you for your excellent series of transportation articles [“Step
Away From the Car,” March 11]. There is only one real issue
that I have with the articles, and it’s that your reporters
did not mention that the Capital District Transportation Committee
is required to seek public input on transportation planning
issues as the regional administrator of the federal transportation
funding. All of us that are interested in the issues of transportation
access, and how well-thought-out transportation planning will
impact the quality of our communities in coming decades, need
to do our part to voice our concerns on these issues to the
CDTC. I have found that John Poorman and the CDTC do reach
out and solicit input. I suspect they don’t get many responses.
I was interested that your reporters had to seek alternative
transportation models in cities as far away as Sacramento,
when there is probably a better model located much closer.
When I visited Ottawa, Ontario, I was amazed at the comprehensive
nature and complete integration of their transit network.
Ottawa is blessed with an elaborate bike-trail system that
connects all parts of the region, urban and suburban, and
has a system of dedicated busways, special bus-only highways
that make bus travel fast and efficient, including a route
from the airport almost into the heart of the city. It appears
that Ottawa has gambled on the busways attracting development,
and the gamble is paying off in creating those nodes of development
that people in this area seem to feel we lack—justifying not
building light rail or BRT. And Ottawa is building light rail,
too. The entire system is integrated, with the light rail
stations located at intersections with the busways, with the
busways connecting to the bike paths, and all the stations
are outfitted with bike racks, as well. In addition, there
are bike rentals available in downtown Ottawa, to make it
easy for visitors to enjoy all these facilities, too. We could
learn a lot from Ottawa’s experience in providing many different,
clean and efficient alternatives to the private car.
I’d like to add a note related to Darryl McGrath’s piece on
bicycle usage. Existing bike facilities in this area could
be used to a much greater degree if there were a general consensus
among all municipalities that bike paths deserve the same
degree of winter maintenance as roadways and sidewalks. I
noticed (rather abruptly) during a ride shortly after Christmas
that while Albany had plowed the riverfront bike path at the
Corning Preserve, neighboring Menands had not. It defeats
the purpose of trying to use your bike to regularly commute
to work in this region when such a fantastic bike path is
closed for a season because one community can’t get out there
with a snowplow. I think the entire region suffers as a result.
To the Editor:
I enjoyed your coverage of alternative transportation, I felt
that the piece on bicycling [“Is There Room on This Road for
Two More Wheels?,” March 11] missed an important point. Yes,
bike racks are a great amenity and I look forward to seeing
more of them around. And the “bikeable bus” program is a great
step in the right direction (none of the buses I take regularly
are part of this program, so I’d love to see it expand). But
the one thing that would make my own bike riding much more
safe and pleasant would be if the city dealt with the out-of-control
As was pointed out by Bill Bruce in the article, Albany’s
old and narrow streets do not lend themselves to separate
bike lanes. Sharing the road with cars doesn’t have to be
such a huge deterrent, though. Some driver education might
help a little, but consider this: Potholes often occur toward
the right of the driving lane, which is where cyclists ride.
If a bicycle’s front wheel hits a pothole at a decent speed,
the rider may crash, even flipping over the handlebars. So
in order to bike safely on a pothole-ridden street, one must
either weave in and out among the potholes, or ride in the
traffic lane. One of the first rules of safe road sharing
is to ride predictably—in a straight line. So the second option
is usually the better one. This inconveniences and confuses
drivers (though it’s perfectly legal), who will often then
harass the cyclist, and sometimes pass dangerously.
Add to the mix the fact that drivers are often trying to dodge
potholes as well, to avoid the jarring and the stress to their
vehicles. In doing so, they’re focusing too much on the road
surface, so they may not see a biker, and they’re swerving
in and out—further increasing the likelihood of a collision.
So while I don’t mean to belittle other measures, fill the
potholes (making sure that they are done well to provide a
reasonably smooth and safe cycling surface) and then
move on to more complex ways to encourage cycling in the Capital
Along those lines, my own highest priorities would be improved
enforcement of speed limits on local streets, possibly including
bike-friendly traffic-calming measures (no cobblestone, please!),
and the creation of bike maps for each city in the region
(NYC DOT produced one for each borough, with a citywide map
on the flipside, in the late ’90s). Maybe there are also on-
and off-street bike paths in our future, rebates for people
who ride to work, or any number of other improvements. But
first—and not just for the cyclists, but for everyone—how
about keeping up with filling the potholes?
To the Editor:
10 Reasons to Ride the CDTA Bus—Not! [“Get on the Bus,” March
10. $500,000 pieces of junk (plastic and aluminum—no shocks).
Bus drivers who consider time schedules to be comedy relief.
Being held up for 30 minutes while driver loads/unloads the
Trashy and unkempt buses.
Trashy and unkempt bus passengers.
Drivers yelling out street names so that you can’t snatch
Engine noise levels that are probably a health hazard.
Windows plastered over with advertisements.
Seating designed for alien midgets.
Bus company executives that wouldn’t know a bus if they were
smacked by one.
am distraught in reading a response sent in by a Ms. Sheri
Turton [“The Price is Wrong,” Letters, March 11].
She stated that fixing up the Price Choppers that are close
to “minorities” and low-income residents is totally off base.
The word “minority” refers to “groups differing especially
in race, religion, and ethnic background, from the majority
of the population.” So is she indicating that, because people
are different from her, they do not need to be introduced
to a nicer environment? Does she mean that “hiring decent,
normal people” could not mean any of those people in the low-income
I am ashamed and appalled that, in the Capital District where
our good Governor resides, and lots more politicians, people
feel as bad as Ms. Turton does. You not only make me see why
the snub-nosed citizens who work here don’t shop here unless
they have normality waiting on them. I have also come to see
that in order to be counted, one must live in a place that
has a doorman greeting me.
Wake up! No matter what part of the track you come from, everyone
deserves better. This is a wake-up call for me. I will shop
more at the ghetto stores so Ms. Turton and her band of known
shoppers will be graciously not coming in. They prefer nicer,
decent people who are normal to wait on them. Even though
I shop at Wal-Mart in Glenmont, I do feel that the price is
right. We all need to eat and live, so stop your crying and
realize we live in a country, I pray, with more than your
for the cloth grocery bag [The Simple Life, March 11]. I have
five bags that can hold twice as much as plastic bags. The
only problem with them is returning them to the car after
I put groceries away. But that just took me a short time to
remember to keep the bags in the car.
Remember, “reduce” is the first word in the slogan “reduce,
reuse, recycle.” If you buy some bags, or get them free if
you join some environmental group, then you never use any
plastic or paper bags, and you avoid all the environmental
problems associated with either of these products: No use
of resources (oil or wood); no manufacturing or transport
costs to the environment; nothing to throw away (or blow away).
Believe me, I’m not using the cloth bags to get a nickel off
on my grocery bill.
the page with the story “The Whole Truth?” [Newsfront, March
25], we ran a photo caption under Chief Robert Wolfgang’s
picture that was very similar to a quote by Public Safety
Commissioner John C. Nielsen, which was attributed correctly
in the article. (The caption read, “It’s not what I said,
it’s what I said: Police Chief Robert Wolfgang.”) We intended
this caption to be a more general commentary on the article
content, and not to misattribute that particular quote to
the chief. We apologize for any confusion.
In last week’s food column [March 25], we listed an incorrect
address and phone number for the restaurant Bourbon Street.
The correct address is 2209 Central Ave., Colonie, and the
phone number is 382-1110.
In last week’s review of Richard Thompson at the Egg [Live,
March 25], a photo of Thompson was incorrectly credited to
Joe Putrock. The photographer was actually John Whipple.
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