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Bike Lane Coalition Delivers Postcards To Mayor

Albany is trying to become a more modern city, with a new focus on downtown projects and housing and a conversation about transportation alternatives. Earlier today, activists delivered about 250 postcards to Mayor Kathy Sheehan from residents, business owners and visitors who want protected bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue.

Protected bike lanes are more than a standard paint-only bike lane – the lanes feature a physical barrier between people on bicycles and motor vehicles.

The bike lanes would be installed as part of the upcoming "Madison Avenue Road Diet."   The city has solicited public comment on several road designs planned for Madison Avenue, the busy thoroughfare. The comment period ends on Sunday. 10th ward councilwoman Leah Golby:    "If you look through the city's different alternatives for the Madison Avenue Road Diet, there are two of them that have parking-protected bike lanes, and so the Protected Bikelane Coalition supports either one of those options."

The lanes are springing up all over the country. Jason D'Cruz with the Protective Bicycle Lane Coalition notes typical lane barriers include posts, planters, curbs and parked cars. "Between the parked cars and the curb there would be a bike lane installed, just for bicycles, that would separate the uses of the street between pedestrians, cyclist and cars, each of them get their own part of the street, and it makes it safer for all who use it."

Proponents of the lanes say they bring out more people on bikes instead of cars, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality and health. For Albany, D'Cruz says this is a do-or-die deal.   "There is no back-up plan. So this is really a rare opportunity that we have with the Madison Avenue Road Diet. It's not something that we've had funding for for a very, very long time. It's not something that we've had the political will for, until we've had this new mayor, so we really think that the time is now - it has to happen now."

Credit WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Mayor Sheehan on "Bike to Work Day." (2015)

The mayor was not in when the postcards were delivered, but Golby says she's been known to take to two wheels.  "She definitely rode her bike on 'Bike to Work Day.' She definitely supports a more bicycle-friendly city, and she's been very open to the Protective Bikelane Coalition."

For more information about Protected Bike Lanes, visit the following pages of the People for Bikes’ Green Lane Project:

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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