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What you need to know for 11/18/2017

Schenectady to host meeting on bike infrastructure plan

Schenectady to host meeting on bike infrastructure plan

'We want input from everyone from an adventure cyclist to non-bikers'
Schenectady to host meeting on bike infrastructure plan
Bicyclists ride along a designated lane on Craig Street in September 2016.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

SCHENECTADY — City officials will be peddling information this week about the city’s plan to become more bike-friendly.

A public meeting will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday in the McChesney Room of the Schenectady County Public Library on Clinton Street to gather input on the bike infrastructure plan. Schenectady hasn’t updated its bike master plan since 2001, and it has received federal funding to improve its cycling infrastructure.

The new plan calls for fresh bike lanes in certain areas and educational programs.

“We want input from everyone from an adventure cyclist to non-bikers,” said Peter Knutson, a city engineer. “There’s been so much development and new things happening. This is our attempt to bring it up to date and make multimodal transportation a priority.”

Attendees will hear about findings of the draft master plan and can provide input to project leaders, according to a document advertising the event. The 79-page master plan details research, plans for public outreach and recommendations.

The city will incorporate feedback from Thursday’s meeting into a final draft of the bike plan, Knutson said. Implementation will be broken into three phases, with the first phase taking place in the next one to five years, he said.

“We’re hoping to get some of it done this year, if we can,” Knutson said. “Some of the streets, like Craig Street, there’s a lot of development on the street, so we need to wait for some of that stuff to get completed.”

Phase one includes paving bike lanes on certain major city streets and making connections between bike lanes where there are breaks. Among the areas slated for work in phase one are the Vale Park trail, Brandywine Avenue and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail.

Phase two will require further study and will focus on higher-cost plans, while phase three represents longer-term recommendations that could require roadway reconstruction.

Knutson said the plan is to compare the bike plan with the city’s annual paving schedule to do both road and bike lane upgrades at once, where possible.

In addition to infrastructure improvements, the city is looking to incorporate education and enforcement into its plans. For example, there are different levels of paving, including shared-use paths, shared lanes and bike lanes, with each allowing different uses. It's equally important to inform drivers and cyclists of the changes, Knutson said.

The city held a couple of other events and conducted an online survey over the past year to educate stakeholders and gather feedback.

One event, at Proctors, gathered community ideas on how to implement, educate residents about and enforce traffic rules on the new bike lanes, while another event, at the old Boys & Girls Club on Craig Street, focused on bike safety. Kids there received free bike helmets and could then ride inside a newly painted bike lane under adult supervision.

If you go

WHAT: Schenectady bike plan public meeting
WHEN: 5 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: McChesney Room at the Schenectady County Public Library, 99 Clinton St.

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