Albany Strollers & Rollers Newsletter
June 2019 - Solstice just around the corner....

If you like our work and want two-way participation, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to our Discussion List

Wrap-Up of another Successful and Fun Bike Month!!

AS&R BtWD Energizer Station Vols (pic by Natalie)Thanks to all of you who volunteered for Albany Strollers & Rollers and our community during bike month! Whether you participated in the Bag Stuffing or shopping, volunteered at our Bike to Work Day Energizer Station, Bike About Town or Pints With Purpose or supported our community by donating food, drinks, gift cards, discounts or services, your time and effort were unparalleled! It was quite a busy month for us and it would not have been a success without every single one of our volunteers and supporting businesses!

Go here to see photos and details of your neighbors and local businesses who were instrumental in AS&R’s successful Bike Month!

Bike About Town Family Rides

Friday June 21st, 6:30-8 pm, meet at Bikes on Solano, 1554 Solano Ave

Join the City of Albany’s Department of Recreation and your fellow Rollers as we explore Albany by bike. All levels of cyclists are encouraged to join, and we always need experienced riders to help the less confident ones.

If you’d like to help lead, please see Gjergji, Nick, Amy or Ken when you arrive at 6:15.

Bike About Town (bikes)This is the 2nd of the series and the rides are held on the 3rd Friday of the month from May-September.
For additional information about the ride series, see the City's website.Bike About Town logo

Albany Strollers & Rollers Happy Hour Meeting

Thursday June 27th , 5-7pm, Everest Kitchen, 1150 Solano 

BBR - Everest KitchenGot an idea, question or gripe about cycling or walking around Albany? Hungry or thirsty? Take care of ALL those needs in one place!

Join your AS&R neighbors at our Happy Hour meeting at Everest Kitchen to discuss policy and projects. They have plenty of bike parking!

These Happy Hours are right before Traffic & Safety Commission Meetings so you can bring up any thoughts about agenda items.

Call for Solano Stroll Volunteers

Sunday September 8th, 9am-5:30 pm, Tree Lot & Wells Fargo Lot, Solano Avenue

AS&R will again provide free Bicycle Valet Parking at two locations for this big regional festival: 1245 Solano (the vacant lot near Masonic). and 1800 Solano Ave (Wells Fargo). We’ll also have an information table near Masonic.

Volunteers who work at least a 4-hr shift will get free lunch provided by a supporting Solano Avenue restaurant (likely Tay Tah , Bua Luang Thai Cuisine or Brazilian Breads)

It’s a super fun event for adults and kids, and times are flexible! If you’d like to help park bikes or volunteer at AS&R’s info table, or have any questions please contact Amy Smolens at and Sylvia Paull at Further details are on our website.

We appreciate the efforts of our volunteers and generous sponsors in the past.  

2019 Stroll Bike Valet Event Manager Needed

AS&R is in need of an Event Manager for our Bike Valet Parking services at two locations on Solano. We have a proven system, racks, signs, and templates for printed materials. You help produce materials for tracking bike check-in from templates. You help organize site volunteers to make it happen on event day, September 8. You are responsible for transporting materials to our two sites, set-up and tear-down, and then returning them back to storage in good condition (could be accomplished with a station-wagon, although a mini-van or pickup is better). You can find and prevail upon volunteers to accomplish parts of these duties as you prefer. AS&R will provide some volunteers to you. Must be available to be on-site(s) most of the day of the event, Sept. 8. While this job itself is not for children, you are welcome to involve your family. Many kids have helped with most tasks involved and enjoyed it. This is a volunteer position and lunch is provided on event day.

If you are interested and/or have questions, please email or email Sylvia Paull directly at

Volunteers Needed to Support Ocean View Elementary Site Shifts

BikeTrainThe rebuilding of Ocean View School is getting underway and families are preparing to get their kids across town to the Middle School Annex and Albany High School for the 2019-21 school years. Families living west of San Pablo, especially UC Village residents, are attempting to pull-together to create Walking School Buses and Bike Trains. We are exploring the possibility of non-parent volunteers assisting parents. Volunteers might help for a half hour or more sometime between 7:45am and 9:45am. More details will be offered when they are available. If you are interested and available, please let Ken McCroskey, a member of the Safe Routes to School Albany Task Force, know at

Parents of Ocean View students are also welcome to inquire. Please include your block (example: 800 Kains) and your children’s 2019-20 grade levels.

