Upcoming Events

Jun
27
Thu
5:00 pm AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – Eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – Eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
Jun 27 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting - Eat, drink & problem-solve!! @ Everest Kitchen | Albany | California | United States
Come and talk about walking and cycling in Albany, while eating delicious Nepali & Indian food in Everest Kitchen’s Parklet! All are invited. Got a gripe, question or idea that would make cycling or walking[...]
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Jun 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[...]
Jul
16
Tue
7:00 pm AS&R Meeting – SPECIAL DATE – Yo...
AS&R Meeting – SPECIAL DATE – Yo...
Jul 16 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - SPECIAL DATE - You're Invited to Join Virtually!
Have a gripe, an idea or some input about anything that would further cycling and pedestrian conditions here in Albany? Then join us at our next meeting (every other month – odd-numbered months) where we[...]
Jul
25
Thu
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Jul 25 @ 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[...]
Aug
22
Thu
5:00 pm AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – Eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – Eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
Aug 22 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting - Eat, drink & problem-solve!! @ Everest Kitchen | Albany | California | United States
Come and talk about walking and cycling in Albany, while eating delicious Nepali & Indian food in Everest Kitchen’s Parklet! All are invited. Got a gripe, question or idea that would make cycling or walking[...]
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Aug 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[...]
Sep
5
Thu
7:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited to...
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited to...
Sep 5 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited to Join Virtually!
Have a gripe, an idea or some input about anything that would further cycling and pedestrian conditions here in Albany? Then join us at our next meeting (every other month – odd-numbered months) where we[...]
Sep
26
Thu
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Sep 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[...]

Discounts

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.

Kains/Adams Bike Boulevard Update

map Kains/Adams BikewaysCity staff has reported that renewed discussion regarding the Kains/Adams improvements is anticipated to go to the Transportation Commission in April, and ideally to the Council in May.

At its October 26, 2023 meeting, the Albany Transportation Commission considered the ongoing Kains and Adams Pilot Project. After considering alternatives, Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of recommending to the City Council that the Pilot be continued through May of next year and that the commission consider changes with staff to evaluate and modify the program. There was a consensus among six of the 7 commissioners for keeping the routes on Kains and Adams Streets with additional signage, additional pavement markings, and the possibility of full two-way traffic with diverters, to be determined. The matter has now passed to the City Council.

KainsAdamsBikeway photo, green arrowAlbany Strollers & Rollers members met online via Zoom on Tuesday, February 6th to discuss the options and formulate a strategy in preparation for a future City of Albany meeting on the subject. This AS&R meeting explored and discussed changes to the Kains and Adams Pilot Bikeways.

A fruitful discussion emerged resulting in the following strategy going forward:

  • Lobby Council Members to direct Police to de-prioritize enforcement of contra-flow parking on Kains/Adams
  • If APD indicates it will commence enforcing State law against motorists parking on the left side of a two-way street, intervene to have the City return the streets to one way for motorists with a contraflow lane for people cycling. This configuration was designed and approved by the transportation engineering firm in its study of how to make Kains and Adams cycling routes. The contraflow cycling lane width approved by the firm was quick-marked with chalk, as shown in the photo, and found to be comfortable.
  • Pursue median barriers in the cross streets other than Marin and Solano in the future to limit the number of motorists driving along these bike routes.
  • Pursue stops on the cross streets other than Marin and Solano in the future to provide safer crossing of them by people biking.

