DATE/TIME/PLACE:  Tuesday, March 22, 1994, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, Colonie Community Center



IN ATTENDANCE:  Brad Birge (CDRPC), Helene Brecker (Saratoga County Heritage Trail Committee), John DiMura (NYS Thruway Authority), Emily H. Goodman (private citizen), Jerry Mueller (Green City Transportation Council), Don Odell (Albany County Planning Department), Don Robertson (NYSDOT - Region 1), Bert Schou (CDTA), Zimri Smith (Saratoga County Heritage Trail Committee), Steve Allocco (CDTC)





(Note:  Materials distributed at the meeting are attached for those members who did not attend.)


Work Program:  The time frame for Phase Two of the New Visions effort has been extended, allowing the group more time for product development.  At present, the Task Force should aim to have its recommendation package ready for a December conference.


Along with modification of the part of the work program dealing with treatment standards, as discussed in more detail in the next section, the group concurred with extension of the Phase Two schedule through not meeting in April or September.  The resulting Work Program, with other changes related to meeting developments detailed below, is attached.


Bicycle and Pedestrian Treatment Standards:  At the February 25 meeting, it was proposed that accepting the Federal Highway Administration's suggested standards for bicycle treatments would save the group some work, particularly if NYSDOT was to incorporate these standards into its updated Highway Design Manual.  However, given uncertainty regarding when the update will be completed, coupled with concerns raised regarding the desirability of stringent (and, often, costly) standards, the group decided on an alternative approach to setting forth directions for bicycle and pedestrian treatments.


It was noted that while uniform treatments across the Capital District would be desirable, individual localities vary widely in what improvements they can afford.  Thus, if local governments in particular are to look to this group's products for direction on "what is needed and how it should be designed," it is important to develop guidelines, rather than standards, which reflect the varied capabilities of Capital District municipalities and thus encourage, rather than discourage, provision of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.  The group decided that preparing two items would meet the aims of giving decisionmakers a general understanding of the issues faced by cyclists and pedestrians and providing a reference for how to address these issues.  These items are as follow:


*          Policy Statement:  For the group's consideration, the concept of a Policy Statement was set forth and a sample was prepared to help them envision how the concerns they have brought up in meetings to date could be presented in a listing of bicycle/pedestrian-related goals or issues for planners to address.  The sample presents a "shopping list" of considerations; a fleshed-out version of this list could be a useful tool not only to CDTC, but also as a guide for municipalities preparing to undertake local projects outside the CDTC capital programming process.


            There was some discussion during the meeting of the idea of seeing Committee approval of a Policy Statement along the lines of the handout in the short term.  There is a conflict with the goals of the New Visions effort in trying to do this.  As discussed on pages 89-92 of CDTC's 1993 Regional Transportation Plan Report (distributed at the meeting), the latest statement of official CDTC policy includes a commitment to enhancing the environment for bicycle and pedestrian travel.  In short, what the conceptual policy statement looks for is already in place, save for a formal review procedure.  Setting forth a "goal statement" as part of the group's recommendations for the long-range plan would be a useful tool in pursuing this commitment.    Looking to change formal processes prior to the end of this multidisciplinary effort, however, could go outside the New Visions plan -- the Task Forces need to work together during Phase Three to determine what (if any) changes to procedures are best for all the Task Force issue areas and goals.  In addition, one of the key features of the New Visions effort is "respect for the existing CDTC structure;" one group's bulldozing through a change in the way CDTC makes decisions would violate this notion and be unfair to other groups adhering to this principle.  The Task Force would be best advised to limit its proposals of any changes in the way business is done to the final recommendation package to be worked with by all Task Forces during Phase Three.


