Upcoming Events

Oct
22
Thu
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meetin... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meetin... @ 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[...]
Nov
12
Thu
7:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited to... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited to... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Nov 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited to Join Virtually! @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
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[...]
Nov
26
Thu
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meetin... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meetin... @ 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[...]
Dec
24
Thu
5:00 pm ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
Dec 24 @ 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 Transportation Commission Meetin... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meetin... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Dec 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[...]
Jan
14
Thu
7:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited to... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited to... @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Jan 14 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited to Join Virtually! @ St. Alban's Episcopal Church
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[...]
Jan
28
Thu
7:00 pm Transportation Commission Meetin... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Transportation Commission Meetin... @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Jan 28 @ 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[...]
Feb
25
Thu
5:00 pm ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
ZOOM/VIRTUAL AS&R Happy Hour Mee... @ Everest Kitchen
Feb 25 @ 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?[...]

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.

Bike Anywhere Days 2020 In & Around Albany

Bike to Wherever Days 2020

Albany Strollers & Rollers works to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, awareness, and facilities in and around Albany. Sixteen 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, Ocean View Brew Works , Juanita & Maude, Barney’s Gourmet BurgersBrazilian Breads, Sam’s Log Cabin, Albany Taproom, Hamro Aangan (coming soon), Ivy Room .

SUPPORTING BUSINESSES INCLUDE:

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

.

If you are able, please support these small businesses!

FREE BIKE EDUCATION ONLINE CLASSES, courtesy of Bike East Bay (during Coronavirus shelter in place order)

Bike East Bay ‘s award-winning bicycle education program is offering online classes throughout the duration of the COVID-19 shelter in place order. Register for a FREE webinar workshop, access online blog posts and resources, and have fun on every bike trip!
EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FREE, BUT YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER!
Thanks to AS&R’s Fiscal Sponsor, Bike East Bay, for running these valuable online classes.
MORE TO COME AS LONG AS SiP LASTS – CHECK THIS SPACE!

ONE HOUR WORKSHOPS
These sessions go in-depth with a certified bike instructor on a specific topic such as avoiding bike theft, riding after dark, carrying things by bike, bike-friendly driving, and more. 1-hour, online workshop. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
INFO AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about bicycling during the COVID-19 shelter in place order: BikeEastBay.org/COVID19

ONE HOUR WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

Biking After Dark
**(Special session ahead of Daylight Saving Nov 1st – win bike lights!)
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
7pm – 8pm
Online panel discussion, register for access link
Click Here to Register

URBAN CYCLING 101, DAY 1 CLASS SCHEDULE:

Urban Cycling 101: Day 1
Sunday, October 25th, 2020
6-8pm
Online webinar, register for access link
Click Here to Register

URBAN CYCLING 101 – DAY 2 ROAD CLASS SCHEDULE:

Urban Cycling 101: Day 2
(limited spots available)

Saturday, November 14th, 2020
9am-1pm
Rockridge BART west side parking lot
Corner of Shafter Ave and Forest St, Oakland
Click Here to Register

ADULT LEARN-TO-RIDE CLASS SCHEDULE:

Adult Learn-to-Ride
​(limited spots available

Saturday, October 24th, 2020
10am-1pm
Berkeley Marina, waterfront wharf
Northwest of University Ave/Marina Blvd
Click Here to Register

Adult Learn-to-Ride
​(limited spots available

Saturday, November 7th, 2020
10am-1pm
Rockridge BART west side parking lot
Corner of Shafter Ave and Forest St, Oakland
Click Here to Register

Adult Learn-to-Ride
​(limited spots available

Saturday, November 21st, 2020
10am-1pm
Berkeley Marina, waterfront wharf
Northwest of University Ave/Marina Blvd
Click Here to Register

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.

Thanks for Another Terrific Bike to Work Day - Bike Month Rolls On!

Despite chilly temps, thanks to YOU, Albany Strollers & Rollers had a super successful Bike to Work Day!

Natalie took this great pic of some of AS&R’s volunteers at our Bike to Work Day information table!

Thanks to Rob from Blue Heron and Winston from Berkeley Bikes & Skateboards for being there to make sure everyone can ride safely

The previous week, Ginny, Ken, Sarah, Ruth and I stuffed many of Bike East Bay’s 2300 musette bags full of swag – bike lights, information, discount cards, Check for Bikes clings, snacks –  for the upcoming Bike to Work Day…without those great bags, this annual event wouldn’t have the cachet that it has!

