Upcoming Events

5:00 pm ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
Aug 27 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
ZOOM/VIRTUAL 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?[...]
7:00 pm ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Aug 27 @ 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
The monthly Transportation 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 things for[...]
7:00 pm VIRTUAL (ZOOM) AS&R Meeting – Yo... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
VIRTUAL (ZOOM) AS&R Meeting – Yo... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Sep 10 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
VIRTUAL (ZOOM) AS&R Meeting - You're Invited! @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Email contactus@albanystrollroll.org to get the Zoom links or look in “comments” Have a gripe, an idea or some input about anything that would further cycling and pedestrian conditions here in Albany? Then join us at[...]
7:00 pm ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Sep 24 @ 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
The monthly Transportation 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 things for[...]
5:00 pm ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
Oct 22 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
ZOOM/VIRTUAL 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?[...]
7:00 pm ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Oct 22 @ 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
The monthly Transportation 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 things for[...]
7:00 pm VIRTUAL (ZOOM) AS&R Meeting – Yo... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
VIRTUAL (ZOOM) AS&R Meeting – Yo... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Nov 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
VIRTUAL (ZOOM) AS&R Meeting - You're Invited! @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Email contactus@albanystrollroll.org to get the Zoom links or look in “comments” Have a gripe, an idea or some input about anything that would further cycling and pedestrian conditions here in Albany? Then join us at[...]
7:00 pm ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
ZOOM – VIRTUAL Transportation Co... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Nov 26 @ 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
The monthly Transportation 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 things for[...]


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

Blue Heron Bikes: 10% off parts and accessories.

Marie Bowser Acupuncture: 30% off your first visit.

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

Quad Republic Skate Co. 5% off SKATES, 10% off parts & accessories.

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


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.
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.

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!

Gilman overpass preliminary tradeoffs

Under the wonderful leadership of Susan Chang, the project manager for the Gilman interchange project, the tradeoffs regarding different possible alignments for the Gilman overpass are becoming clear. While the tradeoff analysis is not yet final, the effort appears to have crested and is now rolling downhill. So it is a good time to share some of the preliminary findings and ask for your thoughts. Please share them by submitting a comment below this article in the hopes this page will provide a pan Albany-Berkeley conversation.

The request to the Alameda CTC to consider northern alignments in addition to the southern alignment started with the surmise that there are more potential users north than south of Gilman. All data collection and analysis since has confirmed this. Below is a map showing biking and walking sheds north and south of Gilman according to routing by google maps to the Gilman fields. Whatever algorithm Google developed for cycling routes appears to accurately replicate the route most people would prefer (most people preferring low stress over high speed and directness). For instance it connects points south of University with the fields via the University active transportation bridge and the Bay Trail, and points west of San Pablo in southeastern Richmond via the Ohlone Greenway and Gilman. Note points in the hills are not included due to the much lower likelihood of people living there biking and walking to the waterfront.

Following are population distributions by distance from the fields in each bike shed. After that is the distribution of 5 to 18 year olds. The columns fade toward the right of the chart to qualitatively indicate the decreasing the likelihood of someone biking or walking to the fields with distance.

The charts show there are far more people north of Gilman than south at all distances other than 2 to 3 mi., and far more 5 to 18 years olds at all distances north than south. After discussion by the alignment working group, Alameda CTC also paid for maps of the home census block group of cell phones that visited the Gilman fields this past September. These data show that at least 7% of cell phones were from homes within 2 mi. in the active transportation shed north of Gilman and 3% south of Gilman. Two to three miles out, 4% were in the southern shed versus 2% in the northern shed. However the average elevation in the southern shed at these distances is substantially larger than in the northern shed.

So in the context of roughly twice as much demand for the overpass from north of Gilman than south, what is the best alignment? The work group has considered something like twelve different northern alignments to date. Two have risen to the top at this time. Both of these provide for three potential options for making a connection with no motorist crossings to the Codornices Creek trail in the future. Neither makes that connection now because it would add at least $10 million dollars to the cost, be outside the project scope, and delay the project by years. The delay would result in Alameda CTC losing a grant for the overpass, and also risk that Alameda CTC would abandon its lead role on the overpass project.