*          Design Guidelines:  To date, Task Force members have received several documents presenting official standards, advisory guidelines and case studies from which a set of directions for providing bicycle and pedestrian accommodations could be culled.  The group decided that this would be a desirable alternative to simply adopting the FHWA treatment tables and hoping they are what NYSDOT eventually goes with for the updated Design Manual.  Keeping the result termed guidelines rather than standards would also avoid conflicts with other agencies' procedures, and giving this product a more advisory presence would avoid "scaring off" localities which might otherwise feel the regional standards imply too high a cost to even try to carry out locally.  The group identified the FHWA bicycle treatment matrices mailed out on March 2 and the excerpts from the FHWA case study paper entitled Measures to Overcome Impediments to Bicycling and Walking as the best sources from which to draw, tailoring these references' particulars to the Capital District as they see fit.  It was noted that providing a number of "real world" examples of where these guidelines could be applied would be helpful, in illustrating for localities where to look for opportunities to better accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.


It was decided that a subcommittee consisting of Brad Birge, John DiMura, Emily Goodman and Bert Schou would meet to develop working drafts of the Policy Statement (bearing in mind the concerns noted earlier) and the Design Guidelines.  A working goal should be to have documents ready for distribution well in advance of the May meeting of the full group, such that (a)approval of these documents can be reached and (b)they will provide the necessary guidance to the remainder of the Task Force's efforts.  As this material comes together, it will be passed on to CDTC for duplication and mailing; in addition, if other Task Force members wish to offer some direction to this effort, their comments can be made through CDTC or by directly contacting subcommittee members.  A listing of phone numbers of Task Force members was requested; this list is attached.


Core System Performance Measures:  A draft listing of core performance measures was distributed for members to review in anticipation of a brief discussion at the May meeting.  The rationale for having these measures is that the range of issues and possible actions being discussed by the Task Forces requires that we go beyond the traditional measures used to evaluate transportation projects -- namely traffic delay, operating speeds and air pollution.  Clearly, actions which would increase cycling or walking for transportation purposes would be of real benefit, but few would provide for improvements in these three measures on a scale which would "compete" with those of traditional highway projects.  (Note:  later in the meeting, the draft New York State Energy Plan was briefly discussed, and it was observed that cycling and walking as potential means of reducing energy consumption were almost completely ignored.  This small scale of "aggregate benefits" may be part of the reason why; numerous studies have, however, concluded that these projects tend to have far higher benefit/cost ratios than traditional highway projects, due to the comparatively small costs of most bicycle or pedestrian accommodations.)


The core measures listing reflects a need to develop a socially and environmentally responsible transportation system, furthering the goals of improving access, mobility, safety and environmental quality.  Members should review this list with an eye towards whether any modifications or expansions are required in order to fairly evaluate not just bicycle and pedestrian-related actions, but those which other Task Forces will be proposing.





*          Subcommittee to meet to prepare Policy Statement (or whatever the alternative term may be; "Goal Statement" is one possibility) and Design Guidelines.


*          Next Task Force meeting:  Tuesday, May 17, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, Colonie Community Center, 1653 Central Avenue (across from Lake Electronics).


            Meeting agenda to include:

*          Brief discussion of performance measures

*          Discussion of Policy Statement and Design Guidelines; acceptance if possible

*          Initial discussions of designated bike network


Capital District    second revision March 24, 1994

Transportation Committee







Phase Two Products


*        a set of design guidelines for bicycle and pedestrian treatment

*        a set of pilot corridor projects

*        a discussion of desirable roadway/sidewalk maintenance practices

*        a designated regional bike network, including destination treatments and intermodal connections



Schedule of Task Force Meetings/Product Development Timeline


(Staff work indicated by italics)




            Discuss December conference results

            Implications for Phase Two goals/work program/schedule

            "Preliminary approval " of Phase Two work program/schedule  NOT REACHED




            Discussion/approval of revised Phase Two work program/schedule

            Discuss FHWA or NYSDOT bicycle treatment standards; accept if possible CHANGED IN LIGHT OF REVISED PLAN; SEE MAY TASKS

            Development of pedestrian treatment standards (start from FHWA materials on impediments to walking and improvement strategies) CHANGED IN LIGHT OF REVISED PLAN; SEE MAY TASKS

            Begin development of designated bike network (time permitting) DEFERRED TO MAY WITH REVISED PLAN


April - NO MEETING (Subcommittee work on Policy Statement and Design Guidelines)




            Brief discussion of performance measures to be applied to all task forces' recommendations

            Discussion/Acceptance of Policy Statement and Design Guidelines

            Staff work to establish "typical costs, benefits" of treatments suggested by design guidelines between this meeting and June meeting (will use these measures in developing and evaluating designated bike network and pilot projects).