On May 9th, the 25th annual Bike to Work Day was another rousing success. More than 600 cyclists went by while we were at our Albany Energizer Station. 300 picked up those awesome musette bags and hundreds more stopped by to eat, drink, get their bike checked or chat about bike stuff!
I’d to thank Ken M, Jane L, Britt T, Tish B, Julie W-L, Mike G, Ginny P, 2 Nick Ps, Margo W, Peggy M, Anni T, John A, Samantha H, Rodney P, Bike East Bay’s Sarah P, Lucinda Y & Rafael R, and “the Backroads Bunch” of Maribeth H & Stacy L for staffing the station, setting things up, distributing swag & snacks, counting cyclists,  talking to commuters, signing up new members, and just keeping things running!

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

Elizabeth V got the ball rolling in March, recruiting lots of volunteers for both events, and Ken picked it up in the weeks before to organize our Energizer Station.
Without YOU, the volunteers, this absolutely could not happen!
Ken, Ginny, Mike, Britt and I took some pix, as did brand new AS&R Natalie T on her way to work! It was so busy that we didn’t capture the crowds or energy, so if you took pix, please email them to me !

Cyclists in training. photo courtesy Mike Gill

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 (Dao & Clive,)  Semifreddi’s (Elena & Ken,) GU Energy (Rebecca & Germán,) Sprouts (Melissa & Mario,) Safeway Albany (Cherise) & Safeway Community Market
(John & Susana.) Our volunteer super-shopper Mattison L again did the shopping at both Safeways & Sprouts, and delivered the food on her Xtracycle at 6:30am!!
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!
Dan L picked up the BtWD posters in Oakland and Nick Peterson & Tim D put them up in strategic, visible locations.

Plenty of food and drink for everyone! photo courtesy Amy

Liam & Brennen with the Albany Recreation Department loaned us tables (how could we have all that food without tables?) and green bins.
Don’t forget, Bike Month rolls on:
Bike About Town family fun rides begin this Friday, May 17th so please join your fellow rollers, Liam and Brennen from the City of Albany Recreation Department.
Don’t forget Pints With Purpose at Wildcard Brewing on Saturday May 25th, where $1 from every pint or flight will help fund the awesome Bike Bike Rack at the business.
I want to give extra recognition to businesses and owners  FERN’S GARDEN (Fern, obviously,) TAY TAH (Pat) and BikeLink (Jake) 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!!! Bradley Blackshire donated beverage dispensers, trays and tongs for our ongoing use at all events.

Here’s to another great Bike to Work Day!

SUPPORT THOSE BUSINESSES WHO SUPPORT YOU!
We all truly appreciate those small businesses, as well 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!

It’s a dog’s life! photo courtesy Mike G

 

Volunteers like you are the key to success! photo courtesy Britt Tanner

 

The Future of San Pablo Avenue

As if planning for the future of mid-Solano were not enough, the first public meeting regarding planning for the future of San Pablo Avenue took place in Albany a week ago last Thursday. Planning is really heating up as or because the planet is too.

The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) as an agency is leading this effort. It presented three alternatives. Concept C leaves the street essentially as is with some minor adjustments. Concept B with center-running dedicated bus lanes, one through general traffic lane, and dedicated general traffic right turn lanes at major intersections. And Concept A is the same as the last but with a parking-protected cycling lane in one direction and a buffered cycling lane in the other.
The general preference was for Concept B (center bus lanes only). Concept C does not facilitate bus transit, which service is projected to decline dramatically due to increasing traffic congestion. Concept A removes parking all day long on one side and the cycling lanes provided end before major intersections to make way for general traffic dedicated right turn lanes, so they do not accomplish much. In contrast, parking in Concept B in the northbound direction is prohibited during the evening commute to reduce congestion but is otherwise available.
However, Concepts A and B move the bus stops away from major intersections to preserve space there for dedicated general traffic left turn lanes. It is odd, to say the least, to propose improving bus transit by degrading it by moving the stops away from the main intersections where retail is centered. Also odd is that Alameda CTC did not list keeping the bus stops at major intersections as an advantage in Concept C as the converse of this disadvantage in Concepts A and B.
Concept B also requires providing parallel relaxed cycling routes since they are not provided on San Pablo.  The Alameda CTC counts these a positive, discounting that using them would impose up to a three quarter mile detour in some areas (not in Albany). So this feature of Concept B is neutral as best, and reasonably considered a negative.
There is actually another concept considered by Alameda CTC that it ruled out without showing to the public. This is dedicated side-running bus lanes. Alameda CTC ruled this out because it would not sufficiently improve bus transit operations because motorists would be allowed to enter the lane to turn right and parallel park. However, it seems there may be signalization means to address the first concern. Against this downside, this concept, call it D, has the safest conditions for sidewalk users at major intersections because it allows bulbouts, the best conditions for people cycling because it provides protected lanes right up to all intersections.

