Throwing a Flag

Do you use See Click Fix?  It’s a great tool to bring issues to the attention of local government.  I report problems with traffic signals, potholes, sinkholes, etc.  I’ve had great luck with it.  Sometimes things are fixed within days.  Sometimes it takes longer.  Here’s one in the latter category.

Traffic Signal Repairs ▶ Closed

1-3 Colonial Ave Albany, NY 12203, USA

Viewed: 13 times

Reported: on 06-23-2016


Street sensor not sensing bicycles has been a problem for 2 years. I have to ride onto sidewalk to press beg button. Now beg button on SE corner to cross Western at Colonial is not functioning. Help! Thank you.


City of Albany Admin 3 (Verified Official)
City of Albany Admin 3 assigned this issue to APD Traffic Engineering

Randal Putnam.  Any progress? Thank you.

CLOSED APD Traffic Engineering (Verified Official)
Thank you for your message. Bicycles are very difficult for current traffic signal detectors to pickup. We are testing new detection technologies that in the future will detect bikes, no matter their metallic composition. Until we are able to deploy a proper bicycle detection technology City wide, pushing the pedestrian push button is the method we recommend using. We understand the inconvenience of doing this.
(about 2 hours ago)

Randal Putnam.  Thank you, but the vast majority of existing sensors do detect my bicycle, as did this one before the intersection received new fixtures. If most do, then it must be possible for this one to be repaired or adjusted. Going onto the sidewalk to press a button and then returning to the street is inconvenient and dangerous. Motorists don’t expect it. I am “coming out of nowhere.” You certainly wouldn’t suggest a motorist leave their car and walk to the sidewalk to press a button. Dangerous and inconvenient, right? With all due respect, this issue needs more attention than it is receiving. Please do not consider this issue closed. Thank you.
(less than a minute ago)

If we are aiming to have streets that work for all users, I think working street sensors are essential.  Do you think I’m off market here?  I’m a competent pedaler and I don’t enjoy the process of biking up onto the sidewalk to hit the button and then rejoin the flow of traffic.  Harder still when I have a trailer.

Update:  Just made a video on the way home from the store.  Three intersections.  Danker at Washington sees me.  Belvidere at Western sees me.  Colonial at Western, nope.

Time to go.  Take care.

4 responses to “Throwing a Flag

  1. Here in the UK I think these kind of responses to cyclist’s problems are caused by officials having a mindset that equates cycling with leisure activity. The assumption seems to be that people cycling are simply pootling about enjoying themselves. The challenge, or one of them, is to convince such people that a bike is often used as a means of transport.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for writing and the kind words. I am not sure what people here think. It probably depends on whether they regularly pedal in the city or love someone who does. I think it is getting better here. Good enough that I take the time to try to make it a little better! I won’t give up hope!

      Enjoy your weekend and thank you again.

  2. Bravo and thanks again Randal, keep fighting the good fight! And thanks for the SeeClickFix link, will be making use of that in the future.

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