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.
Be seen while you pedal at night and keep your pants legs out of the chain with our new leg bands! Photo courtesy Francesco Papalia
It’s getting dark very early now so we all have to do more to be seen by drivers! That’s where AS&R’s latest safety project, our NEW REFLECTIVE LEG BANDS, come in.
Thanks, Laurent at Rendez-Vous, for supporting AS&R and helping fund our newest safety project! Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
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.
A suggested donation of $2-$3 per band will help you be more visible to drivers when you’re riding and walking!
The drivers see my arm when I signal when I’m wearing this reflective band. Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
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. Photo courtesy Francesco Papalia
29 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, Britt, Bryce, Lynn Eve, Catherine, James, Len and David helped fund those great Bike Bike Racks and the brand new AirKit public pump you’re using now!
Do you like the Bike Bike Racks around town and want more? 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?
Thanks in part to your donations, AS&R bought and installed this public pump on the corner of Solano & Santa Fe!
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!
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 email@example.com or Harry Chomsky at firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
In 2010 Albany Strollers & Rollers completed a census of the worst sidewalk condition in each block in Albany. The census found 194 of Albany’s 600 blocks of sidewalk had significant damage (a vertical offset 1 inch or greater or a slope of 9% or greater) within the best two and a half foot width of sidewalk. This demonstrated that Albany’s current system of sidewalk repair was dysfunctional.
Image 3 (step)
Like roads, sidewalks are public infrastructure on public land. However unlike roads, State law allows and Albany’s code requires adjacent property owners to identify needed repairs, contract for the repairs, secure a building permit for the repairs, manage the repairs, and pay for the repairs.
In some years, Albany has put up a bit of money to reimburse the adjacent property after the fact for half the cost of repair on a first come first serve basis. In the years this funding was available, it typically ran out within months, leaving no funding for the rest of the year. In recent years, there has been no such funding available.
Not surprisingly given the diversity of adjacent property owners, some were less able or willing to take on making these repairs, with the result that this public transportation system degraded to the lowest common denominator. In addition, the cost per repair of the current approach is much greater than would be an approach that aggregated multiple repairs into a single project.
With the census results in hand, AS&R set to work advocating for a better repair system. After five years of advocacy, there are some results. For the first time, in response to Council direction from almost three years ago, city staff have issued their own report. This confirms the general results of AS&R’s census: the sidewalks are in terrible condition. Staff’s inspection of the sidewalks identified 252 locations with “significant damage” using five criteria, of which vertical offset of 1 inch or greater is one. Staff has published a map of these locations.
Staff’s census of sidewalk conditions is commendable. This census was at the address rather than block level. In an early pilot, AS&R attempted an address-level census and found it would be untenable to complete as a volunteer effort. Meghan Mitman of Fehr & Peers, who was developing Albany’s Active Transportation Plan at the time, provided the saving suggestion to perform the census on a block-by-block basis. Even still, this took approximately 100 hours of volunteer time to complete. So one can only imagine how much time the address-level census by staff took.
All of this work has led the City to dedicate $150,000 per year for fixing sidewalks for the next two years and $100,000 per year for the following three (per the Capital Improvement Plan). There are some problems with the funding sources identified for the final two years, but the funding proposed for the first three years is sufficient to correct the backlog of worst problems identified by staff.
This leaves the need for a source of ongoing maintenance funding to prevent the sidewalks from deteriorating to this condition again. The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) indicates $1.8 million of additional funding is needed for sidewalk repair over the next five years. There is no documentation substantiating the magnitude of this estimate. This is critical to securing ongoing maintenance funding.
The estimate seems high. The staff report proposes repairing the 40 highest priority locations in the next year for $150,000. This suggests all 252 locations could be repaired for $900,000, which is leaves $500,000 unfunded. This suggests $150,000 per year of additional revenue would be sufficient to both correct the remaining backlog of repairs in the next three years.
AS&R’s position is that this funding should be provided by a property tax. This would provide equity with Albany’s property tax to generate funds for road repair, which is currently around $60 per year ($120 as combined with a tax to support storm drain repair; taxes for any property in Alameda County can be accessed at https://www.acgov.org/propertytax/). A revenue mechanism report provided to the Council at its last meeting indicates a $25 per parcel average tax would generate $135,000 per year. It appears this would be sufficient combined with the already identified funding for the next three years to bring the sidewalks into good repair and then maintain in such condition thereafter (presuming the tax includes inflation adjustment).
AS&R will keep pressing the charge to bring the approach to sidewalk repair to equity with the approach to road repair, meaning publicly funded and staff managed in order to achieve uniformity of results and economy of scale. The City Council has indicated some inclination to support putting such a tax on the ballot. Detailed consideration of doing so hopefully will start with the Traffic and Safety Commission under its agenda item 6.B. during its meeting starting at 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015, in the Council chambers. If you are inclined to support this effort, please send a message to email@example.com. As always, thank you for your support.
Mike, Tony, Lyell, Ken and the rest of the BVP volunteers were busy all day at the Masonic lot! Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
Albany Strollers & Rollers had a very successful day at the 41st annual Solano Avenue Stroll on September 13th.
