Capital District Transportation Committee

Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force

Record of Meeting on April 13, 2000




Attendance: Herb Alfasso (MHCC), Mark Cashman (MHCC/LAB), Dom DeCecco (Retired), Don Odell (Albany County EDC&P), Bob Ostiguy (MHCC), Paul Russell (Town of Colonie), Bert Schou (CDTA), Katherine Forster (CDTC)


Regrets: Ivan Vamos (NYBC), Don Robertson (NYSDOT - Region 1)




There were no changes to the March Task Force meeting notes.




(October 26, 1999) P. Russell will bring a map re: proposed bike path from Schuyler Flats to the next meeting. (See Item 3.1).

(March 9, 2000) B. Schou will amalgamate the bus route suggestions into one master list and meet with CDTA to discuss the preferred routes for the bike racks.  (See Item 3.2).

(March 9, 2000) The Task Force can review the guidelines and submit comments by March 27.  (See Item 4.1).




3.1 Schuyler Flats Bike Trail: P. Russell received a grant from Clean Water Clean Air.  This grant will enable him to start work on Schuyler Flats Park.  He is also requested funding for some transportation elements in the park.  Schuyler Flats is in between the Village of Menands and the City of Watervliet.  There is the opportunity with this new park being developed to create a connection from the Mohawk-Hudson bike trail to Bike Route 9 and the Albany cemetery.  There is also the possibility of a connection along the west side of the I-787 back to Albany.  The proposed actions are:

-        Extend the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike trail south where it comes out at Broadway and Fourth Street in Watervliet along the existing sewer line into Schuyler Flats park. (The City of Watervliet is looking at ways to extend the trail north along the river to Hudson Shores Park).

-        Add a new parking lot on the west side of the I-787 at Broadway and Fourth St. in Watervliet.

-        Connect Schuyler Flats to Bike Route 9/Broadway and into the Albany Cemetery by making a bike path behind Two Guys along Route 378.

-        Connect to the Troy-Menands bridge (TIP funding for bicycle accommodations on the bridge) and link to South Troy Urban Bike path.

-        Continue the bike link under Route 378 and into the undeveloped land beside the      I-787 and create another path leading back to Albany.


D. Odell will look into who owns the Two Guys property (perhaps the Town or the State could buy a bit of the property for the bicycle path).  A contact at the Village of Menands would be helpful to see if the Village is interested in the project.  It was mentioned that the Village has been looking for ways to access the river. B. Schou will talk to Ted Thompson about the Park and Ride site.  If there is any reconstruction involving Route 378 or I-787 perhaps the state could help with the project? 



3.2 Bikes on Buses: B. Schou is continuing the work on consolidating the priority list.  Another suburban route may be considered.  Suburban routes with bike racks will help extend the bus catchment area.   Many suburbs have limited sidewalks and this will offer the bus rider an option of riding to the bus stop.  While not all bus routes will be equipped with bike racks this year, CDTA is hoping to have full implementation on all buses in a few years (the shuttle services will need special racks).


CDTA is still forming its policies regarding this new program.  Minors (13 or under) will not be allowed to use the racks.  The question of permits for using the racks is still being decided.  There will need to be some information supplied to those who use the racks.  For example all bike pumps and water bottles need to be taken off before the bike is put on the rack.


One suggestion was for CDTA to start the program and see how it works before deciding on whether to implement a permit policy.  It was also suggested that CDTA make a presentation to the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club in regards to the operation of the racks.  B. Schou does have a short video on the bike racks.  He will bring it to the next Task Force meeting.  The schedule for the program is as follows: April - route selection, May-June - RFP, Aug - Implementation.



3.3 Spot Improvement Program: Staff received 17 projects from the municipalities in the Capital District.  These projects were evaluated and then grouped into three categories: Category 1 - Projects recommended for funding; Category 2 - Projects recommended for funding with some minor changes and Category 3 - Projects that didn't really fit the intent of the program.  The Category 3 projects would need some scaling down and rescoping to be considered "Spot Improvements" by the evaluation team. 


The CDTC Planning Committee met on April 5 to discuss the program.  Being that the funding for this program is federal-aid money, Planning Committee directed staff to verify with each municipality that they knew the administration procedure required by the federal-aid program and to encourage the municipalities to explore the possibility of bundling their project if the money was awarded.  The decision regarding the awarding of the money was deferred until May.