Note that Alameda CTC will be installing a HAWK signal on Marin at Kains and a rectangular rapid flashing beacon on Solano at Kains in ~2025 to improve those crossings for active transportation

City of Albany Citywide StreetLighting Evaluation Project Update

AlbanyStreetlightingProjectImageIn March of last year, the City kicked off its first systematic street lighting evaluation. Thank you to all everyone that participated in a survey or the workshop that were part of the process. It was a rapid and effective process resulting in a number of reports. The Council considered the last of these, which regards lighting recommendations and specifications, at its last meeting. The Council adopted this report. It recommends the following actions, somewhat in order by benefit for cost:

  • Replace failing LED and remaining high-pressure sodium lights;
  • Improve lighting at intersections  currently with low lighting and dusk/nighttime collision history;
  • Add lighting near schools;
  • Add lighting along cycling routes and priority sidewalk network;
  • Add shields to eliminate streetlight shining on adjacent buildings; and
  • Comprehensively improve lighting along Solano and Marin

It provides specifications, such as color temperature, intensity, and shielding to eliminate light spill.

With the specifications now available, the City has been able to commence replacing failed LEDs, part of the first action. The map below, completed a year ago by volunteers, has resulted in the City starting with western Albany where the failure rate is the highest. Note the map only regards lights on wooden poles.

streetlighting census

Solano Stroll Sunday Sept. 10 – Volunteers Needed – AHS MTB Team & AS&R providing Free Bicycle Valet Parking + info table!

The AHS Mountain Biking Team is leading the Bicycle Valet Parking at the Solano Stroll – will you lend a hand?

Free Bicycle Valet Parking will again be featured at the Solano Stroll, but with a new twist: the Albany High School Mountain Biking Team will be taking the lead for this important service, using Albany Strollers & Rollers’ specialized racks! The new location will be on Key Route Blvd just north of Solano Avenue –  it’s near the Greenway so we’re expecting lots of drop-ins so it’s sure to be busy!!

As usual, AS&R will also have an information table near the lot where we (YOU!) will talk about and answer

Come visit AS&R at our information table then enjoy a great stroll up Solano!
Or better yet, volunteer a few hours with your neighbors before strolling!

questions about active transportation stuff!

WE NEED YOU TO MAKE THIS A SUCCESS!

The AHS MTB team could use additional volunteers, so if you’d like to help park bikes (we have parked 300 bikes in the past!!)  or volunteer at AS&R’s info table, please contact Amy Smolens .
This is a great gig for kids, too, as long as they are strong enough to roll a bike. If students need volunteer-hours, this is perfect!

VOLUNTEERS (the first 12 to commit) WHO WORK AT LEAST A 4-HR SHIFT AT EITHER LOCATION WILL GET FREE LUNCH PROVIDED BY A SUPPORTING SOLANO AVENUE RESTAURANT !!

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes!! 300 + of them coming the Solano Stroll! Please help the AHS MTB Team park them all!
Photo courtesy Nick Pilch

Some sponsoring businesses may also provide gifts or coupons for our volunteers, too – stay tuned!

Volunteer hours run from 9am-5:30pm so it’s easy to pick a

AS&R Super-Volunteer Lynn Eve Komaromi takes a well-earned lunch break – thanks, Bua Luang!
Please join Lynn Eve and your AS&R neighbors in volunteering!

shift that works for you! Please let Amy know if you would prefer to help with the Valet Parking, the Info Table or either one, and if you have time preferences or are flexible.

Since 1974 Solano Avenue and the cities of Albany and Berkeley have hosted the Solano Avenue Stroll, the East Bay’s largest street festival! The Solano Avenue Association , AS&R , AHS MTB and Check for Bikes invite you to see what makes Solano Avenue a wonderful place. The Stroll features over five hundred vendors including 50 entertainers (there’s always great music!,) 50 food booths, 150 government and non-profit agencies, 150 juried hand-crafters, a 75 entry parade, state of the art mechanical rides and much more!
230,000 participants and event guests visit from all over the west coast so that’s where YOU come in – many of them ride their bikes, so we need people to help park them in our lots.

Lots of them want to talk about cycling and walking around the area, and they want to

See you soon!

talk to YOU!

“Bike to Wherever Day” is Back – and a Success!

Bike to Wherever Day was back! Photo courtesy Mike Gill

After a Covid-induced break of two years, Bike Month was back for real,  with the central event being “Bike to Wherever Day.”

