Capital District Transportation Committee

Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force

Record of Meeting on December 17, 1999



Attendance: Lance Ferson (Private Consultant), Kevin McLoughlin (HRV Greenway), Don Odell (Albany County Dept. of Economic Development, Conservation and Planning), Don Robertson (NYSDOT - Region 1), Deb Spicer (NYSDOH), Ivan Vamos, (New York Bicycling Coalition), Katherine Forster (CDTC)


Regrets: Dominick DeCecco (Albany County Legislator), Paul Russell (Town of Colonie), Monique Wahba (City of Albany Planning Department)




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




2.1 City of Albany Pedestrian Bridge: Lance Ferson from the consulting firm of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott made a presentation on the design for the pedestrian bridge.  The project was dormant for awhile but it is starting up again.  The bridge will be off of Broadway on Maiden Lane (between the two parking garages for SUNY and the City of Albany).  It will be highly visible from the Hudson riverfront park and there will be indicators on Broadway to show where the pedestrian bridge is.  The bridge will be made to appear different from typical bridge design when viewed from the 787.


There needs to be more details ironed out for the touchdowns.  The consultants are looking for input on the bridge design, especially on the touchdowns and how to accommodate bicyclists.  The 787 is lower at that spot but the bridge still must be 25 feet high to cross the highways.  They have some conceptual ideas for the design.  A newly formed committee with the City of Albany will be approving the design.  The proposed start to construction is in 2000.  There are grant sources for the bridge but the City is still applying for funding for the necessary touchdowns.


In regards to accommodating cyclists some ideas are to have the cyclists use an elevator (which would be the preferred way to accommodate the disabled), or have a ramp down to the parking garage.  A ramp from Maiden Lane would be difficult because it would have to be 200 feet long.  The State Historic Preservations Office (SHPO) is not in favour of the Maiden Lane ramp proposal.


Ivan Vamos has seen accommodations where there is a groove along the side of the stairs so that the bike can be walked down or up easily.  He will look for the literature.  Another consideration will have to be how to accommodate pedestrian with strollers.


There will have to be some type of fencing to prohibit objects from being thrown off etc. but if the Task Force can identify any other examples of creative fencing it would be appreciated.  Ivan Vamos described the bridge in River Bank State Park, which used an inventive fencing approach.  He gave Lance Ferson the name of the architect who designed the bridge.  The Task Force appreciated being updated and involved in this project and requested to be kept up to date on the details of the project.


2.2 Bikes on Buses: This item was deferred to the January meeting.




(September 16, 1999) Staff to summarize the results of the trail maintenance survey for a future meeting.  (See Item 4.2)

(October 26, 1999) P. Russell will bring a map re: proposed Bike Path from Schuyler Flats to the next meeting.  P. Russell provided an aerial view map of Schuyler Flats.  This item was deferred to January so that there would be sufficient time to discuss the topic.

(November 18, 1999) Write-up for this program and the CDTC's Enhancement Program to be included in the mail-out for the Task Force to review.  (See Item 4.3)

(November 18, 1999) CDTA will endeavor to bring some information on the Bikes on Buses program to the next meeting.  (See Item 2.2)




4.1 Draft of Bike Signage Guidelines: Suggestions on the newest version of the draft Capital District Bike Signage Guidelines were received from Steve Allocco and Monique Wahba.  They will be incorporated into the draft and then discussions with CDTC's staff director will be held as to what the next step should be.  A buy-in from the various municipalities and counties that would be using these guidelines would be of value.  A good place to start would be at the next meeting for the Albany County's Waterfront Committee.  The municipalities that are involved with that committee would include all the Hudson riverfront municipalities such as Watervliet, Green Island and Cohoes.



4.2 Bike Trail Maintenance Survey: CDTC staff handed out a one-page summary of the Trail Maintenance Survey results.  The results showed that there is a level of consistency between the municipalities and counties who maintain the trail.  One difference however is the amount that each budgets for trail maintenance.  Two do not even have specific budgets for the trail.  CDTC also received an inquiry after the survey was sent out regarding grants for funding asphalt resurfacing.  While Federal Enhancement grants cannot be used for maintenance, they can be used for reconstruction.  Another survey question that should have been asked is if the municipalities and counties have a reserve of signs so that replacements can be done easily in the field when needed.


4.3 Spot Improvement Program: A write-up for this program and the CDTC's Enhancement Program were included in the mail-out for the Task Force to review.  In regards to the Spot Improvement Program the Task Force had these suggestions:

-        On Pg. 3 where it says that maps would not be required, it was suggested that some kind of map should be required.

-        On Pg. 3. (Evaluation) it was suggested that there be a point scale for the overmatch of funds.  It was also suggested that the program state that volunteers, donations and other in-kind services would count towards the overmatch.

-        Also in regards to the Spot Improvement Program, it was suggested that the selection committee should have the chance to break down the projects and fund partial projects as it is in the CDTC Enhancement program.

-        The Task Force agreed that safety was an important element to this program.


In regards to the CDTC's Enhancement program the Task Force suggested that this program be different from the Federal program in that it would only fund bicycle and pedestrian projects and disregard the historic, wildlife and other such projects .  The thought was that since we are a Metropolitan Planning Organization we should fund only transportation projects.


NYBC is also working on getting a change in the Federal legislation so that the Federal Enhancement program would fund only bicycle and pedestrian projects.  Ivan Vamos noted that the other types of projects (historic, etc.) have other sources in which they can apply for grants while this is the only funding source for bicycle and pedestrians.




5.1 Regional Bike Map: CDTC staff provided a handout that listed the components for the map.  Trails and routes were listed as well as elements such as picnic areas, bike shops, parks and historic sites, etc.  The Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force suggested other trails and routes that were not listed and suggested that CDTA routes, CDTA phone number and major road names be added to the elements list.


The next step is to contact various municipalities and organizations and gather all the trails and routes to be mapped.  If they are already mapped and can be transferred directly to CDTC's GIS this will be done.



5.2 Livingston Avenue Bridge: Ivan Vamos reported that there was an article in the paper this month regarding the Livingston Avenue Bridge pedestrian crossing.  He would like to put this item on the agenda for the next meeting to discuss how to proceed in regards to this issue.  While CDTC, as an MPO, cannot advocate in regards to this, the various organizations represented at the meeting can discuss how they would like to approach this issue individually.  Suggestions from the Task Force were to commission a study to counteract specific objections (swing bridge, high speed trains) and to write to the New York State Senators Joseph Bruno and Neil Breslin since this project will be using federal and state funding.





-        The next CDTC Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 13, at the CDTC office, 5 Computer Dr. West, at 4:00 p.m.

-        Two public meetings regarding the draft recommendations for the nomination of the Champlain Canal Byway will be held on Tuesday, January 11th at 7pm, Town offices, Route 4, Fort Ann and Wednesday, January 12th at 7pm, Senior Citizens' Community Center, 178 North Main Street, Mechanicville.