Meeting held to discuss adding bike lanes to Madison Ave in Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The city of Albany has plans to put Madison Avenue on a road diet.

A road diet means to make the road smaller by getting rid of two driving lanes while adding bicycle lanes on both sides of the road. A meeting was held Wednesday night in Albany to discuss the pros and cons of adding cyclists to Madison Avenue.

Both sides were presented at the meeting. The plan is to build a conventional bike lane, which is between moving traffic and the parking lane. Local bike advocates said the lane could encourage more people to become bike commuters.

“There is fertile ground for people to be galvanized and think, ‘Oh, why do I get stuck on the bus for 20 minutes if I can bike the same distance in ten?’” commuter bicyclist Ewa Sobczynska said.

The plan will cost $1.3 million and will take away 45 parking spaces. Officials said the new traffic patterns could add 30 to 45 seconds to the commute down Madison Avenue.

Some people said it’s on cyclists to maintain their safety and not the city.

“You have to be aware that someone is going to open their door in front of your or that someone is going to sideswipe you at an intersection or that a kid is going to run out in front of you,” Al Quaglieri, who lives in the Madison Avenue area, said. “These just come with the territory.”

Officials said the plan will hurt businesses in the area that lose on-street parking spots. However, they also said the changes in traffic patterns will slow traffic by putting everyone in the same lane. No passing will be allowed.

“This isn’t about creating longer commutes,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “It’s about creating calmer commutes.”

City engineers said Phase One, which is a four-block stretch from Allen Street to Partridge Street, should be finished by the end of the year. Phase Two will begin once funding has been secured.

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