On May 20th, Albany Strollers & Rollers partnered with Xtracycle’s Jamie T and Evan on our BtWD Energizer Station and it was a rousing success. More than 300 cyclists went by while we were at our Albany Energizer Station.

Margo, Queen of the Musette Bags! Photo courtesy Mike Gill

Every one of the 160 Bike East Bay musette bags was picked up and many more folks stopped by to eat, drink, get their bike checked or chat about bike stuff!

AS&R had a busy info table all morning! Photo courtesy Elaine Mariolle

In addition to Jamie & Evan, we’d like to thank Amy S, Ken M, Gjergji Z, Dan L, Ruth K, Raquel & Mireya P, MaryAnn F, Margo W, Chuck T, 2 Nick Ps, Peggy M, Mike G,  Michael P, Joanne M, Ian M and Elaine M

Cyclists of all ages came out! Photo courtesy Elaine

(visiting from Tucson) for staffing the station, setting things up, distributing swag & snacks, counting cyclists,  talking to commuters, signing up new members, and just keeping things running!

There was plenty of food and drink to go around!
Photo courtesy Elaine

Special thanks goes to volunteer super shopper Mattison Ly, who took our gift cards from Sprouts & Safeway and somehow spent every penny on fantastic refreshments for our volunteers and visitors…and delivered it all on her Xtracycle!

Coffeetime on the Greenway! Photo courtesy Elaine

There was plenty of food and drink for everyone, thanks to the generous donations by local businesses Kim’s Cafe  (Cathy,) Trader Joe’s El Cerrito ( Sandra & Michael,)  Royal Ground Coffee (Mike),  GU Energy (Roshelle,) Sprouts (Crystal, Deanna & Rolando,) Safeway Albany (Alicia). Rob Allen from Blue Heron Bikes was stationed alongside the Ohlone Greenway, checking bicycles for safety and road-worthiness as he has in previous years!

We also want to recognize businesses and owners  Tay Tah (Pat), Rendez-Vous (Laurent), Bua Luang (Joe) and Fern’s Garden (Fern, obviously) for donating

Photo courtesy Mike Gill

special gift cards for all of our Bike Month Volunteers as a thank you for your time and service to the community!!! 

SUPPORT THOSE BUSINESSES WHO SUPPORT YOU!

 

Kim’s Café supports AS&R every year! Photo courtesy Elaine

We all truly appreciate those small businesses, as well

Sandra from Trader Joe’s donated a full basket full of food for our Energizer Station! photo courtesy Amy Smolens

as our other supporters (see description of BtWD and list in the right margin of our website) for going the extra mile to give back to AS&R’s volunteers and show that they are really involved with our community!

Without YOU, the volunteers, this absolutely could not happen!

Excitement was bubbling over for Bike to Wherever Day! Photo courtesy Elaine

 

Future Transit Oriented Development at El Cerrito Plaza BART Station

Sophie Gabel-Scheinbaum, who is working on the community engagement efforts for future Transit Oriented Development at El Cerrito Plaza BART Station, will speak to us at our January 13 meetingwill speak to us at our January 13 meeting. They’d likely have a brief presentation to give some context on the project concepts and then open it up for questions as well as facilitate discussion.

A Vision for El Cerrito Plaza (elcerritoplazadevelopment.com)

Bike Anywhere Days 2021 In & Around Albany

Albany Strollers & Rollers works to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, awareness, and facilities in and around Albany. Seventeen years old and over 700 member-households strong, AS&R successfully advocates for improvements and serves the community of Albany.

Please join our mailing lists or like us on Facebook for local news, events, and discussion. Let us know if you’d like to get more involved, attend one of our meetings or happy hours, and have a look around our website for posts on active transportation issues and resources you can use.

ALBANY INSIDE OUT – CUSTOMER SEATING REPLACES CAR PARKING!

