No public pressure shelves village bike law plan

VALATIE–The Village Board has tabled a proposed law that would ban bike riders on Main Street. At the September 10 meeting Mayor Diane Argyle said she had not heard from community members about the proposed law the board asked Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons to present last month.

The proposed law stated that “no person shall ride a bicycle, skateboard, non-motorized scooter, or use roller blades or other wheeled devices upon the sidewalk along Main Street between the intersection of New Street and Main Street and the intersection of Lake Street and Main Street. In such locations, bicycles may be walked along the sidewalk.” At the August board meeting, the board discussed complaints from local businesses owners about the issue of kids riding bikes on along Main Street.

At the September 10 meeting, Randall Schmit, a Main Street resident and president of VERA (Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association), said that the issue with bike riders on Main Street has “gotten a lot better.” But he said he would talk to other members of the business community who had issues with the bike riders.

The mayor said that there has been “no other comment from any one else in the village about the bike law,” so she asked the board to table a public hearing or more discussion on the proposed law.

At the August meeting, Mr. Fitzsimmons pointed out that there is no state law requiring bicycle riders to ride on the street or to ban riding on sidewalks. The state leaves it up to local municipalities whether to make these laws, though there are laws that say that bicyclists must operate in compliance with the state Vehicle and Traffic Law.

The mayor said at the September meeting that if people do have an issue with bicyclists they should call the village and let the board know where and when they had the issue.

The board then reviewed a request from the Valatie Community Theatre to put a sign with theater information in the grassy triangle at the intersection of Route 9 and Main Street. The mayor said that the state is still planning to change that intersection and may remove the triangle and the exit lane (“slip lane”) from Route 9 onto Main Street next year.

Currently cars coming north on Route 9 can use the slip lane to exit Route 9 onto Main Street. The state wants to close that lane and make all traffic go to the intersection of Route 9 and Main Street. The plan is to create a right turn lane for cars turning onto Main Street from Route 9.

The reason for changing the intersection is to make the crosswalk on Main Street safer. The state has funded construction of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail along a National Grid right-of-way through the village, which uses the Main Street crosswalk at that intersection to connect sections of the trail. Right now, the slip lane has a yield sign at the crosswalk and the state is worried drivers will not look out for pedestrians and bikers.

Mayor Argyle said work on the intersection will most likely not get done until next year. Construction on the trail started in the spring with several sections in the village having been cleared and stone was put down. But the trail is not open for use yet. Work will not be completed until the fall of 2020.

Also at the meeting:

• Peter Bujanow, who is working with the Valatie Community Theatre, said he would help get construction bids for repair work on a leak at the theater building. The building that houses the theater is owned by the village. Mr. Bujanow also plans to help the village apply for grants to do a survey of all the work that needs to be done in the building. He is a candidate for Town of Kinderhook supervisor

• Village Clerk Barbara Fischer said she is getting more information about banners with information about local veterans that can be put in the village. She said she was working with the Town of Kinderhook on the banner, and that they are like ones that are posted in some cities and villages in Rensselaer County

• The board approved applying for a state Greenway grant for a shore line and erosion study along the Kinderhook Creek in the village.

The board approved moving the next board meeting to Tuesday, October 22 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building. The board normally meets on the second Tuesday of the month.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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