A Small Step Back

I wrote to the mayor to raise my hand in favor of helping our road users get along better.  Said I thought the key was education.  I got specific and suggested we all be reminded of (a) the exceptions to the pedal on the right law and (b) the pass with three feet minimum law (to say we have a three feet passing law you need to mash together our pass a safe distance law with the legislative history saying that three feet is the minimum safe distance).  I suggested this sign be placed on the back of busses.  PastedGraphic-1

That was February 7, 2014.  I heard nothing so I wrote again on June 12, 2014.  My second attempt yielded a reply the next day.  I was given a contact, whom I contacted on June 13, 2014.  I heard nothing so I wrote to the contact again on August 6, 2014.  I got a real reply the same day.  Looked like this:

I apologize for the delay.  Thank you for your interest in increasing road safety within Albany. I agree that we definitely need to improve motorist, bicyclist, and pedestrian awareness of existing traffic laws.

Recently, the Albany Police Department created a Traffic Safety Stakeholders Committee (TSSC) that is devoted to looking at ways to make the City of Albany safer for all users of the right-of-way. The TSSC is made up of police officers, representatives of the City School District, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, planners, and members of the public. There TSSC concentrates its efforts into three subcommittees: Enforcement, Engineering, and Education. Each subcommittee looks at strategies to improve safety and works on action plans to implement these strategies. The next full meeting of the Traffic Safety Stakeholders Committee will be at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 18th in the large upstairs conference room at 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard. I hope that you are able to attend.

Another group that you might be interested in taking part in is the Capital District Transportation Committee’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force. This group meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 9:00 AM at the CDTC office at 1 Park Place, Colonie, NY. These meetings are geared at looking at the bicycling and pedestrian conditions of the region. If you are able to attend I believe you will find these meetings extremely informative. Representatives of CDTA regularly attend, as do representatives from many municipalities in the region.

I would also recommend that you join the Albany Bicycle Coalition and brainstorm with members about potential initiatives. I work closely with Lorenz Worden and other members of the Albany Bicycle Coalition on bicycle initiatives within the City.

If you have any further comments or questions, please let me know.

Huh.  After six months I was initially happy to have a detailed reply, but I was hoping they’d tell me what they are doing or will do to help.  Instead, after writing four times and waiting six months I am invited to meetings at which I can voice concerns (which I have already voiced) and offer solutions (which I have already offered).  Not sure I have the patience.  Some people enjoy meetings and others tolerate meetings.  Blessed be the meeting goers.  Seriously.  Big respect.  But I am in a third group–I’ve done meetings, hate them and suck at them.  If our government is do it yourself, maybe I just pedal and hope for the best.

Yesterday I was close passed by a tool in a BMW from Quebec (I should probably sell mine so that I could let my prejudice against BMW drivers flower more fully).  I did nothing but take a picture of his plate at the next light.  Not sure why.  Probably not a good idea.  But that’s what I did.  Today I was close passed by a tool in a blue mini van.  I exclaimed “too close!” and he shrugged.  I interpreted that to mean he didn’t see waiting to pass as a viable alternative.  I slowed to get behind him where I felt safer.  Then he nearly rear ended a parked car.  Golly.  On the way home I was very nearly close passed by another tool (I saw him coming, the road was narrow and there was an oncoming car).  I ooched out to stop him from squeezing through and then a bicycle officer pedaled by in the other direction.  The driver saw the officer, got off my wheel and stayed back really nicely.  I scooted right when it was safe and motioned for him to pass.  Hooray for bicycle officers.  Hooray also to this officer.

I should focus on the dozens of miles that go really well.  I don’t ride far, so dozens of good miles mean something to me.  Whole trips go down without incident.  I had a nice ride to Troy with a pal on a Saturday morning.  I enjoyed the country loop a month or so back.  It has been a really swell summer.  69 degrees just now.  Fall like, but summer isn’t over.  Still time to ride more, take the lane when needed and keep my fingers crossed.

I need to go.  Hope you are well.

P.S.  Then I see this on Urban Velo.  I’ve taken the survey.  It doesn’t look like they are trying to glean data for marketing.  More like they care about precisely the issues I’ve discussed in this post (and a dozen others).  So take the survey already.

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