Ride your bike and have a nice meal outside!

You may have noticed that a lot of space previously reserved for car parking has been repurposed for customers of restaurants and cafés – that’s Albany Inside Out! Many of the people volunteering on this program are your fellow AS&R members.
AIO not only helps businesses serve customers on site after months of Covid-induced restrictions, but encourages people to walk, bike and otherwise use active transportation when they go out for a meal, coffee or snack. Of course, many of the restaurants and cafés taking advantage of the outdoor space have bike racks so you have a safe place to lock up.
By helping Albany’s small businesses repurpose outdoor space to welcome customers under Covid-19 limitations, we hope that this will help Albany’s family owned businesses not only to survive, but to thrive!

ALBANY INSIDE OUT PARTICIPANTS WHICH ARE SERVING OUTDOORS INCLUDE:
Rendez-Vous Cafe Bistro, Souvenir Coffee Co, Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery, Royal Ground CoffeeZaytoon Mediterranean Restaurant & BarEverest Kitchen, Bua Luang Thai Cuisine, Tay Tah Cafe, 5 Tacos and Beers, Little Star Solano, Boss, As You Wish Frozen YogurtHal’s OfficeSuzette Crêpe Café, iSlice, Lizzy’s Cajun Café, Kim’s Cafe and Sandwiches, Chez Mansour, Delhi Diner, Duo Grill House, Solano Junction, Fonda Solano, Rivoli, Talavera, Barney’s Gourmet HamburgersOcean View Brew Works , Juanita & Maude, Barney’s Gourmet BurgersBrazilian Breads, Sam’s Log Cabin, Albany Taproom.

SUPPORTING BUSINESSES INCLUDE:

Albany Sauna & Hot Tubs, HEAL: Pilates, Raven & Rose, Copy Express, Umami Interiors, Feagley Realtors, Morningtide, Winkler Real Estate Group, Ember Acupuncture, Oaktown Spice Shop, Five Little Monkeys, Abrams Claghorn Gallery, I Song Orthodontics, Terry Kotsatos – Edward Jones, Albany Berkeley Optometry, Toy Go Round,  Hamro-Aangan, Ivy Room, Enoteca Mediterraneo, Fish First, Schmidt’s Pub, Nielsen Arts Gallery & Custom Framing, Jade And Jewels, fillgood.co, Wendy’s Gnome Shop, The Church on the Corner, Hotsy Totsy Club, Lift & Sprint, StretchLab, Picnic.

.

If you are able, please support these small businesses!

ENJOY BIKE TO WORK DAY (now in September?) COORDINATOR NEEDED TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Standing Room Only at AS&R’s 2018 Bike to Work Day Energizer Station! Help us make it happen again!
courtesy Francesco Papalia

If you have enjoyed volunteering at or stopping by AS&R’s BIKE TO WORK DAY ENERGIZER STATION, here’s your chance to make sure it happens in 2020. Soon advocates throughout the Bay Area will be gearing up for Bike to Work Day (BtWD) postponed from its usual date in May to September 24th. Every year for many many years now (almost since BtWD began), Albany has had a successful and well-attended Bike to Work Day Energizer Station on the Ohlone Greenway in the morning. It’s always a thrill to see the community getting together and celebrating the use of pedal power as a way to get to work, or school, or wherever you’re going.

Natalie took this great pic of some of AS&R’s volunteers at our Bike to Work Day information table! It’s people like you who make this event a success!

Albany Strollers & Rollers is in need of an organizer or two for this year. As an organizer (or pair of you,) you would be in charge of being a liaison with Bike East Bay, who coordinates efforts in the area. You would also organize efforts of the day of. Finally, solicitations of donations, volunteers and local publicity are part of this effort, but you would have A LOT of help in that area. A number of us can answer any questions and help out with these things, as well as provide a large list of previous volunteers. We just need a main coordinator. Your help would go a long way towards advancing active transportation in Albany!