            Initial discussion/development of designated bike network




            Brief review of "typical costs/benefits" developed by staff for bicycle/pedestrian treatment guidelines discussed in May

            Continued discussion of designated bike network; acceptance if possible.  If acceptance not reached, necessary guidance should be provided to staff for any technical work to be completed so as to have network prepared for acceptance at beginning of July meeting.

            Start discussion/development of pilot corridor projects (time permitting)

            Staff work to establish estimated costs, benefits of designated bike network between this meeting and July meeting




            Start or continue development of pilot corridor projects; accept series if possible*.  If acceptance not reached, group should follow same steps as indicated in June schedule for designated bike network, to allow for staff completion and group acceptance at August meeting.

            Staff work to establish costs and benefits of project(s) between this meeting and August meeting

            Staff work between this meeting and August meeting to solicit information from Public Works, Highway agencies on current roadway/sidewalk maintenance practices (to be presented at that meeting)




            Acceptance (if necessary) of pilot corridor projects

            Develop recommendations on road/sidewalk maintenance practices which will make bicycle/pedestrian travel safer (this could largely be an expansion of some of the points in the subcommittee's Policy Statement)

            Staff work between this meeting and October meeting to prepare Task Force recommendation package


September - NO MEETING, but will plan on late August or early September transmittal of draft recommendation package to members for review. 




            Acceptance of recommendation package








*               To get maximum "visibility" for bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, it has been proposed that there be one urban and one rural project in each county.  As an alternative, a four-county project could be considered.




Bicycle/Pedestrian Issues Task Force Members w/Phone Numbers Currently on File



Name (Affiliation)                                                                        v=voice/fx=fax


Brad Birge                                                                                         393 - 1715 (v)

  (Capital District Regional Planning Committee)                              393 - 6081 (fx)


Helene Brecker                                                                                       

  (Saratoga County Heritage Trail Committee)


Denise Cashmere                                                                               386 - 2225 (v)

  (Schenectady County Planning Department)                                     382 - 0194 (fx)


John DiMura                                                                                      436 - 3034 (v)

  (New York State Thruway Authority)                                              436 - 2899 (fx)


Emily H. Goodman                                                                            474 - 8821 (v)

  (Private citizen/NYS Bd of Equaliz. & Assessment)


Jerry Mueller                                                                                          

  (Green City Transportation Committee)


Tom Nattell                                                                                        438 - 6314 (v)

  (Albany Peace and Energy Council)


Don Odell                                                                                          447 - 5660 (v)

  (Albany County Planning Department)                                             447 - 5662 (fx)


Jeff Olson                                                                                           457 - 3125 (v)

  (NYS Department of Transportation - Central Office)                     457 - 7960 (fx)


Don Robertson                                                                                   474 - 6215 (v)

  (NYS Department of Transportation - Region 1)                             474 - 9853 (fx)


Paul Russell                                                                                       783 - 2839 (v)

  (Town of Colonie Environmental Conservation)


Joann Ryan                                                                                         434 - 5190 (v)

  (City of Albany Planning Department)                                             434 - 5098 (fx)


David Schmidt                                                                                   382 - 5049 (v)

  (City of Schenectady Planning Department)                                     382 - 1050 (fx)


Bert Schou                                                                                         482 - 4199 (v)

  (Capital District Transportation Authority)                                     482 - 9039 (fx)


Zim Smith                                                                                           587 - 9499 (v)

  (Saratoga County Heritage Trail Committee)


Maggie Vinciguerra/Ken Grudens                                                      473 - 3835 (v)

  (Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council)                426 - 0330 (fx)



Note:  Includes people who primarily wished to be kept apprised of the Task Force's work rather than actively participate.