Image result for walking school bus


Traffic & Safety Commission Meeting

Thursday June 27th, 7-9:30 at City Hall
Link to full agenda will be posted at

Have anything you want to bring to the attention of City Staff and our Traffic & Safety Commission? Interested in any of the agenda items? Come on down and make your voice heard! You can speak on any transportation-related topic not on the agenda in Public Comment at approximately 7 pm. Want to run your idea by someone first? Come to Happy Hour at Everest Kitchen beforehand!

Free Cycling 101 Class for Adults and Teens 

Saturday JULY 6th, UC Berkeley, Barrows Hall, Room 175, More Information, Register

Have some free time this summer? Do you, a friend or family member want to ride more but don’t feel confident enough? Here is a FREE bicycle skills class right at UC Berkeley, courtesy of Bike East Bay. In this class ( you’ll learn basic rules of the road, how to share the road with cars on busy streets, how to equip your bicycle, lock your bike, fit your helmet, and avoid crashes by riding predictably, visibly, and communicating with other road users by your actions and signals.

For adults and teens, no bike needed!!
Class is FREE but you must register here.


Council Tables Solano Complete Streets Plan and Berkeley Proposes $300k for Further Study

'Complete Streets' May Be a Misnomer

Thank you to all who weighed in for a complete Solano Avenue plan. The Plan put forward by the consultant proposed to make cycling on the Avenue more dangerous by adding crosswalk islands and narrowing the lanes between the corner bulbouts and island to 11 feet. This would force people cycling to merge with motorists at each of these intersections. Fortunately, a bare majority of the Council as well as other stakeholders, like the Solano Avenue Association, also did not like the proposed crosswalk islands. On May 20th the Council voted 3-1 not to approve the plan, with Councilmember Barnes disagreeing and Mayor Nason absent. As part of its motion, the Council voted for staff to bring back an improved version of the plan.

Remarkably, without the crosswalk islands, the plan is hardly discernible from the existing conditions, calling into question whether it would be worth the millions of dollars and massive disruption to implement. It would still degrade safety for people cycling by narrowing the road to 22 feet between the curbs of corner bulbouts (this distance on lower Solano is 27 feet by comparison). This would still force motorists and people cycling to compete for space at each intersection. It also proposes to add more pull-in/back-out angled car parking, increasing the danger of that configuration. All this violates the Active Transportation Plan's commitment that the Solano Avenue project "would enhance the streetscape design to include bicycle safety improvements."

At a proposed width of 10 feet from building to curb, the sidewalks proposed by the plan are also substandard for a main street. Once trees, lamp posts, street furniture, cafe and restaurant signs, and cafe furniture are added, the clear path would be less than five feet in places as it is on lower Solano in various locations currently.

All these problems can be overcome. For instance, an alternative plan endorsed by the Traffic and Safety Commission maintains car parking, provides wider sidewalks, wider lanes at the bulbouts, an uphill cycletrack to avoid conflicts with motorists parking and unparking, and converts car parking to parallel in the downhill direction to reduced motorist parking conflicts. Studies near and far, both peer-reviewed and gray literature, have found such a reconfiguration increases sales receipts more than approaches that do not substantially improve access for people walking and biking.

It is unclear if staff will bring back a plan that complies with the Active Transportation Plan to achieve these benefits. It is unclear what the Council will do if staff does not bring back such a plan. In answering a question from Councilmember Barnes, staff did inform Council the grant that paid for the planning does not require close out until February of next year, so there is time to get it right.Solano Ave Complete Streets - Intersection

Aside from the Council's vote, and perhaps one of the causes for that vote, the most astounding part of the meeting was Berkeley Councilmember Sophie Hahn commenting that the Berkeley Council was not aware of Albany's planning effort for Solano. This is remarkable because Councilmember Hahn's district fronts right onto the segment of Solano being planning. Literally. For several blocks, the businesses on the north side of Solano are in Berkeley but the sidewalk is in Albany. If you step into Barney's for instance, you are stepping from Albany to Berkeley. Amazing that none of our Councilmembers thought to reach out to at least Councilmember Hahn to let her know what was going on.