Cyclists in training. photo courtesy Mike Gill

If we don’t have a coordinator, we’ll have to skip the event this year. Now you don’t want that, do you?

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

Every day is Bike to School Day! photo courtesy Ginny Porter

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

Adams and Kains Bikeways Pilot Approved

In the closest victory for biking in Albany in over ten years, the Council approved one-year bike boulevard pilots on Adams and Kains to be installed in the future pending funding. In the week of the climate strike and after having earlier in the same meeting considered the draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan showing more than half of Albany’s greenhouse pollution currently comes from cars, you would think the City Council would fall over itself to approve bike boulevards first proposed seven years ago and studied and engineered for over last two years. Instead, the Council barely found its way to approving them on a 3-2 vote. Vice Mayor McQuaid and Councilmember Barnes opposed without offering any alternative actions by which Albany could take local responsibility for its transportation greenhouse pollution.

The last time the Council approved major cycling infrastructure on just three votes was in April 2007. In voting yes, then Councilmember Lieber strongly invoked the need to act locally to avert the climate crisis. Here we are still having to fight that battle. The 2007 action approved construction of the multi-use path along the 500 block of Pierce Street. The next phase of that project will complete the path from there through Thomsen Pierce Street Park and along Cleveland to connect with the Buchanan path. Unforeseeable then was that this portion of the path will go right by 60+ affordable residences planned at Cleveland and Washington. The path will make those residences all the more affordable by providing a safe means for people living there to get around without having to own a car.

The main concern of opponents to the Pierce Street path was loss of motorist parking on the street. When that was resolved through engineering, residents opposed to the project turned to other issues. Hundreds of residents signed a petition against the project. Albany Strollers & Rollers had only about a hundred member households then but prevailed nonetheless.

Albany will soon have Bicycle Boulevards like this one in Berkeley!

This time the main concern of opponents was again motorist parking. Not loss but rather which direction motorists would park. The pilot project will convert Adams and Kains back to two-way, as Kains was in the early 1990s, but install barricades preventing motorists from entering each block in the direction currently prohibited (semi-diverters). These barriers will allow people biking to pass through. In this manner, these streets will finally be legal for people to bike both directions without increasing motorist traffic.

Opponents’ main concern was whether motorists parking on the side of the street with the semi-diverters would park facing them (contraflow parking – left wheels to the curb) or away from them as typical for a two-way street (right wheels to the curb). Organized under the banner Safe Streets Kains and Adams, opponents threw up speculation of collision chaos under either alternative. As common in political discourse, the group did not bother to analyze available injury collision data to test its speculation.

UC Berkeley currently makes thirteen years of statewide injury collision data available through https://tims.berkeley.edu/. AS&R analyzed these data for the nine blocks of Adams and Kains in the pilot, five blocks in Berkeley with semi-diverters, and two dead-end blocks in Albany with no turnarounds (north end of Stannage and Madison). The semi-diverters in Berkeley were installed over 40 years ago (1975) and motorists have been parking contraflow ever since. Motorists on the dead-end streets in Albany make three-point turns to park right wheels to the curb. So these three sets of blocks capture current and possible future motorist parking.

In thirteen years, the nine blocks of Adams and Kains had two injury collisions, each involving a motorist at fault colliding with someone biking. The five blocks with semi-diverters in Berkeley had two injury collisions that were motorist on motorist. The two dead-end blocks in Albany had no injury collisions. While it is tempting to draw conclusions about which configuration is safest from these data, the collision rates on all three are statistically the same. And low (less than one injury collision per block every twenty years).  These data indicate however motorists end up parking on Adams and Kains it will be no more dangerous for motorists than it is now.

Meanwhile, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) recently identified the top 10% of streets with the most injury collisions involving people biking. The only such street in Albany is San Pablo (see page 61 of Book 2 of the agency’s new active transportation plan for the County). This validates AS&R’s decade of advocacy for safer cycling options in the corridor.