One of the two northern alignments of most interest is essentially a mirror of the southern alignment as shown on the map below. The other northern alignment is similar except it extends the western leg over Gilman to the midpoint between the north and south entrances to the fields. As part of either northern alignment the two-way cycletrack on Gilman west of Fourth would be on the northern side.

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to each alignment, summarized in the table below. The matter appears to come down to the importance of accommodating a future connection that eliminates all motorist crossings west of Sixth, shortens travel distance on average, and avoids routing overpass users through a railroad underpass on Gilman if that is built. Red for the southern U below is based on considering these quite important.  Whether it is important enough to prefer the disadvantages of each northern alignment is a judgment call based on the number of additional people that would use a northern alignment extending from Fifth and Codornices Creek to the Gilman fields without any motorist crossings in the future as compared to the southern U. Methods for analyzing active transportation travel demand are not sufficiently developed at this time to provide a quantitative answer. So what do you think? Please enter your thoughts in comments below.

Gilman Overpass: What To Seek?

A year ago, AS&R sent a letter regarding active transportation elements of the proposed Gilman interchange project. It was joined by the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition’s Transportation Working Group, Bike East Bay, the Albany Berkeley Soccer Club, Berkeley Rhino Rugby Club, Berkeley Rugby Football Club, and Berkeley Lacrosse Club. Until two weeks ago, Alameda CTC, the lead agency for the project to whom the letter was sent, had not responded.

Fortunately, during the year of silence Alameda CTC did direct the project engineer to analyze alternate alignments for the proposed overpass. At the time of the letter, only a southern “U” overpass alignment was being pursued, as shown on the map below. The best alignment in terms of maximizing the number of people that would ride or walk to the waterfront connects the west end of the Codornices Creek Trail to the Bay Trail at Gilman. This is because studies show connecting a new path to an existing path results in more people riding the new path than connecting a new path to a cycling facility on a street. Also, the majority of the population that would use the overpass lives north of Gilman where the population density is higher and more Albany Berkeley Soccer Club players live. For instance, there are a thousand families with children in University Village a short distance north of the project compared to few residents similarly close south of the project.

The map also shows roads people cycling or using sidewalks would have to cross color coded by hazard, along with the average number of motorists traveling along the routes each day. The orange intersections along Gilman are signalized, or in the case of Fourth Street proposed to be signalized as part of the Gilman interchange project. The red intersections along Gilman are not signalized. Consequently motorists can turn right and left from Gilman onto those streets across the path people would have to take to an overpass at either the southern or northern “U” alignments. In particular, the intersection at Second Street cannot be signalized because doing so would cause motorist backups into the eastern roundabout, which could cause grid lock. At the same time, the roundabout design also requires that motorists headed north or south on Eastshore Highway from Gilman do so via Second Street. Consequently there would be many motorists turning from Gilman onto Second.

In contrast, the desired connection to the Codornices Creek Trail requires users to only cross two streets with fewer motorists midblock, which is much safer. However because this desired connection involves two overpasses as well as alignment along the creek in part, the groups sending the letter decided garnering this alignment in one go was likely too much of an ask. Consequently the groups asked Alameda CTC to consider a northern “U” alignment that would allow for connection to a railroad overpass to the Codornices Creek trail in the future.

Last week Alameda CTC shared the three alignments it has studied. The southern “U” primary alignment is shown first below (in green going across the freeway in the left side of the map). As compared to the previously available design iteration, a two-way cycle track on the south side of Gilman is proposed connecting to the overpass (shown in purple). However, as mentioned, users of this facility would have to cross through motorists on Gilman turning into Second Street without any signal protection.

Next is the northern “U” alignment requested in the letter. While not shown, conversation with Berkeley Transportation Division staff suggests a two-way cycle track on the north side of Gilman connecting to the northern “U” alignment is likely as feasible as one on the south side connecting to the southern “U” alignment.

Finally, and with surprise, Alameda CTC studied a northern “L” alignment directly connecting the west end of Codornices Creek trail (where there are sports fields) and the Bay Trail south of Gilman (where there are also sports fields).

It found all of these alignments feasible in terms of engineering. However they differ in cost and how soon they could be implemented. This is due to differences in available funding as well as the need to acquire right of way for the northern alignments, and engineer and permit the portion of the path along Codornices Creek.