The Task Force discussed the issue of sidewalks: the availability or lack of funding for sidewalk projects; the responsibility of the municipalities to maintain the sidewalks (and their liability if they are not maintained) and the method of snowplowing with the snow plows pushing the snow from the road onto the sidewalks adding to the snow that has to be cleared by the municipality.


3.4 TEA-21 Enhancement Program: The announcement for the Enhancement Program Awards was made for the Region 1 area last month.  The City of Albany and Troy received Enhancement funding.  Other areas have not heard award announcements for the program yet.  The City of Albany's project (approximately $985,500) goes towards constructing a ramp to connect the I-787 pedestrian bridge to a new pedestrian promenade, and developing a welcome center and bus turnaround area and shelter.  The City of Troy's project (approximately $1,644,000) goes towards building a six-mile riverfront pedestrian and bicycle trail in downtown Troy.


The CDTC Enhancement Program will be discussed at the Planning Committee in June.  Plans are to announce the program in June-July, ask for proposals to be submitted mid-summer and then award the money in September-October.


3.5 CDTC Linkages Program: The Linkage program was intended to undertake tasks that respond to community planning initiatives and that help to advance New Visions strategies.  $100,000 in staff effort and $315,000 in consultant's effort was allocated for this program.  These funds are for planning assistance only not capital improvements.  Examples of projects are: access management, development of design standards, traffic management, pedestrian facilities plan, highway safety plan, etc.


It was reported at a previous Task Force meeting that the funding had been awarded.  CDTC staff is now informing the recipients of this funding on how to proceed with their projects.  Some will be administered at CDTC; some will be administered by private consultants.  The Bicycle Path Master Plan for Schenectady will be administered by CDTC staff.  Before this project can start, a work program must be approved.  The City and OPRHP and the Task Force will be involved in this project.


The Urban Bike Path Design Guidelines is a consultant's project.  The City of Schenectady is responsible for writing up the Request for Proposal (RFP) and hiring the consultant.  CDTC staff will keep the Task Force informed of the progress of this project.




4.1 Bike Signage Guidelines: Comments on the guidelines were received from the Task Force.  The Canal Corporation sent their Signage Design Guidelines to help with our work.  The comments will help create the final draft for review by the municipalities.  The guidelines will also be sent out to MHCC and OPRHP for their comments.


4.2 Regional Bike/Hike Map: CDTC staff has been collecting a lot of data in the last couple of months.  Municipal bike routes are one of the items still missing.  Staff passed around a couple of examples of different maps to further the discussion on what the new map should look like.  It will definitely be in color but there will be an incredible amount of information on one map.  Blowups of sections and map size will be an important consideration.  The Task Force commented that while information on bike shops was great to have, it might be hard to keep the information up to date, especially on newer shops.  Staff will prepare a map to show to the Task Force at the next meeting.





5.1 USDOT Joint Statement on Integrating Bicycling and Walking: The USDOT developed a policy statement that bicycle and walking facilities will be incorporated into all transportation projects unless exceptional circumstances exist.  This statement includes both the approaches to achieving this policy that have already worked in some State and local agencies and action items that a public agency, professional association or advocacy group can take to implement the approaches and policy described above.


NYSDOT's policy in regards to accommodating bicyclists and pedestrian facilities has always stated that these must be considered.  The language has never been written in such a way as to commit themselves to this type of integration for all projects.  D. Robertson may be able to inform the Task Force at the next meeting as to whether NYSDOT is considering adopting this new policy statement.


5.2 National Bike Month: The League of American Bicyclists designates May as Bike Month.  The third week of May had been designated Bike Safety Week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  A couple of local organizations that are doing bike activities in May are:


NYSDOH - The Division of Nutrition has a program called: Eat Well - Play Hard.  They are planning a cross the state bicycle trip starting in Albany going to Buffalo.  It starts with a kick-off on the 30th of May at the Corning Preserve.

May 17 & 18 is National Employee Health and Fitness days.  NYSDOH is promoting walking initiatives such as sign-ups to walk on Wednesdays and walking in the park.


MHCC - The Cycling Club will take part in Clifton Park Sports' Bicycle Expo on Saturday, May 20 from 10:00 - 4:00 pm and they are advertising the Bike Month events in their newsletter (National Bike to Work Week May 14-20).


Albany County Traffic Safety Board - The Traffic Safety Board will be running Bicycle Safety Training on May 17 for police officers from three counties: Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Albany.  This is a certificate program where they complete the day's training and must sign up for at least one bike rodeo to receive their certificate.




-        The next CDTC Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 11, at the CDTC office, 5 Computer Dr. West, at 4:30 p.m.