An opponent of the project also protested that the planned bikeway west of San Pablo between Richmond City Hall and Oakland’s Jack London Square is no longer part of the Alameda CTC’s plan. Even if this were true, all the other cities along this route (Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland) have already built or funded this route though. The only city that has not done its part is Albany, creating a gap right in the middle. The pilot project would close most of this gap by allowing two-way biking on Adams. The other component to close the gap is an active transportation bridge over Cerrito Creek. Of this, the Alameda CTC states the following in Book 4 of its new active transportation plan:

“Cerrito Creek has a greater impact on connectivity, especially west of San Pablo Avenue which crosses the creek, but is a high-stress street for bicycling. A concept design study of a bridge at Adams Street is currently under development by Alameda CTC.”

So the opponent’s contention that Alameda CTC is no longer interested in the west of San Pablo route is wrong at best. Alameda CTC is actually so interested it has decided to help Albany or actually take the lead.

Unremarked by the Council is its zoning of Adams and Kains for two to three times as many residents as there are currently and reducing the off-street car parking required per residence from two to one. It reduced the parking requirement on the idea this would increase construction of new residences and the new residents would not need more than one car each because they would walk, bike, and take transit. This is working as evidenced by the recent construction permit application for nine new residences where there is currently a parking lot at Kains and Portland. The two votes against biking both ways on these streets contradict these previous voters by the Council.

Opponents of piloting bike boulevards on Adams and Kains misinformed their neighbors, almost 200 of whom subsequently signed a petition against the project. Supporters of the project that spoke to the Council in favor were outnumbered about ten to one by opponents. Still, with the 700 member households of AS&R standing behind those who did speak, AS&R prevailed. This is part of what winning the future by minimizing climate change looks like. Millions of political decisions going the right way. Thank you for providing your support.

City Council acts on Solano Complete Streets

At the City Council meeting on July 15, 2019, the Council considered the Solano Complete Streets project and took some important steps. You can watch the video here.

Staff had recommended “that the Council accept the draft study with City Council directed refinements and direct staff to prepare a final study.” In the end, Councilmember Barnes made a motion with exactly those words and the Council passed it with only Councilmember Pilch opposing. There was general agreement on many of the principles at stake, but some felt that the wording of the motion did not clearly reflect those principles and it should have been stated differently. Nonetheless, the entire discussion is on the record and AS&R feels cautiously optimistic that the project might ultimately produce a real Complete Street.

Thank you to the many AS&R members and community members who wrote letters and spoke in favor of improvements for bicycling on Solano Ave along with greater improvements for walking. We built a strong case that the design shown in the draft plan is inadequate and actually decreases safety for people biking, and that the alternatives we’ve been advocating should be taken seriously.

Speaking on behalf of AS&R, Harry Chomsky stated our position that:

  • The project must improve the safety and comfort of people riding bicycles along Solano Ave,
  • AS&R hopes to partner with the City by writing letters of support for future grants for the project, that AS&R would reluctantly but publicly oppose the project if the City tries to move it forward without any such improvement, and
  • We urge the Council at this meeting to keep a pathway open for a possible real Complete Street.

Staff set the stage for the discussion by admitting that the public process that’s coming to a close has not produced a consensus about what Solano should look like. Staff now refers to the resulting document as a “study” instead of a “plan”. In other words, by approving the document, the City is acknowledging and appreciating the ideas it presents but not committing to build them as shown. The document has to be accepted by early next year in order to fulfill the terms of the grant that funded its production. Accepting it as a study instead of a plan may allow us to satisfy the grantor without having to resolve the important questions that remain controversial.

Public comment was allowed before the Council deliberated the plan. Therefore, the public, including many AS&R members, had no opportunity to react to, discuss or refute any of the Council’s statements.

