eric Appelquist, Michael Primmer, Tony Caine, Aleida Andrino-Chavez, Niko Chavez, Preston Jordan, Nora Daley-Peng, Nick Pilch, Tien Peng, Paul O’Curry, Rinda Wardle and Samantha Hampton. You all jumped in to do what was needed – whether it was
Chipotle burritos for all the volunteers!
Photo courtesy Angela Armendariz
parking a bike, putting up signs and banners, answering questions from passers-by, engaging kids and adults, delivering burritos or crayons – you figured it out on your own and the whole day went very smoothly!
We needed every single one of you to make the event a success – thanks!!
Want to see or post more photos? Go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.729855203742139.1073741831.146420185418980&type=1
Rob Allen of Blue Heron Bikes with the winning drawings from AS&R’s kids’ coloring contest at the Arts & Green Festival. Blue Heron donated beautiful bike bells for all the winners so the kids really worked hard on their artwork!!
Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
Hi Strollers & Rollers –
Do you enjoy riding on the new Buchanan Street Bikeway, under the underpass and to the Waterfront…where you lock your bike to the new bike racks?
Do you ride or walk on the upgraded Ohlone Greenway?
Do you use any of Albany’s “Bike Bike Racks” when you frequent our businesses?
These are all projects that Albany Strollers & Rollers has coordinated, funded and/or contributed to.
Please consider giving back to our organization by volunteering your time this month!
May is Bike Month, which means it’s the busiest time of year for our group and our city!
With so much happening, we need help from our community (YOU!!) to make these upcoming events a success:Arts & Green Festival – Sunday 5/4, 10am- 4:30pm
AS&R’s booth at any Albany event is a hub of activity – have questions? come on by!
photo courtesy Matt McHugh
Volunteers needed for outreach at our booth, coordinating the Bicycle Valet Parking and bike tuneups.
*All volunteers who help for 2+ hours get a delicious CHIPOTLE BURRITO, thanks to the El Cerrito Chipotle, for lunch!
*Plus, the first 15 people who sign up to volunteer get a special discount coupon from our Bike Valet Parking sponsor Bua Luang Thai Cuisine!
RSVP ASAP to Amy Smolens to make sure you get lunch and a coupon!
Consider joining us for a few hours or more! Volunteer help is needed to promote Albany Strollers & Rollers, discuss upcoming projects related to walking and biking (bike lanes, sidewalk conditions, bike rack locations, etc.), get feedback from the community about what their needs/interests are, and to give away, and sell, bike lights and talk about our Bike Light Program. I have volunteered at all of these events in previous year and have always enjoyed meeting new people. And if that wasn’t enough to get you to commit, there’s free food and giveaways available for all volunteers!
Bike to Work Day – Thursday 5/8, 6:30am-9:30am
Volunteers needed to count cyclists, hand out swag bags and goodies, outreach at tables and just to provide a smile and a wave to passersby. Food, coffee and swag available for all volunteers!
We also need folks beforehand to contact businesses for donations (Marie has done legwork and has contact information) and help stuff swag bags. To help in preparation, contact Nick Pilch.
APAL Bike Rodeo – Saturday 5/17, 9:30am-1:15pm
Volunteers needed to blend up frosty smoothies with the Bike Blender, help fit kids’ helmets (Ken McCroskey will give you on-site training,) answer cycling questions from parents and kids.
Please respond to Amy Smolens to let us know which event and time you are available to help with.
Thanks a lot – look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the events!
We’re excited to report that we have two new partners in our “Check for Bikes” safety initiative!
Alameda County Transportation Commission wanted custom clings bearing the image of a woman on a bike. It’s wonderful to see this transportation agency helping spread the word to keep an eye out for bicyclists when you’re driving!
The original “Check for Bikes” cling, AS&R’s latest safety initiative. What is it?
Go to http://checkforbikes.org/ to find out more!
And one of our most supportive businesses, Bua Luang Thai Cuisine, bought 100 of our original AS&R clings to distribute to customers. Thanks to Bua Luang’s owner, Pat, for caring about the people in your local community!
Francesco Papalia had this idea more than 3 years ago when he saw a colleague on crutches after having been doored. He brought it to AS&R member Tod Abbott of “Almost Everything Communications” to design and to AS&R to help distribute. Since then we have distributed a few thousand of ours and designed 7 different custom clings for 6 businesses and organizations!
Want some clings of your own to pass on to friends, neighbors or colleagues in order to help keep us all safer on the roads? We also have 16 local businesses distributing them (go here for the list.) Go to any of those locations to get some clings or contact Amy Smolens.
Well, we can’t get there quite yet, but a significant step has been taken. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the tentative parcel maps and the design review for the University Village Mixed Use Project on Wednesday, December 11th. The conditions of approval include the developers providing up to an additional two feet abutting the San Pablo right of way as needed to make the sidewalk, cycle track and landscape configuration approvable by CalTrans.
Garnering this approval is the next big hurdle. The extra space deals with one point of feedback from CalTrans. The others are providing a cycling signal phase for users of the cycle track and continuing the cycle track all the way to the east end of the new Buchanan path from the get go. The project and City-hired engineers are working on the cycle signal phase and AS&R has conveyed a number of ideas for consideration. The likelihood of the cycle track going all the way to Marin at the outset is slim to say the least, but there is high likelihood of being able to close this gap in the long term (for instance it would score highly for grant funding). In the short term staff is likely to counter propose installing a cross walk at the north end of the cycle track by the grocery store instead. This would allow people cycling north along the cycle track to cross over San Pablo to continue heading north. This midblock crosswalk is called for in the San Pablo complete streets plan, which was just approved unanimously by the City Council.
The Planning and Zoning Commission also changed the conditions of approval to specify a HAWK signal at the Dartmouth crossing of San Pablo as the preferred option for that location. The developer has already specified this type of signal on the plans, but AS&R asked for this preference to be codified in the approvals. Staff have already taken the HAWK signal proposal to CalTrans, and report back a generally positive response.
Thank you to City staff, UC, and the developers for working in collaboration to incorporate an amazing amount of cycling access in the project. Ringed by cycling paths with another running along Monroe down the middle, this project will do more for cycling in Albany than any other private project ever, by far.