A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany panels favor ‘bike boulevard’ idea

Written March 2nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Fourth Avenue is one Madison Street intersection set for safety upgrades. The other one is Fifth.

Two Albany advisory commissions would like the city to go ahead and improve Madison Street from Pacific Boulevard to First Avenue as a “bicycle boulevard.”

Last month, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission “voted to move forward with a possible bike boulevard,” Chairwoman Ann Ketter reports. On Monday, the Traffic Safety Commission did the same.

(I listened in on both meetings but had to ask about what happened because I fell asleep before the panel voted.)

A bike boulevard means making changes intended to slow or calm motor traffic, such as speed humps, while encouraging bicyclists to use the route. This requires consultation with the neighborhood as well as city council approval.

Steph Nappa of the traffic panel volunteered to work on outreach to the neighborhood.

Albany’s transportation systems plan envisions about half a dozen bike boulevards, and Madison Street is one. The city has not pursued the idea, waiting for neighbors to request action, and no one has.

With or without incorporating the boulevard concept, the city is moving ahead with a bike safety project on Madison, funded by a grant of about $160,000 from ODOT.

There had been about five car-bike crashes on Madison over five years, at the Fourth and Fifth Avenue intersections. Madison is a through street there, with stop signs on the side streets. As explained by Ron Irish, traffic systems analyst, the crashes happened when drivers stopped as required but then moved forward without seeing the bikes.

At the intersections, changes will include green paint on Madison to remind drivers to watch out for cyclists.

The ODOT funding has been approved, but now that project presumably will wait until a decision has been made on adding the boulevard elements, which I gather from the discussion would add about $60,000 to the cost. If the city goes ahead with the boulevard, design would happen this year and construction in 2022.

This may not be the most riveting item in anybody’s life, but if you’re interested in how it comes out, stay tuned. (hh)


8 responses to “Albany panels favor ‘bike boulevard’ idea”

  1. Terry Fuston says:

    We don’t really need a bike boulevard. We should use that money to fix some of the streets around town. Go look at 4th and 5th from Main to downtown. It’s awful. Then go look at 24th over between Geary and Marion. It’s horrible. And there are many others.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Long term, I believe that bike boulevards would a good thing to make this small investment. (The total amount indicated above probably would not “fix” even 1/4 of a block on any city street…)

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        “(The total amount indicated above probably would not “fix” even 1/4 of a block on any city street…)”

        But how much slurry seal would it buy?

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “Constructing a slurry seal costs approximately $0.24 per square foot, or around $6.30 per lineal foot for a 30-foot-wide residential street. Slurry Seals are a great option for improving and protecting the wearing surface on local streets “that are still in good shape structurally.”

          Note the condition assessments: https://www.cityofalbany.net/streets/condition

          Unless the street is an arterial or collector, it’s not in the budget…

          • Bill Kapaun says:

            I realize the money is probably from a different “pot”, but $160k will buy 4.8miles of slurry seal. How much money would that save in the future?

            Doesn’t slurry seal pay for itself in preventive maintenance?

            I guess the current city council figures they will be gone before the streets get critical. Admiring their “promenade” while the rest of us are dodging pot holes.

    • Mike Ely says:

      Separate pots of money. The bike infrastructure is funded by a grant for ODOT. Street repairs would come from the city/state maintenance budget.

  2. John Klock says:

    More bikes, more bike lanes. This is good for all.

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    I’d much rather have smooth pavement instead of green paint on that section of street.

    Simply making the RR tracks “less rough” would be more useful.


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