In response to learning about Albany's planning process at the eleventh hour, Councilmember Hahn has led the Berkeley Council in seeking to have Berkeley join in coherently planning Solano with Albany. This month, the Berkeley Council unanimously approved a budget referral for $300,000 dollars for this planning effort. Whether Albany will seek to work with Berkeley given how the two cities share this segment of Solano is unknown at this time. It bears noting that any new plan should also conform to the City's Climate Action Plan.  That is one half of the City's Complete Streets policy.

Stay tuned.

San Pablo Avenue Corridor Improvements

The Alameda County Transporation Commission (Alameda CTC) has started planning for reconfiguring San Pablo Avenue to better serve residents on and near the corridor. It has presented three concepts for public consideration. Concept A has center-running dedicated bus rapid transit lanes and protected cycling lanes. Concept B has the same bus rapid transit but no cycling lanes. Concept C has neither. Concept A would drop the protected cycling lanes at major intersections, just where they are needed, to make room for four motorist lanes and two bus lanes. It would also position the bus stops away from major intersections, as would Concept B. Concept C would keep the bus stops at major intersections, although oddly Alameda CTC did not list this as an advantage of this concept relative to the others.

A modification of Concept A was presented at the Traffic and Safety Commission that would allow protected cycling lanes up to each major intersection and include protected intersections at those locations. This would make cycling substantially safer and less stressful and provide sidewalk users more safety by shortening their crossing distances. This modification consists of carrying a single bus rapid transit lane serving buses going both directions through the major intersections. This concept was found feasible by the Mineta Transportation Institute in a study it conducted funded by CalTrans. Buses would only take ten to twenty seconds to travel the length of each of these single lane segments. This is a small fraction of the total time between buses meaning that vehicle to control and vehicle to vehicle communication would be able to readily coordinate the buses.

      Figure 1 - Modified Concept A
Figure 1. Schematic of a single,center-running dedicated bus rapid transit lane on one leg of San Pablo Avenue at an intersection with an arterial connected to I-80; the other leg of would also have a single dedicated bus lane (modified from

Figure 2 - Modified Concept A
Figure 2. Time-space diagram illustrating the theoretical plausibility of single lane bi-directional bus lane at intersections with streets connecting to I-80 along San Pablo Avenue assuming 6 minute headways

The Traffic and Safety Commissioners agreed Albany staff should ask Alameda CTC staff to design in time as well as space to better utilize the space that comprises the San Pablo Avenue corridor. Albany Strollers & Rollers is likely to sign onto a joint letter coordinated by Bike East Bay and also signed by Walk Bike Berkeley requesting Alameda CTC study the modified Concept A as well as another design in time concept (side running dedicated bus lanes that allow motorists to enter to make right turns).


Reminder - Donation webpage for Albany Strollers & Rollers

We are grateful to members who have chosen to donate to AS&R. Every contribution makes a difference. The new AS&R Donation page on BikeEastBay's website is an easy way for people interested in making a tax-deductible donation to Albany Strollers & Rollers to do so, and receive an immediate receipt. Your donation is fully tax-deductible via BikeEastBay, a 501(c)3 organization, as our fiscal sponsor. Family using BBR at Boss Burger

You may have ideas of your own for safer bicycling and sidewalks which might benefit from additional funding.   See our own website for additional info.  The direct link for making a donation via the new donation page is

Feel free to email Amy Smolens at or Harry Chomsky at if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading! If you like our work and want two-way participation, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to our Discussion List
Copyright © 2019 Albany Strollers & Rollers, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Albany Strollers & Rollers · 634 San Carlos Ave. · Albany, CA 94706 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp