Upcoming Events

Oct
26
Thu
5:00 pm AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – new & ... @ Everest Kitchen
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – new & ... @ Everest Kitchen
Oct 26 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting - new & delicious location!! @ 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 Kains/Adams Bicycle Boulevards o... @ Albany City Hall
Kains/Adams Bicycle Boulevards o... @ Albany City Hall
Oct 26 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
The crucial Kains/Adams Bicycle Blvd project will be on the agenda of October’s Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting. Do you and your family want to AVOID bicycling on San Pablo Avenue? Live on Kains or[...]
Nov
19
Sun
4:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
Nov 19 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited! @ Albany | California | United States
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 discuss policy and[...]
Jan
21
Sun
4:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
Jan 21 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited! @ Albany | California | United States
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 discuss policy and[...]
Jan
25
Thu
7:00 pm Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Jan 25 @ 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
The monthly Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting, the Fourth Thursday of every month, is a great place to make your ideas known, find out about the transportation issues and projects in Albany, and help improve[...]

Discounts

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

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

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

Marie Bowser Acupuncture: 25% on all visits.

Blue Heron Bikes: 10% off parts and accessories.

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

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, Tony Caine, 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!

Vote for AS&R for "Best in Albany Community Service Award" - DEADLINE FRIDAY AT 5 PM!

Cast your vote for AS&R and your favorite local businesses in the “Best of Albany” competition by September 15th!

We are excited to announce that your very own organization, Albany Strollers & Rollers, has been nominated for the Best of Albany in the category of ‘Best in Albany Community Service Award!’ Voting has begun and will run through September 15. Be sure to vote for AS&R and for your other favorite restaurants, activities and other categories here  – pass the link on to your friends, family & neighbors and through social media.

If you, your family or your neighbors use the bike racks that AS&R have funded around town please show your appreciation by voting for us – thanks!!

If you’ve used our racks or public pumps, ridden the roads or paths that we’ve helped improved, or parked in our Bicycle Valet Parking lots at events, please cast your vote for us, as well as voting for your favorite Albany businesses.

If we win, we will ALL share in the pride of what we have accomplished in and around Albany.

Do you or your family ride on the Ohlone Greenway? Sure you do! Please vote for AS&R, who improved it for you!

Albany Strollers & Rollers wants YOUR IDEAS!

Albany Strollers & Rollers (AS&R) is pleased to have had a number of recent successes such as:

  • Successfully advocated for the new cycletrack in front of the UC Village development (Sprouts, additional retail, and senior housing)
  • 8 new “Bike Bike Racks” and one “Air Kit” bicycle pump around the city in the past year, for a total of 56 Bike Bike Racks and two Air Kits
  • Passage of the sidewalk tax to fund badly needed sidewalk repair
  • Pledged $1,000 to help fund the Public Parklet on Lower Solano Avenue
  • Pledged $1,000 to fully fund new bike racks at Albany High School
  • Successfully advocated for and managed safe and well located bike racks at Safeway and UC Village development

We have 56 of these Bike Bike Racks around town! What’s next?? YOU DECIDE!!

Now we are wondering what our next priorities should be. And so we turn to YOU – what are your new burning ideas? What do you want to see done? What problems have you seen biking and walking to work, the store, or to school? We can support you in getting things done – for yourselves, your neighbors, and your children! Come out and talk to us at our next General Meeting on Sunday July 16, 4-6pm at St. Alban’s.

 

 

Bay Trail Design Along Golden Gate Fields

AS&R recently learned the East Bay Regional Park District has developed 30% engineering drawings of the Bay Trail segment it will construct between Buchanan and Gilman. These drawings could not be readily found on the web, so AS&R reached out for help acquiring them. Several members successfully jumped on it, so now AS&R and you have access to a slide deck showing more detail regarding the planned segment. AS&R has not acquired the actually engineering drawings yet, but will keep trying.

Here is the map from the slides regarding the planned trail.

