Remove dangerous post from bike trail
Re June 7 article, "$4.6 million to fund Schenectady County road, trail work": We were happy to read that federal funds will be used to upgrade safety features along the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail in the town of Rotterdam.
The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail has been focused on safety, on and off, the trail from Rotterdam to Albany for many years. In 2013, poorly designed barriers, intended to prevent motor vehicle access to the trail, caused two serious injuries in Colonie in July. In addition, a collision with a bollard just east of Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam on June 17 led to the death of Kathy Botelho several days later. In each these cases, the injured parties were experienced cyclists that ran afoul of bollards that needed to be upgraded.
Three years ago, a section of the bike path in Schenectady was upgraded using newer, safer barriers, and the town of Niskayuna has also been improving its bollards. After last year's accidents, Colonie took action right away to correct their barriers, but Schenectady County, the municipality that maintains the trail in Rotterdam, insists that a study must be done before any upgrades can be made.
We are sure that Schenectady County engineering will follow their procedures to a safe and satisfactory solution using new "access control devices" as described in the Gazette. Unfortunately, we know this probably won't happen this year and may not happen before next year's cycling season either.
In the meantime, we are concerned that the accident site just east of the Kiwanis Park is still dangerous. After Ms. Botelho's accident, vandals removed the post she collided with, but the county elected to replace it with a new and even bigger obstacle. Combined with a neighboring post that leans to one side, creating a narrow passage, and a sharp curve in the trail, this barrier is another accident waiting to happen.
On July 19, more than 500 cyclists will pass that point as part of the annual Cycle the Erie Canal Ride. In July 2015, the same number of riders will use this route to complete the same eight-day journey from Buffalo to Albany. Count them: 1,000 experienced riders that may not have ridden in the Capital Region.
That's in addition to the cyclists that ride the trail every other day of the year. What are odds that someone else will run into the offending bollard?
We are asking that Schenectady County temporarily remove the dangerous post east of Kiwanis Park or install a "knock-down" post before the Cycle the Erie Canal riders arrive. It's a small, inexpensive change that will greatly improve the safety of the trail for all its users.
The writer is the president of Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.
Navy Relief loses in ban on tobacco sales
Re June 6 AP article about the Navy proposing to stop tobacco sales at the Exchanges/Commisaries: Profits from sales at those facilities, worldwide, are directed to Navy Relief.
Many years ago, the Navy terminated sales of "adult" magazines, Playboy, etc. The sailors, men and women alike, simply went into town and bought them there. Net gain -- zero; net loss -- profits to Navy Relief.
Say what you want about tobacco. Terminate its sale, and the results, negative and positive, will be the same.
People abusing bulk pickup in Glenville
It is bulk-item pickup time again in the town of Glenville. I am seeing the usual assortment of items that are not on the list for pickup: TVs, tires, propane cylinders, etc. I give credit to County Waste for leaving them behind.
This year, I've noticed a couple of new wrinkles. I've seen cardboard boxes, filled with cardboard and/or paper.
Doesn't everyone have cardboard/paper recycling available? Many other items I see could simply be put in the garbage can.
Although the number of scavengers seems to have gone down somewhat, I did see a car with Vermont license plates cruising the streets. It is unfortunate that people misuse or attempt to misuse this valuable service.
Writer offers ideas on Rexford plan
I consider the new bridge replacement over the Mohawk River between Clifton Park and Niskayuna as the priority of a larger project being considered. The proposal for a bridge with three lanes sounds practical with the land that is available. If a four-lane bridge can be achieved, this might be better for the future.
The second priority is the extra travel lanes. Four lanes, eventually with a fifth turn lane at the top of the hill, north of a new three-lane bridge, looks workable with the land that is available there.
One lane would, of course, be shifted from the new bridge and extended up the hill to allow for turning into the side streets and right onto Riverview Road.
Consideration should be given to the entrance of the Schenectady Yacht Club being close to the bridge. Proper shoulders for pedestrians and bicyclists should be considered, along with wide-enough sidewalks on the new bridge for those watching events on the river in the summer months.
On the south side of the new bridge, the new intersection could have a new traffic light system with new light standards to save money.
This intersection could be visited at a later date and studied after the new bridge is completed.
Any money saved could be applied to adding a middle median to Route 146N to the Blue Barns Road intersection from Riverview Road to alleviate interference with regular traffic flow along that section.
In the future, from Blue Barns East, Route 146 into Clifton Park could be reconstructed to federal standards, with wider lanes, including an extended left-turn lane that now exists heading west at Blue Barns, shoulders, upgraded road surface and, let's not forget, deer-crossing signs.
Studying suggestions, such as my own and other ideas from people attending fair public meetings -- meaning at a reasonable time before any project designs are established -- could help in a better process for reaching favorable goals for everyone.
Edward J. Kritz
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