Upcoming Events

Oct
24
Thu
5:00 pm AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
Oct 24 @ 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! All are invited. Got a gripe, question or idea that would make cycling or walking better? Hungry or thirsty?[...]
Nov
2
Sat
1:00 pm Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Work... @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Work... @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Nov 2 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Workshop @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley | Berkeley | California | United States
Want to ride more but don’t feel confident enough? Know anyone else who fits this description (partner, spouse, parent, teenage or older child?) Here’s a FREE bicycle skills class, courtesy of Bike East Bay (with support from[...]
Nov
20
Wed
7:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
Nov 20 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited!
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[...]
Dec
5
Thu
7:00 pm Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Dec 5 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
The Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting is a great place to make your ideas known, find out about the transportation issues and projects in Albany, and help improve things for cyclists and pedestrians in and[...]
Dec
7
Sat
1:00 pm Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Work... @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Work... @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Dec 7 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Urban Cycling 101 Classroom Workshop @ Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley | Berkeley | California | United States
Want to ride more but don’t feel confident enough? Know anyone else who fits this description (partner, spouse, parent, teenage or older child?) Here’s a FREE bicycle skills class, courtesy of Bike East Bay (with support from[...]
Jan
15
Wed
7:00 pm AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
AS&R Meeting – You’re Invited!
Jan 15 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AS&R Meeting - You're Invited!
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
23
Thu
7:00 pm Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Jan 23 @ 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[...]
Feb
27
Thu
5:00 pm AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
AS&R Happy Hour Meeting – eat, d... @ Everest Kitchen
Feb 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! 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.

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 like they were 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.

Bike to Work Day Coordinator Needed - FOUND!

Standing Room Only at AS&R’s 2018 Bike to Work Day Energizer Station!
courtesy Francesco Papalia

UPDATE – Elizabeth Vahlsing answered our call to co-coordinate 2019 Bike to Work Day!
It’s the beginning of February, but advocates are already gearing up for Bike Month in May, and Bike to Work Day (BtWD) May 9, 2019. 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. I (Nick Pilch) had the privilege of running this station for a number of years and it always gave me 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.

There was plenty of food, thanks to our generous donors, and volunteers distributed it and plenty of information!


Albany Strollers & Rollers is in need of an organizer for this year. As an organizer, 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, and local publicity are also part of this effort, but you would have a lot of help. A number of us (Nick, Ken, Amy, Sylvia) can answer any questions and help out with these things, as well as drum up a bunch of other volunteers for you. We just need a main organizer. Your help would go a long way towards  advancing Active Transportation.

Do I see coffee and treats?! courtesy Melanie Mintz

A kick-off meeting with Bike East Bay is coming up this week, and it would be really helpful if you could attend that if you are interested. Attendance at that is not mandatory, but it would be a great way to learn more.

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

Stuffing bags for everyone who rolls by is FUN!! If you can help, please email Ken at kenmccroskey@gmail.com – thanks!

Thanks, Volunteers, Supporting Businesses & Organizations, for a Successful Solano Stroll!

AS&R volunteers parked hundreds of bikes at the 44th Annual Solano Stroll!
Photo courtesy Amy

Albany Strollers & Rollers had another successful Solano Stroll (the 44th annual!) on Sunday, September 9th.
Thanks to the many volunteers who were busy from 9am-5:30pm on a bluebird day, we parked more than 280 bicycles on our “Moved By Bikes” Valet Racks at two Bicycle Valet Parking lots. Visitors from Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, San Leandro, Pinole and beyond had ridden to the Stroll – some with an assist from BART – and expressed gratitude that we were there to look after their steeds. More than once I was told that without our service, they would have skipped the event.

People of all ages, bikes of all types!
Photo courtesy Patsy Reese

Our Bicycle Valet Parking volunteers were expertly led by Sylvia Paull, Barb Altenberg, Joseph Friedman, Mac McCurdy and rackmeister Ken McCroskey.
Volunteers Shauniece Williams (who worked all day with barely a lunch break!!), Dave Nicely (he of 3 Stroll booths!), Mike Gill, Nico Primmer, Joan Gallagher, Shantee Baker, Anne Malamud, Bryce & Lyell Nesbitt, Reuben from Brooklyn, John Alexander, Ian MacLeod, Tony Caine, Jackie Wang and Jacky Zhao helped check in, park and retrieve bikes. We needed every single one of you to make the operation go smoothly! Extra added bonus – there were zero unclaimed bikes at the end of the day!