An interesting aspect of the design is its treatment of flood levels now and in 2050 with sea level rise. In the above map, portions of the trail are indicated as either permanent or interim. Looking at the trail cross sections in the slides indicates the northern interim portion will be below the 2050 sea level plus 100 flood. The southern interim portion will be above this static water level, but a note relays that with storm surge and wave action water can actually lap up to 2.5 ft higher than the static level. At this level, the southern interim portion would likely be underwater as well.

The other portions are either along Fleming Point or the expanded beach area to be built. The portions along Fleming Point are obviously elevated, so engineering relative to current and future water levels is not necessary. The portion along the planned expanded beach will be built up so it is above water levels for the foreseeable future.

In contrast, both of the interim portions are between the shore and a near sea level portion of Golden Gate Fields. It may be that EBRPD did not want to burden the project with the cost of elevating the trail in these portions because this would increase the project cost by essentially building a levee, which in turn would provide substantial uncompensated benefit to Golden Gate Fields. EBRPD is perhaps instead taking the approach that Golden Gate Fields will eventually determine it is in its own interest to build a levee to protect its property, and at that time EBRPD could join with Golden Gate Fields on a fair cost split. Note again this is all speculation based on the evidence of the slides.

Flawed Gilman Overpass Update

As last reported, the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s (ACTC) grant application to fund construction of the active transportation overpass at Gilman it proposed was not funded. However at that time it had not been funded by the State. All unfunded applications are subsequently forwarded to the relevant regional transportation agency for consideration of funding from its portion of the available state active transportation money. In our area this agency would be the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Fortunately, in late December MTC also declined to fund this proposed overpass.

This gives ACTC a chance, and hopefully the motivation, to actually engage with the community to design an overpass that works for everyone. As mentioned in the last post on this topic, a good model exists just a bit to the north. The following figure shows the old overpass of I-80 south of San Pablo Dam Road landing between the freeway and the frontage road on the east side, and the new overpass crossing both. AS&R just sent ACTC a letter pointing out that this overpass crosses both the freeway and frontage road as a result of engaging and listening to the community.

Information available on the web indicates this new overpass has been completed and is now open. If you have used this overpass, or happen to use it in the future, please leave a comment below describing your experience and thoughts.

San Pablo Crossing At Dartmouth

The “final” design of the active transportation facilities along the portion of San Pablo fronting the University Village Mixed Use project was shown to the Traffic and Safety Commission at its December meeting. To AS&R’s surprise, the proposed signalized active transportation crossing of San Pablo at Dartmouth did not include accommodation for people cycling. Here is the design presented. Note in particular that the curb opening on the west side of San Pablo is only as wide as the crosswalk, thus requiring people to enter that crosswalk to access the cycle track. However riding in a crosswalk is illegal if it is not a connection along a cycling path, which it is not in this case.

City staff explained they had presented CalTrans with a schematic design that included the cycling crossing, but CalTrans rejected that component. The issue is that the type of signal (a HAWK or hybrid pedestrian beacon) has a solid red phase through which motorists cannot proceed following by a trailing flashing red phase that requires motorists to stop, let any sidewalk users cross, and then proceed. As such, it does not protect people biking across.

To solve this, a cycling signal head facing people crossing San Pablo is needed to tell them when the facing motorists on San Pablo is solid red and so it is safe to cycle across. However, combining cycling signal heads with a HAWK signal is not provided for in engineering standards. So they can only be added under provisions for experimentation. This requires far more overhead in terms of document preparation, meeting attendance, and data collection. However  subsequent to the Traffic and Safety Commission meeting, staff committed to pursue this process with CalTrans.

Here is the ultimate design AS&R has requested. If you would like more details, see AS&R’s and Bike East Bay’s letter to Albany staff.

AS&R Input on draft Berkeley Bike Plan

AS&R has sent a letter to the Berkeley City Council, Transportation Commission, and Transportation Division providing input on Berkeley’s draft Bike Plan. Chief among this input is asking that the plan include connections on Berkeley’s side to all the cycling routes proposed in Albany’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP). Most of these connections were already proposed in the version of the Berkeley Bike Plan available for the October 20th Transportation Commission meeting, but a couple were missing.