The Council considered 19 elements listed in the staff report. Council members agreed on many: for instance, they approved bulbouts as long as they don’t inhibit truck movements and don’t endanger bike riders, and they rejected pedestrian refuge islands as overkill for street of this size and generally problematic. AS&R supports the decisions that the Council made on these and several other elements.

The Council briefly discussed the one-way and two-way cycletrack ideas that many AS&R members have advocated. Instead of trying to approve or reject them, the Council decided that the ideas should be considered as part of the impending update to Albany’s Active Transportation Plan. That update needs to happen very soon and should come to the Traffic & Safety Commission within the next few months. We can continue supporting these ideas as the ATP update proceeds this fall. The Council also agreed that the City should not build any project that would make it more difficult to add cycling facilities in the future. This sounds reassuring but it’s hard to tell exactly what it means.

The Council supported the idea of a back-in angled parking pilot. Back-in angled parking is another AS&R priority, as it would improve safety for bike riding on Solano in the absence of a cycletrack. The Council did not make any specific recommendations about the pilot, but they agreed that it should run for a long time, and that we should measure its success or failure based on objective criteria determined in advance rather than based on its popularity. AS&R supports this outcome and we can continue to engage to ensure a robust pilot.

The Council decided that the project should not increase or decrease the amount of car parking. The draft plan increased car parking by removing unneeded bus stops and driveways and by using curb space more efficiently. AS&R agrees that the freed-up public space should have been considered for other uses besides added car parking — for instance, car parking could have been rearranged to allow wider sidewalks and a one-way cycletrack, with little change to the overall car parking supply. AS&R is concerned that the Council’s decision might be too restrictive. If a change in road layout would improve conditions for walking, biking or transit but result in moderate loss of car parking, we would like to see the idea explored for all of its pros and cons. We hope that the Council’s decision will function as a general principle and a starting point for discussion, rather than as a hard and fast rule.

The consultant and some Council members argued that the design shown in the draft plan improves safety for bike riders on Solano by slowing car traffic. This idea is not justified effectively in the draft plan. How fast is car traffic today? How much would it likely be slowed by adding features such as bulbouts and colored parking zones? To what extent does car speed endanger bike riders today? We perceive much greater danger to bike riders from other sources: cars backing out of parking spaces, cars parking or turning without proper preparation, cars trying to pass bikes without adequate visibility, distracted motorists drifting in the lane, or wide trucks impinging on cycling travel space. It was also stated that the draft plan design will force people on bikes to ride slower and thus stay safer. We are deeply skeptical of this idea. We doubt that bikes on Solano move faster than cars, we doubt that the draft plan’s design would cause them to move slower than they do today, and we doubt that excessive bike speed is a significant cause of conflicts or collisions. Nonetheless, the City may ask for AS&R’s support to build a plan that “improves conditions for biking on Solano” only by slowing car or bike traffic. We would ask for careful analysis before accepting these changes as improvements.

The Council discussed having staff revise the draft plan to incorporate all the changes discussed at the meeting, including titling it “study” instead of “plan”, and present the updated document at a future Council meeting for final approval before closing out the grant. AS&R agrees this is what should happen next. However, the Council’s motion did not say this. According to the wording of the motion, the Council has now accepted the “study”, and staff is expected to update it but is not obligated to bring it back to the Council for approval. AS&R wishes the motion would have stated explicitly that staff would update the document and bring it back to the Council which might approve it or not. The Council did state outside of the motion that this is what they expect, and AS&R will insist that staff follow this expectation despite its absence from the motion.

When the study comes before the Council in the future, it will likely be part of the Consent Calendar. Consent Calendar items are normally accepted without discussion at the meeting. Anybody from the Council or the general public can ask for a Consent Calendar item to be “pulled” so that the public and the Council can consider it thoroughly and vote on it separately. If we still have concerns about the revised study when it appears, we might ask for it to be pulled from the Consent Calendar.