My sister lives in the neighborhood where we grew up. She rides her bike all over the city and she loves it. I was on the phone with her Sunday evening as I was walking down to Lincoln Park pool to go for a swim -- hoping I would beat the incoming thunderstorms -- and I did. It was a glorious swim.
My sis asked me why I didn't try bike riding around Albany, she was thinking it would clearly save time getting around - she's right of course, though I keep thinking about all those hills in this town. I also spared her the details of my fear of things like this horror that happened to Roger, or worse... and say, "yeah, I know lots of people who do ride their bikes around here, I should invest in one!"
CDTA has a system map - available in old-school hard copy style or on the website where you can zoom, click and get schedule information. It's very colorful, and fun. When I look at that map, I have visions of a robust system carrying satisfied riders throughout our region.
Then I remember that while there are lots of routes, when you subtract those that are only commuter routes, then subtract those that only run on weekdays, then subtract those that don't run on Sundays - the colorful lines traveling throughout the region look rather drab on Sunday.
Yes, there's still some service.
I looked at the CDTA buses listed in Albany - there are 35 on the list, even though one or two of them don't actually go into the city of Albany. Of those 35 "Albany" bus lines, there are a whopping ELEVEN that actually run on Sundays.
How bizarre is it that over at the TU's Capital Region at the Crossroads blog people are arguing about the viability of light rail and the general use of public transit by suburban-minded folks, while there are plenty of people in city neighborhoods who don't have basic transportation available to them seven days per week? If you live in the up-and-coming Delaware Avenue neighborhood, you can walk to the movies or take a stroll for ice cream, but you can't catch a bus on the main drag on Sundays.
Here's the short list of "Albany" buses that actually run on Sundays:
The 1 (Central Avenue from downtown Albany to Colonie Center)
The 7 (from downtown Albany to Glenmont Wal-Mart)
The 8 (called "Arbor Hill" this route connects the South End and Arbor Hill and has a little stint on Washington Avenue between Main and Quail streets)
The 10 (Western Avenue bus from downtown to Crossgates)
The 11 (UAlbany Shuttle -- non University folks are allowed on the bus)
The 12 (Washington Avenue bus - from downtown to Crossgates and on Sundays takes you to Wal-Mart at Crossgates Commons)
The 13 (New Scotland Avenue - from downtown Albany to Slingerlands Price Chopper)
The 14 (Rensselaer/Third St./ Amtrak - goes from downtown Albany all the way to Averill Park-- hmmm, looking at the route for Sundays looks like this line overlooks Averill Park on Sundays, but at least you can get to Amtrak from Albany by bus on a Sunday)
The 22 - (Albany/ Troy via Watervliet)
The 55 (Albany- Schenectady via Route 5 - aka Central Avenue/ State Street)
The Shuttlefly (Colonie Center, Albany International Airport and Route 7)
Now, if you're going to be out past oh, 6:45 or so... your choices for bus service narrow even more leaving only these six lines running...1, 8, 11, 12, 22, 55.
Thinking back to my conversation with my sister, getting a bike on the road could lead to more productive Sundays for me, and bike lanes to make riding throughout the city more safe, might get me out on the bike sometime. I sure hope Albany's first comprehensive plan maps out some bike lanes.
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