Where I work, I have access to the Mohawk-Hudson bike-hike trail, though it's not direct access. To get there, I have to ride over a ped/bike bridge over a highway, then I have to go around a community college (people that know the trail can probably guess where I work now). The bridge is in decent shape, no significant issues with the riding surface (except the drainage grates that will grab a wheel if I get too close to the edge). Access to the ramps, though, leaves a bit to be desired, especially for someone on a skinny-tired bike. To get to the bridge on one side I need to leave the sidewalk, cross grass, a small patch of gravel then a VERY abrupt transition to pavement on the way to concrete. On the other side, there's a curb that's fine to cross going one way but not the other and in order to avoid it I actually have to ride on the road, which happens to be the access ramp to the highway. The entrances to the bridge are not on the property of the place I work or the community college so I know I wouldn't contact them, I don't believe the bridge is officially part of the trail system as it's not directly attached to the trail so I wouldn't contact the trail advocacy group. Do I contact the city or the state DOT as the access to the bridge are along side a segment of an interstate?
Hallux, this is definitely an advocacy issue. It sounds like there are access issues to get to the ramps, both for cyclists and for those who are handicapped.
A link to the Google map view would be soooooo wonderful, or even just a tiny hint of where this occurs on the super short MHBH Trail.
My first contact would be to the Community College. If you can find the right person to talk to, perhaps a bike/ped coordinator. They likely know whether the bike/ped bridge is town/city or state DOT or some other agency, authority, or commission. They also likely know someone at that department or agency that you could contact.
In an ideal situation, it would be great to have the Friends of the Trail, the local Community Collage and you (perhaps as a rep of a local biking group you belong to) all sign a group letter via email supporting proper access to/from the bridge from the Community College and the trail. Follow up in a week or so with a phone call. With any luck, you'll get a response, hopefully favorable.
So, after seeing the aerial view, I take back what I suggested before.
It looks like the ramp up to the pedestrian bridge was designed like so many others, with no thought of cyclists. It appears that the sidewalk connects to a short concrete path, roughly the same width as the sidewalk, up to the start of the ramp. Consider yourself lucky that there isn't signage directing you to walk your bike.
If the bridge ever has to be replaced (accident or road widening, perhaps) advocate to have better bicycle access to the bridge, until then...
Thanks. If you look at the Street View image, the area at the base of the ramp (after the dark pavement) is actually gravel and the area of the sidewalk paralleling the road is actually VERY chewed up right at the path to the bridge. In the aerial view, you can actually see a "herd path" in the grass (starting at the white 'X' on the main sidewalk) where people actually cut across it to avoid that area, but that doesn't make the transition to the ramp any easier.
Streetview, now why didn't I think of that. Know I finally see what you mean.
I might try approaching the Schenectady department of engineering first. They should be able to direct you to the right agency/department if it isn't theirs. Take some new photos, the streetview images have a 2011 date, and and ask them to fix it to be ADA compliant.