RECORD OF MEETING
BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ISSUES TASK FORCE
DATE/TIME/PLACE: Thursday, July 14, 1994, 5:30 - 7:45 PM, CDTC Offices
IN ATTENDANCE: Emily H. Goodman (citizen member), Jerry Mueller (Green City Transportation Council), Katrina Neugebauer (Troy Architectural Program), Don Odell (Albany County Planning Department), Paul Russell (Town of Colonie), Bert Schou (CDTA), Ivan Vamos (Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council), Russell Ziemba (Rensselaer County Environmental Action), Steve Allocco (CDTC)
Route 9/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail Interface: Paul Russell reported concerns regarding the transition from Route 9 to the Bike-Hike Trail at Fonda Road in the Town of Colonie. In short, this transition requires cyclists to use the travel lane on Fonda Road and then an active gravel driveway between Fonda Road and the trail. It was noted that this location also provides a connection between the Bike-Hike Trail and the Mustang Drive site expected to shortly become a Postal Service facility -- potentially a major trip destination. Discussions between the Town and NYSDOT are ongoing regarding how to improve this particular location for cyclists, either in the course of the current Route 9 rehabilitation project or afterward; this is also an important "case study" for the Task Force as it illustrates the need to provide for the full lengths of cyclists' trips, rather than simply getting them to the general vicinity of a facility and "letting them take it from there." Some of the types of possible actions discussed for this location, including creation of a direct, publicly-owned access from Route 9 or Fonda Road to the trail and signage indicating where the trail goes from this access point, would likely have application to a number of transition areas on the draft regional bicycle network; thus, it will be useful to watch for how this matter is resolved.
"Making Your Community More Bicycle- and Pedestrian-Friendly" Informational Document: The Task Force approved by voice vote the draft document, with the understanding that slight modifications to the text will be made to (1)include the physically challenged in references to parties who would benefit from bicycle or pedestrian accommodations and (2)clarify that particularly in rural areas, on-road accommodations such as shoulders must be designed for safe use by bicyclists and pedestrians. Due to time constraints, the document will not be on the August Planning Committee agenda for approval, but it should be on the September agenda.
Designated Bicycle Network: The Task Force continued development of the network. The resulting draft network includes over 1,000 miles of streets and off-street trails, broken out as follows:
Albany + 244.05
Rensselaer + 261.41
Saratoga + 371.09
Schenectady + 164.29
TOTAL + 1,040.84
The network includes approximately 110 miles of existing facilities (primarily the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and Bike Route 5) and + 70 miles of planned (with all necessary funding commitments) facilities. Excerpts of the map are attached; a distributable version of the full draft map is under development and should be distributed at the August Task Force meeting if not prior to it. At the August meeting, the Task Force will have to take a hard look at the question of what they want to do with the network, both in terms of somehow prioritizing the various facilities and in terms of what role they want the network to play in the transportation planning process. With over 1,000 miles of facilities indicated, the network would be unwieldy as a planning tool without some "preference" logic set forth for its use. Task Force members should give some thought to the possible roles of this map in influencing future decisionmaking, and be prepared to share these thoughts at the next meeting.
The Task Force will need to get feedback on the draft network from two groups: the general public, who will be the users of the network; and the professional planning/public works/transportation community having jurisdiction over the roadways on or near the network. In response to a suggestion raised at the July meeting, CDTC staff has identified a two-part approach to getting this input. First would be a mailing, distributing the map for comment by CDTC's Planning and Policy Committees, its Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee and other interested parties on the mailing list for bicycle and pedestrian issues. Next, two public meetings could be held. The first meeting could come as early as the last quarter of 1994, presenting the map in a "here's what we have to this point -- are we on the right track?" context. The long-term nature of the New Visions process and the need to balance bicycle and pedestrian concerns with those of other Task Forces would be pointed out at this meeting, such that those in attendance would not come away with the mistaken impression that "this is the plan, plain and simple." It may be a good part of the plan, but it remains to be seen during Phase 3 how the bicycle and pedestrian concerns and needs balance with those of competing or related issue areas. A second meeting, more towards the end of the New Visions process, would present the network along with the planning and investment principles, pilot project(s) and proposed facility maintenance practices with any changes developed during Phase 3 to illustrate the Capital District's long-term plans for enhancing the bicycle and pedestrian environment.
* CDTC staff to complete development of a draft network map for distribution; distribution to come either at or prior to the August meeting.
* Task Force members to review attached excerpts of network map to get a sense of typical urban and rural "coverage" and develop ideas regarding the following questions:
* should identified facilities be prioritized to get down to "key" and "secondary" levels?
* examples: commuter versus touring routes, volume-based identification of facilities where treatment is most immediately necessary (e.g., via FHWA standards), "arterials first" policy for improvement
* what is the most effective way in which the network can be a planning tool?
* some possibilities: developing Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) project candidates specifically to provide bicycle-related improvements to facilities on the network; using the network as a "check" on TIP candidates for possible bicycle elements; conducting inventories of existing conditions on the network to develop "area plans" for enhancing the bicycle environment.1
* Task Force members also to develop ideas for possible bicycle/pedestrian pilot projects.
* some issues/possibilities:
* one regionwide project with urban and rural, bicycle and pedestrian components?
* as alternative, develop one very aggressive yet more localized project (e.g., the downtown Albany to SUNY corridor)?
* how to make sure transit/other intermodal access and destination treatments are included?
* Next Task Force meeting: Thursday, August 11, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, CDTC offices, 5 Computer Drive West, Colonie.
Meeting agenda to include:
* Discussion of the function(s) of the Designated Bicycle Network, including any further prioritization of facilities shown on the map
* Initial discussion of Pilot Project(s) (time permitting)
1This could be an advisory role, similar to CDTC's current work in local corridor studies. Under these efforts, a number of municipalities have contracted with CDTC for traffic studies of heavily used travel corridors or areas (e.g., the Balltown Road and Route 50 studies, and the Clifton Park townwide study). Municipalities interested in developing local "master plans" for enhancing bicycle and pedestrian travel would be able to enlist CDTC's assistance to perform or in support of these tasks. CDTC would draw from the regional network and other Task Force products in developing these plans.