The meeting with Alameda CTC last week brought forward a hybrid option, the northern “h” alignment (the lower case “h” reflects the term “hybrid” as well as the longer western leg in the near term and future northern connection on the east side in the long term). This combines the eastern leg and freeway overpass of the northern “U” with the western leg of the northern “L.” The advantage of this is that it precludes users from the north, which are the majority, from having to cross through motorist traffic on Gilman at all.

Each of these options has pros and cons, as shown on the table below. Alameda CTC is hoping that all the stakeholders can agree on pursuing one alignment at this time in order to simplify its effort going forward, which translates to time and cost saved. The alignments are ordered from least usable but most achievable in the short term, to most usable but least achievable in the short term. The northern “U” and northern “h” have the option of being extended to Codornices Creek in the long term. This could occur in particular as a mitigation if the railroad underpass on Gilman specified in the County Transportation Expenditure Plan moves forward.

Which alignment do you think AS&R and the other groups should pursue? Leave a comment below or send a message to the AS&R discussion list (albany@lists.ebbc.org) or BCAC TWG google group (bcac-transportation-wg@googlegroups.com) if you are a member. Alameda CTC is hoping to make this decision early the week of October 16th, so your response before then will have the most impact.


Another Super Solano Stroll!

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes!! You, your neighbors and friends with AS&R parked 300 + of them at our two lots! Photo courtesy Nick Pilch

The 43rd annual Solano Avenue Stroll was a rockin’ and rollin’ success, thanks to our fabulous volunteers! 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. The weather was hot and the cyclists came out in droves – we parked more than 300 bikes in both lots, and our own 18 “Moved By Bikes”  Valet Racks were up to the task!

Our volunteers kept things running like clockwork at both lots
Photo courtesy Patsy Reese

Thank you to all our Bicycle Valet Parking volunteers, led by Sylvia Paull, Eli Cochran, Mac McCurdy and rackmeister Ken McCroskey.
Barb & Mark Altenberg, Joseph Friedman, Griffin Neal, Shauniece Williams, Samantha Hampton, Mike Gill, Anne Malamud, Eddie Chau, Jane Lenoir, Bryce & Lyell Nesbitt, Tony Caine,  Brian Beall, Lai Yuling, Patsy Reese, Stacy Loucks and Maribeth Hutson all helped check in, park and retrieve bikes. We needed every single one of you to make the operation go smoothly!

A steady stream of cyclists rolled up the Red Carpet into our west lot all day!
Photo courtesy Amy

The coolest addition to our BVP service was the Masonic lot’s “Red Carpet,” donated by Janka at Floor Dimensions, which led cyclists up our ramp into our lot – very glamorous!
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.
Mike Cabanatuan & Michael Primmer were the absolute kings of the AS&R table setup. The two of them, Valerie Risk, Kim Van Eyck, Sherie Reineman, 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 Stroll-goers of all ages, answered questions about all aspects of bicycles, bicycling & walking, made some great connections to help us facilitate more racks at the Middle School, signed up a handful of new members (welcome!!,) sold a bunch of “Check for Bikes” clings & bumper stickers and one BikeLink bike locker card… and our reflective leg bands were flying off the shelves!

Sherie & Amy held down the fort (the AS&R table) most of the afternoon Photo courtesy Patsy

If many of the names above sound familiar, they should! Some of our volunteers were veterans who have helped us at previous events and know the ropes. AS&R’s event rookies brought much-needed new energy and were a HUGE help. All were terrific and got major kudos from everyone who came by!
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. Bhimsen of the new restaurant Mountain Mike’s Pizza at the top of Solano provided lunch and coupons to the volunteers at the Wells Fargo lot so we all had plenty of food!

We appreciate the continuing support of Pat from Tay Tah and Bua Luang – thanks for the lunches and coupons!!
Photo courtesy Amy Smolens

Lucas Euser of ClifBar donated hundreds of Clif Bars, Organic Z Bars and Fruit for all the volunteers and many visitors, too! On a hot day like Sunday, believe me, we all needed the extra energy!

Special thanks to Grizzly Peak Cyclists who lent us their two pop-up tents via Sherie, and to Brad & Linda Carlton, who lent us their folding tables.

Doesn’t it look like the late crew of Mike, Eli, Mac & Patsy had a great time? You can, too, if you join us at our next event! Selfie courtesy Mike Gill

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!
We hope that YOU will be there for #44!
Thanks, all!