It is not clear whether Concept B or D is better. AS&R is considering undertaking advocacy to get Concept D considered equally and in parallel with the others to provide a more meaningful process.

Submit your input in this quick survey (through April 30th)

Mid-Solano Complete Street Update

As of the last GREENways sent on March 19th, the Traffic and Safety Commission had voted unanimously for the complete alternative supported by AS&R to be included in the Mid-Solano Complete Streets Plan. This design has wider sidewalks, an uphill cycletrack or parking protected cycling lane, parallel car parking on the north side for safer cycling downhill, and maintains the current car parking inventory.

The next night the Climate Action Committee unanimously rejected the primary design put forward by the consultant to widen the sidewalks a bit and add more car parking, even though Albany’s own parking study adopted by the Council in 2017 recommends against doing so. The Committee also unanimously voted in favor of the design supported by AS&R. This was all particularly good news because this Committee was not even planned to consider the Mid-Solano plan as of late February, which was exceedingly odd given that the majority of Albany’s greenhouse pollution results from transportation.

As a result of the Climate Action Committee’s vote, the prospective schedule to have the Council adopt the consultant’s plan on April 15th has completely fallen apart. Staff first relayed that the Council’s consideration would be delayed until its second May meeting. Late last week staff updated this relaying that over the next two weeks staff and the consultant would be developing a new schedule including a public process around the AS&R-supported alternative. This suggests the Plan will not go to Council until June at the earliest and most likely later than that.

Meanwhile, enjoy the graph below showing the results of one study regarding how much people spend locally by different transportation mode. This graph contributed to the Economic Development Committee continuing consideration of the mid-Solano Plan to date uncertain to allow itself more time for study when faced with the question of more car parking or possibly more business revenue by dedicated space to other modes.

 

Solano Complete Streets better alternative

AS&R has expressed disappointment in the Solano Complete Streets Draft Plan that was released in February 2019. The plan offered no improvements for people riding bikes on Solano Ave. We heard from many people that bikes don’t really belong on Solano Ave., there are good alternative east-west bike routes nearby, and if we want to shop on Solano by bike we should just arrive from a side street and park at the corner. This is antithetical to the concept of Complete Streets.

The Traffic & Safety Commission took a big step to improve the plan at its meeting on February 28th. The Commission viewed a new alternative design that would welcome bike riding on Solano, offer more sidewalk space for people walking, and maintain roughly the car parking capacity that the street has today.

The new design provides a safe, protected bike lane for people riding uphill, avoiding conflicts with drivers using the diagonal parking. In the downhill direction, bike riders would share the lane with car traffic, alongside a parallel parking strip.

The Traffic & Safety Commission unanimously asked for the new alternative to be included in the plan.

The final plan, coming soon, may offer a range of alternative designs to consider. AS&R will support alternatives that encourage more people to shop on Solano using active transportation, and will oppose alternatives that invite more car use:

  • The primary design in February’s draft plan devotes more public space to car parking and does not recommend any tools to manage parking demand. It makes no improvements for people biking. It widens sidewalks a little, but not enough for a main street. Some features meant to help people walk across the wide street would create new hazards for those biking. AS&R opposes this design.
  • February’s draft plan recommends studying back-in angled parking as an alternative to today’s parking configuration. This would improve safety for people biking, but would not encourage a wide range of people to try biking.
  • AS&R enthusiastically supports the new design with the protected bike lane. It provides safe spaces for people to ride bikes from ages 8 to 80, devotes more space for walking, and does not encourage additional driving. This is a true Complete Street.