Our table was hopping all day and volunteers answered any & all questions!

Of course, AS&R had its usual information table in front of the west lot. Longtime “super volunteers” Michael Primmer & Lynn Eve Komaromi, new “super volunteers” Megan Padilla & Jean-Marie Enjuto, Eileen Walsh, Nick Pilch, Ken McCroskey, Peter Maass and I engaged people and did outreach on behalf of AS&R  – and cycling in general. We spoke to Stroll-goers of all ages, answered questions about all aspects of bicycles, bicycling & walking, signed up 18 new members (if you’re reading this, welcome!!), and sold a bunch of “Check for Bikes” clings & bumper stickers and our reflective leg bands (Jean-Marie was a pro!)
As I was suffering from a wrenched back, I especially appreciated the proactive setup crew (Michael, Shantee, Eileen, Ken, Nico, Barb & Sylvia) who lifted, moved, hung, taped and placed tents, tables, banners, racks, signage and gear flawlessly!

Where else can you scooter down a Red Carpet?

The support of businesses and other organizations is crucial to our success at this and other event:
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 extra effort she puts into helping us at all our events. Del of the new restaurant Brazilian Breads at the top of Solano provided lunch to the volunteers at the Wells Fargo lot so we all

Everyone enjoyed Kim’s Cafe’s Iced Tea on a warm September day

enjoyed delicious lunches! Cathy from Kim’s Cafe & Sandwiches brewed up some special Mango Mint Iced Tea for volunteers & visitors, and Desiree of RXBAR donated hundreds of delicious protein bars for all the volunteers and many visitors, too!

Special thanks to Grizzly Peak Cyclists who lent us their two pop-up tents via Sherie Reineman, Robby from Abrams Claghorn Gallery for letting me store some of our large gear in the back of his gallery, Bradley Blackshire for purchasing drink dispensers & trays for AS&R, Fern’s Garden and BikeLink for providing gift cards, Laurent from Rendez-Vous Cafe Bistro for sponsoring our reflective bands, Janka from Floor Dimensions for the “Red Carpet” that led cyclists up the ramp to our west lot, Francesco for building the customized ramp, and Brad & Linda Carlton, who lent us their folding tables.

Upon further reflection, we had another great Solano Stroll!

A final thank you goes out to Allen Cain and the Solano Avenue Association, who make Bicycle Valet Parking a priority for this huge regional event and put 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 join us for #45!
If you’ve gotten this far and appreciate the service AS&R provides, please vote for us (you!) in category #32 for “Best of Albany Community Service” award here!
Thanks, all!

Photo courtesy Ken McCroskey

See you soon!

VOTE FOR AS&R FOR “BEST OF ALBANY COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD!” BY SEPTEMBER 19th!

Do you or your family use the many bike racks around town that AS&R has helped fund and install? Please vote for us for “Best of Albany Community Service Award!”

Hey gang, here’s your chance to acknowledge your favorite community service organization, us, Albany Strollers & Rollers! Every year the Albany Chamber of Commerce holds a Best of Albany contest. There are 37 categories this year – you can skip some, but please vote in category 32, “Best of Albany Community Service Award.” Be sure to click “Done” at the bottom of the page.

AS&R members help keep Albany rolling!!
photo courtesy Amy Smolens

For more than one voter in a household using the same, shared computer, be warned that multiple votes are locked out unless you delete cookies between your votes or use different browsers.

Help pump AS&R up by voting for AS&R in category #32, Best Community Service organization – thanks!

Voting for the 2018 Best of Albany winners is open through September 19th at 5 pm. The URL to cast your vote is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BestofAlbany2018Voting
We also invite you to pass the link on to family, friends and neighbors (along with a plug for AS&R, of course!)
Thanks for your support and for being a part of AS&R! Winners will be announced September 27th.

Another Successful & Fun Bike Month!

Standing Room Only at AS&R’s 2018 Bike to Work Day Energizer Station!
courtesy Francesco Papalia

Bike Month 2018 is not quite over but we can report on the fun and successes that we all had, thanks to the volunteers at all the events!
On May 4th Gjergji, Joan, Julie, Ken and Will stuffed 300 musette bags full of swag – bike lights, information, discount cards, snacks –  for the upcoming Bike to Work Day…without those great Bike East Bay bags, Bike to Work Day wouldn’t have the cachet that it has!
Almost a week later, the 25th annual Bike to Work Day was a rousing success. At our Albany Energizer Station, more than 500 cyclists went by while we were there.

