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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

December 1, 2004

   Albany Public Library


  1. Introductions


  1. Minutes

            Minutes of the November 2004 meeting were approved.


  1. Guest  Speaker:


Jesse Day, Executive Director of the New York State Bicycling Coalition


The New York Bicycling Association is a state-wide, non-profit organization whose mission is to increase education, safety and access for bicycle riders in New York State .  They have recently launched an initiative to promote ideas that assist communities becoming bicycle-friendly.


The benefits to riders of making Albany streets more accessible for bicycles were presented.  They include personal health, economy, freedom of mobility, increase of home values.  Rewards the city would receive are a decrease in traffic, noise, pollution and energy.  The city would also realize economic benefits and better quality of life for residents and businesses.  It could alleviate Albany ’s pressing need for parking spaces. 


Although the weather conditions and distance a resident has to travel are considerations, 40 percent of urban trips are 2 miles are less and take 12-15 minutes by bike.   However, for several reasons they do not use bicycles for those trips.  They include crashes as a result of riding the wrong way, poorly paved sidewalks, inadequate street lighting, the lack of signs, and motorists.  In one recent year, 200,000 deaths were attributed to lack of physical activity, only 700 people died in accidents related to bicycle riding.


There are four considerations for municipalities to make to institute successful solutions for bike riders; they are education, engineering, enforcement, and encouragement.  Albany has already taken some steps toward the transformation from a car-dominated community to a one that encourages bicycling.  The necessary requirements for this transition are attitude, demand, and good facilities. 


NYBC is working with the city as it renovates streets and roads.  For the most part, the width of Albany ’s major streets is conducive to bicycle riding.  As the repaving of other streets is under taken, some concessions are being made.  CDTA has placed bike racks on some busses permitting residents to make multi-modal trips.  Additional actions the City might consider include designating and painting additional lanes for riders which is relatively inexpensive.  Turn lanes and “cut throughs” could be designated.  NYBC is working with the city planner as revitalization plans are implemented.  They are aware that some Albany neighborhoods simply do not have the capacity to accommodate bicycle lanes and may never be bike friendly because they are made from cobblestone or are extremely narrow. 


Members of the NYBC are available to address individual neighborhood associations.  Their office is located at 5 New Scotland Avenue , telephone 436-0889.  The website address is




  1. Committee Reports


·        Cable Committee

There has been no activity on the City’s part.  Verizon is now offering cable service and Time Warner is evening out rates.  The committee members are considering organizing to form the public access channel themselves.


·        Budget Committee

The Budget Committee prepared and delivered a statement to the Common Council.  The point was made that the mayor’s salary is double that of neighboring cities.  This committee needs new members and should start meeting earlier in the year.


·        Committee on University & Community Relations

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 8, 2004 , at the Albany Police Department, 526 Central Avenue .  A copy of the agenda was provided.  There will be no January meeting.


·        Neighborhood Works Conference

The Neighborhood Resource Center sponsored its fifth annual Neighborhood Works Conference on Saturday, November 20, 2004 , from 8:45 AM to 1:00 PM at the First Lutheran Church , 646 State Street , Albany .  The event was very successful with 86 people attending.  Organizers believe that the shorter length of workshops on the subjects of zoning and code enforcement as well as the availability of food contributed to its success.  Guest presenters were impressed and gave credibility to the event.  The attendees who are members of the Common Council as well as those representing the City of Albany commented that they gained knowledge from the event.  Eight or nine participants volunteered to serve on a task force to study zoning and code enforcement issues.  The committee will meet only for three months and will report to CANA .  Colin McKnight and David Phaff will organize.  The first meeting of the zoning group will be On December 13 at 6:30 PM at the Pine Hills Library, 817 Western Avenue .  The first meeting of the codes task force will be on December 15, 2004 , at 7 PM in meeting room 1 at the main library.  The Neighborhood Works Committee was recognized and praised for their contribution.


·        Nominating Committee

The committee presented the following nominations for CANA executive officers for 2005-2006.  They will be brought to a vote at the January 5 meeting.


                  Chair               Howard Stoller, Melrose NA

                  Vice Chair      Holly Katz, Mansion, NA

                  Treasurer       Stephen Winters, Second Ave. NA

                  At Large         Mary Connair , Delaware Area NA 

                                          Andrew Harvey, Park South NA

                                          Patricia Maxon, Upper Washington Ave. NA

                                          Fred Perkins, New Scotland/Woodlawn NA

                                          Marggie Skinner, Pine Hills , NA

                  Past Chair      Harold Rubin, Center Square Assoc



  1. Communications, Announcements & New Business


·         The Chairman has received a call from Sarah Fawcett of “The Gazette Newspaper “ asking for comment on reducing the size of the Albany Common Council.  CANA ’s response will be that members place value on the council as it is.  The subject will be placed on the agenda for a future meeting.  


·         The draft of CANA ’s vision statement was discussed.  Suggestions included the point that CANA needs to be take more activist role in defining issues define issues and developing a common vision.  Basic philosophies that members agree upon should be identified and leaders selected to pursue them.  A statement that input is welcome from everyone should be included as well as reference to civic engagement and community consensus.  A reference to the desirability of neighborhoods working together and a suggestion for ways for neighborhood associations to welcome new residents need to be added.  The concepts of quality of life and safety should be incorporated.  Time at the February CANA meeting will be devoted to the revision of the vision statement.  Prior to that, a revised draft will be e-mailed to members.


·         The suggestion was made that a delegation of three or four CANA members meet with staff of “The Times Union” to encourage reporting on neighborhood issues and events.  Mark Yolles with meet with editors and suggest that a section be developed that is devoted to such events as CANA meetings, neighborhood association meetings, Common Council meetings, school events, etc.


·         Although the developers of the school facilities plan committed to completing new buildings and renovations without increases in funding, it is now running short of money.  In fact, the facilities plan changes weekly.  As a result, one of the revisions to the plan includes deleting items from the Giffen Memorial School infrastructure that may affect the safety and health of students.  GIffen is seen as having the greatest need.  CANA adopted a resolution to be presented at the Albany School Board meeting on December 7 demanding that no cuts be made that will affect the health and safety of students attending Giffen.


·         The number of charter schools being approved for Albany is a growing concern in large part due to the funds these facilities draw away from the city’s public schools.  The common Council has called for a moratorium on the development of any additional charter schools and CANA members were urged to do so as well. 


6.   The meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM .        




Meeting Attendees

December 1, 2004





Holly Katz


Colin McKnight


Mark P. Yolles


Daniel W. VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

John Cirrin


James E Dow (illegible)

West End

86 Hunter Ave

Andrew Harvey

Park South

Ronald Bailey

West Hill

268 Sheridan Ave

Georgia Sullivan


18 Lincoln Ave

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Karen Cunniff


Joseph Cunnif


Howard Stoller


Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

1400 Washington Ave

Donald Wardle

United Tenants

125 Dove St

Matthew Montesano


Daniel Coleman

Albany Fire Dept

Jack COnsiglio

New Albany

Stephen Winters

Second Ave NA

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Archie Goodbee

Friends of AG