The lot at the end of Solano draws people who’ve taken BART from all over the Bay Area. Mac, Barb and the rest of the gang worked hard all day! Photo courtesy Patsy Reese
We again managed the Bicycle Valet Parking service not only at the lot below Masonic in Albany, but on Solano Ave’s eastern end at the Wells Fargo lot in Berkeley. Because of the expected volume, in addition to our own 18 “Moved By Bikes” Valet Racks, we rented some racks from neighboring organization Rich City Rides. Lucky thing, because our volunteers parked about 330 bicycles in both lots over the course of the day! Can you imagine if even half those people had come by car?
Preston, Tish, Amy, Sherie and others talked to friends and neighbors about all sorts of issues. Photo courtesy Patsy Reese
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.
Thank you to all our Bicycle Valet Parking volunteers, led by Mac McCurdy, Sylvia Paull and Ken McCroskey – Mike Cabanatuan, Nick Pilch, Diego & Nico Chavez, Lyell Nesbitt, Tony Caine, Shauniece Van Eyck, Griffin Neal, John Alexander, Eileen Walsh, Flora & Becky McMartin, Alan Hsiao, Barb & Mark Altenberg, Joseph Friedman, Momoe Kato and Kate Rowland… as well as to Patsy Reese, who took a few photographs of volunteers at our booths. Many of you have helped us at previous events and some of you were first-time volunteers for us. You were all fantastic and got major kudos from everyone who came by!
These kids loved the “Check for Bikes” pin and the boy on the right promised to share it with his younger brother
Tish Berlin, Britt Tanner, Sherie Reineman, Preston Jordan, Ken McCroskey, Kim Van Eyck 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, bicycling & walking signed up some new members (Tish and Sherie were stars in that regard) sold a bunch of “Check for Bikes” clings and bumper stickers…all while enjoying a (mostly) sunny day with friends and neighbors.
Ken, Francesco, Britt, Nick and Mike were stellar with setup and Ken, Griffin, Tenisha, Francesco and Mac made the wrap go smoothly. Yes, you’re right – Ken was everywhere.
Thanks, Pat, Bua Luang & Tay Tah!
Roll ’em up, roll ’em down…on a home-made ramp built by Francesco!
A big shout-out to local businesses Bua Luang Thai Cuisine & Tay Tah Café for again sponsoring our BVP service and providing delicious lunches & drinks for all the volunteers, as well as personalized coupons for 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 in all our events.
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!
A funny post-script to the day is that after everything was done & dusted, there was one lonely bike left at the east lot. Mac tried the phone number on the sign-up sheets multiple times, but when no one answered, he took the bike home. Later that evening he got a call from an apologetic woman who had been working the Stroll and forgotten about her bike… Mac picked her up, and delivered her & her bike to BART (she lives in Fremont.)
Now that’s full service!
Photo courtesy Francecsco Papalia
Photo courtesy Ken McCroskey
AS&R had another successful Albany Arts and Green Festival on Sunday, May 3rd!
We parked more than 60 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.
The giant laminated map that Preston made was a great conversation starter with passers-by and we got many informative comments with the dry-erase markers. I promise you’ll see that map more often at future events and functions!
To those 26 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.
Kelly was one of 6 winners of a great bike bell, donated by Blue Heron Bikes! Photo courtesy Amy Smolens
These kids were so excited about winning a bike bell that they didn’t even take their helmets off before coloring! Photo courtesy Francesco Papalia
Our second annual kids’ coloring contest was a huge hit. More than 40 kids, aged 3-13, 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 – 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
Angela & director Mac were among the many volunteers who keep the Bicycle Valet Parking flowing smoothly. Photo courtesy Francesco Papalia
Luang and Tay Tah, who sponsored our Bicycle Valet Parking and supplied delicious lunches & Thai Iced Tea for all of our volunteers! That certainly helped fuel us through the rest of the event. All the volunteers also received personalized coupons for either Bua Luang or Tay Tah, a great extra thank you for your time!
Both Pat and Rob stopped by our table to say hi while they enjoyed the Festival. We truly appreciate their continued support of AS&R’s efforts to make cycling more convenient & safe here in Albany and nearby.
Nick, Michael, Kim, Shauniece, Britt (a superstar with her organization and by bringing her Xtracycle with electric assist,) Eileen (awesome with setup, too!,) Francesco and I staffed the AS&R table. Everyone engaged passers-by into meaningful discussions, found kids who liked to draw and encouraged them to color their ideas of biking/running/scooting/playing in Albany, sold “Check for Bikes” clings & stickers, signed up 26 new members to bring us past the 600 mark – all while enjoying great music! Jean and Michael were absolutely stellar in the wrapup, breaking everything down and making sure everything was neatly packed up and organized.
Mac McCurdy 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, Marcia, Mark, Barb, Anne, Angela, Paul and Joan (who replaced a late cancellation.) Everyone helped where needed and had fun in the process!
Cory and Marsalis 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! They also gave a free “How to Fix a Flat Tire” clinic to festival attendees. 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 and bought “Check for Bikes” clings or stickers! Let’s do it again sometime!