Capital District Transportation Committee

Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force

Record of Meeting on July 12, 2000


Attendance: Richard Nussbalm (Interested Citizen), Nicholas Ostapkovich (City of Watervliet), Joshua Poppel (Interested Citizen), Bert Schou (CDTA), Deb Spicer (NYSDOH), Elaine Troy (NYSDOH), Ivan Vamos (NYBC), Katherine Forster (CDTC)


There were no changes to the June Task Force meeting notes. NYSDOH Initiatives and Slingerlands Bypass/Delaware Avenue were added to the agenda.


(May 11, 2000) CDTC staff will create a summary of the various municipalities' policies on bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. No action on this item has been done.

(May 11, 2000) CDTC staff will contact Main Office DOT to see what the status is for tracking new sidewalks and bike trails. No action on this item has been done.

(June 8, 2000) CDTC staff will distribute a draft of the New Visions 2030 report to the Task Force to review. See Item 4.3


3.1 Bikes on Buses: The bike rack sub-committee meeting was led by Martin Hull from CDTA. He presented a draft list of the bus routes to be equipped with racks. Both commuter and recreational routes will be covered, ensuring that many of the racks can be used both weekdays and weekends. Geographic coverage, access to colleges and bike group suggestions have also been an important consideration. The sub-committee had a few suggestions for changes to the list but they felt the final decision should be CDTA's.

This summer CDTA will have 6 bike racks to use on Bus Route 29 which goes from Cohoes to Albany. This route gives access to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and Siena College. CDTA is also working on a draft brochure describing the new bike rack service. Suggestions for the distribution of this brochure are welcome. The Task Force suggested the Empire State Plaza bike racks, bike stores, and bus shelters. CDTA also has a display rack to demonstrate how to mount a bike on the racks.

3.2 The Big Picture - Capital District Bicycle Links: P. Russell has been talking with various municipalities (Watervliet, Menands, Troy) about the possibilities for linking up the different trails and bike routes. The Menands Bridge bike access project (on the CDTC TIP) is one such project that can help connect the bike paths in Troy and Rensselaer with the Regional Bike-Hike Trail and other local ones including Schuyler Flatts. There is a sidewalk on the bridge already. The main difficulty is access onto the bridge on the west side. The City of Troy has not indicated when this project will be done.

N. Ostapkovich from the City of Watervliet gave details about the bike project the city is trying to advance. Their project would see the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail extended from where it presently leaves the river and goes under the I-787 to 4th Street and Broadway. The regional trail becomes a three-foot on-road shoulder from there. The $2.1 million project would extend the trail along the river up to the Hudson Shores Park. Watervliet is hoping to receive funding for this project through the Transportation Bond Act. The project cost is high because there are portions of the trail that would have to be built out along the riverfront (especially in front of the Arsenal).


4.1 CDTC Linkages Program: CDTC staff distributed a draft scope of the two bicycle linkage projects. These two projects which are the Bike Path Master Plan and the Urban Bike Path Guidelines have been combined (with the guidelines requested as an appendix to the master plan). The Task Force was asked to give comments on the scope within the next week or so. Some suggestions at the meeting included:

Other suggestions included having NYSDOH host a Pedestrian Roadshow in the city. E. Troy could garner the support of the health professionals there. B. Schou would like to know if the CDTC Linkage program will be repeated in the next year or so. Staff will inquire into the future plans for this program.


4.2 Regional Bike/Hike Map: The regional map is still being worked on by staff. The next step after gathering all the routes and trails available for the map is to discuss with a professional map maker what should be represented at what scales. R. Nussbalm suggested that CDTC staff look into a product called X-Map. It is a very user-friendly software that creates quality maps. The cost is around $100. It will show streets at different scales and with it you can add routing information (such as bike trails). There is more information on the web page I. Vamos suggested getting in touch with Kristin Bennett who works at the MPO in Monroe County who has experience with creating bike maps.

4.3 CDTC New Visions 2030 Update: Staff circulated a draft copy of the 2030 summary for the Task Force to review. The summary highlights the current bicycle and pedestrian efforts in different levels of government and at various organizations, other changes that would affect bicycle and pedestrian planning and how this may result in changes to the long range plan for the Capital District. The summaries from the four task forces (Finance, Travel, Freight, and Bicycle and Pedestrian) will be presented to the CDTC Planning Committee this fall. The Task Force is asked to review the summary and send comments to K. Forster. D. Spicer indicated that she would add some information about the NYSDOH initiatives to the summary.



5.1 New Hampshire Bicycle and Walk Conference: Due to the full agenda this item had to be deferred. It was decided that the information about the conference in May would be added to the July notes for the Task Force members to read. Please see the attachment to these notes.

5.2 Rte 5 Corridor Land Use and Transportation Study: CDTC staff have been working on this study for over a year. Design charettes were held to help create a vision for the future of this corridor. 14,000 flyers were sent out to those who live, work or travel along Central Avenue to describe the proposed vision. Responses were requested as to whether people liked this vision for the corridor and if they would accept current congestion levels if improvements could be made for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. 600 responses were received and a large percentage indicated that they did like the vision and would accept current congestion levels if there were improvements made for the other modes.

There will be three public information meetings about the study along the Route 5 corridor in Albany, Colonie and Schenectady. CDTC staff invited the Task Force to the meetings if they wanted more information. I. Vamos wanted to ensure that there were considerations for the provisions for bicyclists. Some Task Force members were interested in how the vision would be implemented. Some examples were Main St. programs and an "Entitlement Community" CD (Albany, Colonie, Schenectady are all entitlement communities). B. Schou requested some more of the Route 5 brochures to hand out on the buses.


5.3 Slingerlands Bypass and Delaware Rerouting: The Town of Bethlehem's Pedestrian Safety Committee is considering what type of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations they would like included with the Slingerlands Bypass project. The project manager, Rob Cherry has been invited to a meeting to discuss these provisions. NYSDOT has prepared the pre-draft design report which the Town of Bethlehem is reviewing now. The draft design report will be available in a couple of months. The Task Force may be able to comment at that time. B. Schou commented that the South Bethlehem connection to Blessing Road is very important and should be a consideration.

The Delaware Avenue closure may be a good opportunity for the Town and NYSDOT to look into how people are commuting to Albany. There may be opportunities to enhance the accommodations of other travel modes when Delaware Avenue is repaired. Even details such as the placement of the detour signs should be a focus. Right now the detour signs have been put on the sidewalks making it difficult for pedestrians especially those with strollers or in wheelchairs to navigate the corridor. R. Nussbalm noted that more people are biking due to the lower volume of cars on Delaware Avenue. This closure may show some of the latent demand for biking. It was proposed that CDTC do a count on Delaware Ave for bicyclists while Delaware is closed.


5.4 Department of Health Initiatives: This spring some of the NYSDOH staff were trained to give Pedestrian Roadshows (an FHWA initiative). E. Troy attended the spring training session and indicated that she was interested in doing one and asked for suggestions as to what community might be interested. B. Schou indicated that Guilderland may be a possible candidate. NYSDOH will be holding another Train the Trainer event in Buffalo in the fall.

The NYSDOH also has a door to door blood pressure screening that is intended to identify people who have high blood pressure and may benefit from some health information including tips on an exercise regime. It was mentioned that this might be an opportunity to pass out information brochures on safety tips for bicycling and walking.