Below this input, AS&R suggested the organizing vision for improving the bike boulevards of seeking to make cycling west (downhill), and north and south (cross slope) faster than motorists can travel on the adjacent arterials during peak traffic periods. This is required in order to motivate a substantial percentage of people to switch to biking for some of their trips.

In accord with this, AS&R asked that the Berkeley plan optimize the bike boulevards for cycling by replacing diagonal diverters with more friendly semi diverters or other motorist barriers, eliminating stop signs, and improving crossings of motorist arterials other than with the rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) in the current plan. Paraphasing Transportation Division staff, RRFBs are planned because they are cheap, even though they may be fatal because they do not actually give people biking the legal right of way to cross when activated.

AS&R also asked Berkeley to define a rapid cycling network in addition to the low-stress network it has defined, as was done in Albany’s ATP. It suggested that route signage should be uniform within each network rather than along each route type as this would facilitate people connecting across all route types with a specific network, which is their desire.

Finally, AS&R asked that the plan be named something other than “Bike Plan” as that is a misnomer with regard to its goal of getting more people biking.

You can read the full letter here if you like. You can download the draft plan here.

Flawed Gilman Overpass Design Not Funded

Last September, AS&R joined with numerous other organizations (the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, Bike East Bay and the Albany Berkeley Soccer Club among others) to send a letter to the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) panning various aspects of its active transportation design for the I-80/Gilman interchange reconstruction, chief among these the proposed multi-million dollar active transportation overpass. You can read the letter at bcac-twg-asr-gilman. One of the key maps from the letter is shown below.

bcac-twg-asr-gilman-map

ACTC applied for over $8 million from state active transportation program cycle 3 to partially fund construction of the proposed overpass. Fortunately this application was not funded. AS&R has no knowledge whether or not the letter played a role in this decision.

Hopefully this result will motivate ACTC to take the concerns of the community seriously, and revamp the design. AS&R recently learned of an example of a flawed active transportation overpass not five miles away that provides a further red warning light regarding the design proposed by ACTC. The Riverside crossing of I-80 in Richmond is being completely replaced as part of an interchange reconstruction project there. The eastern landing of the previous overpass was between the frontage road and the freeway, like the overpass ACTC proposes at Gilman. Unlike at Gilman though, the planners and engineers of the new Riverside overpass engaged with the community. The community’s main request was to land the eastern side of the overpass on the east side of the frontage road so people did not have to expose themselves to the hazard of motorists on the frontage road in order to access the overpass. The planners and engineers listened, and the new overpass with this configuration will be opening soon.

It is amazing to have such a clear example of the correct outcome from a better process so close by. AS&R will send a followup letter to ACTC pointing out this example, and will seek to have the same broad range of signatories.

Be Seen & Safe with AS&R's Reflective Leg Bands!

Be seen while you pedal at night and keep your pants legs out of the chain with our new leg bands!

Be seen while you pedal at night and keep your pants legs out of the chain with our new leg bands!

We just turned the clocks back, it gets dark early, and sometimes it even rains –  so we all have to do more to BE SEEN BY DRIVERS!  We got a new shipment in of AS&R’s great REFLECTIVE LEG & ARM BANDS, so pick up a few to make yourself and your loved ones more visible!

Thanks, Laurent at Rendez-Vous, for supporting AS&R and helping fund our newest safety project!

Thanks, Laurent at Rendez-Vous, for supporting AS&R and helping fund our newest safety project!

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, and in foggy or rainy weather.

The drivers see my arm when I signal when I'm wearing this reflective band.

The drivers see my arm when I signal when I’m wearing this reflective band.

A suggested donation of $3 per band will help you be more visible to drivers when you’re riding and walking!
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.

Take a ride and rendezvous at Rendez-Vous.