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

Thank you to all who stopped by to eat, drink, get your bike checked or chat about bike stuff!
I’d to thank Bradley B, Francesco P, Jane L, Jessica M, Julie W-L, Ken M, Mac M, Margo W, Mike G, Nick P, Peggy M, Pete M, Bike East Bay’s Ruth K, Samantha H, Shoey S, Sylvia P and “the Backroads Bunch” of Breeze W, Brittany H, Cooper M, Melissa P & Stacy L for staffing the station, setting things up, distributing swag & snacks, counting cyclists,  and just keeping things running! Without YOU, the volunteers, this absolutely could not happen.
Jessica, Mac, Mike and Francesco each took some great photos documenting the fast-paced morning…as did Melanie, on her way to work! Francesco even took this video, for those of you who want to relive the fun or see what you missed.

Do I see coffee and breakfast?! courtesy Melanie Mintz

There was plenty of food and drink for everyone, thanks to the generous donations by local businesses Kim’s Cafe  (Cathy) and Royal Ground Coffee (Mike)  Trader Joe’s El Cerrito (Dao,)  Semifreddi’s (Rachael,) GU Energy (Jessica & Germán,) Safeway (Cherise & LaToya) and Sprouts (Brenda & Jen), plus Barney Butter (Alexandra) non-GMO almond butter from the Central Valley!
And Mattison L volunteered to do the shopping at Safeway and Sprouts, taking a load off of Ken!!
Rob from Blue Heron Bikes and Winston from Berkeley Bikes & Skateboards volunteered their time, checking your bicycles for safety and road-worthiness as they have in previous years!

Bradley with freshly baked Semifreddi’s bread!
courtesy Jessica McGowen

Bradley Blackshire of Edward Jones did triple duty: as a sponsor, he bought AS&R drink dispensers, serving trays and tongs that we can use at all future events; as an Alameda resident he picked up 50 baguettes fresh from the oven at Semifreddi’s for our Energizer Station; then he volunteered all morning at the station!

Cyclists streamed by all morning!
courtesy Mac McCurdy

Nice turnout for 2018’s first Bike About Town!
courtesy Ken McCroskey

Bike About Town family fun rides began on May 18th and we had a fine turnout for a loop around Albany. Brennen from the City of Albany, Gjergji, Jerry, Ken, Sylvia and I rode with the group and had a great time. I hope more of you will join us on upcoming rides!

 

 

APAL gave out free helmets and AS&R volunteers made sure they fit the kids.
courtesy Amy Smolens

The APAL Bicycle Rodeo took place last Saturday. Hundreds of kids and their parents enjoyed a cycling confidence course run by Cycles of Change, BMX demos, the famous “Bike Blender,” getting their face painted by Ping F, and talking to me about how to safely ride on the streets of Albany and beyond.
Britt T, Gjergji Z and Ken M fitted some of the 100 new helmets that Albany PD gave out, and tweaked old helmets, too.

EVERYONE loves pedal powering – and drinking – a fruit smoothie!
courtesy Amy Smolens

Tenisha N, Albany MTB team member Griffin and a bunch of student volunteers kept the blender filled & running so the kids could power their way to blend smoothies for themselves, their families (and us, too.)
Bike Month isn’t quite over, and the City is sponsoring a Bike-In Movie (Chariots of Fire) and mini-Bike About Town tomorrow (Friday.)
And Pat, owner of Tay Tah Cafe and Bua Luang Thai Cuisine, is offering Bike Month Discounts through May 31st:
If you bike to Tay Tah from Monday through Friday during May, when you buy one Boba Drink you get another of the same flavor FREE! So ride over with a friend and enjoy!
If you bike to Bua Luang, when you buy one kid’s meal you get another kid’s meal FREE!

Pat, who runs Tay Tah and Bua Luang, has always been supportive of AS&R

Fern donated gift cards for AS&R’s volunteers so check out her shop’s cool bike section!

I want to give extra recognition to businesses and owners BLUE HERON (Rob), BUA LUANG  (Pat,) AND FERN’S GARDEN (Fern, obviously) for donating special gift cards or coupons for all of our Bike Month Volunteers as a thank you for your time and service to the community!!! I truly appreciate those small businesses, as well as our other supporters (see description of BtWD) for going the extra mile to give back to AS&R’s volunteers and show that they are really involved with our community!

…and we can always count on Rob’s generosity!