Friday, February 20, 2015

Why Not Us?

A reader brought an article to Gossips' attention, which appeared in the Berkshire Eagle back in December: "Construction set to begin on bridge over CSX tracks at PEDA site." The bridge in question is in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (PEDA stands for Pittsfield Economic Development Authority), and the $4 million cost of the new bridge is being funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. This, of course, calls to mind our own predicament with the Ferry Street Bridge, and the City's efforts to find the money to repair or replace it.

Besides being in another state, there are some differences between the bridge in Pittsfield and our Ferry Street Bridge. First, the bridge in Pittsfield carries a street that goes through a business park and is seen to be "crucial to attracting tenants to the site of General Electric's former power transformer facility." But wait. Tourism is finally getting recognition as a major element in Hudson's economy, and the Ferry Street Bridge to crucial to development of the Dunn building and the land east of Water Street. Then too, the bridge to be built in Pittsfield replaces one that was taken down in July 2012. Do things have to get worse before they can get better?

The article in the Berkshire Eagle explains that the bridge in Pittsfield "is one of 31 CSX bridges across the state that the DOT is fixing so that the rail company can run double stack rail cars from its base in Selkirk, N.Y. to Worcester." Since the tracks on our side of the Hudson River are now leased to Amtrak, it would seem unlikely that CSX is planning to run double stack rail cars on the tracks that separate Hudson from its waterfront, so, thankfully perhaps, there goes that reason to fix the bridge.


  1. Thank you, Gossips, for saying "repair or replace."

    At some point, and without public involvement, the City of Hudson dropped the concept of "repairing" the bridge and now speaks only of replacing it.

    Actually, we do know when it became official (2/19/13), but the public has no confidence that anyone involved in the decision knew why. How could the city DPW have known enough to make such a decision two years ago when today engineering investigations are still being conducted into the bridge's integrity?

    Nevertheless, in February 2013 the know-nothing, chronically incurious Common Council voted to authorize an application for a two million dollars STEP grant, "for the demolition and replacement of the Ferry Street Bridge."

    Naturally, the decision to REPLACE the bridge was guided by visions of two million dollars, rather than any comparative estimate for repairing problems which weren't then understood well enough to assign a dollar amount.

    Without even addressing the bridge's historical and aesthetic value to us, residents who've had no part in any of these discussions have had the word "replace" drummed into our heads, a meme which likely got started by a couple of grant writers working hand-in-hand with a DPW whose colossal contempt for the public substitutes for imagination.

    Following were the votes for demolishing and replacing the bridge. Without the benefit of public input, somehow everyone only speaks of "replacing" the bridge nowadays (all but Gossips). So even though we never got the grant, the city still won something over its residents.



    Ayes: President Moore, Aldermen Donahue, Friedman, Haddad, Pertilla, Pierro, Ramsey and Stewart. (1,476)

    Nays: Aldermen Marston and Wagoner. (360)

  2. “IN recent years, fences and barricades have blocked the public right to have access to our seas. We are becoming a landlocked people, fenced away from our own beautiful shores, unable to exercise the ancient right to enjoy our precious beaches.” Senator Ralph Yarborough, Texas 1969

    Grants chasing projects that require engineering? Makes as much sense as hiring a mixologist to separate sewage from storm water...

    Placing the cart before the horse allows for the maximum graft per grant. Shrimp Box, Schroeder's Chevy (twice), Rick's Refrigerator, Hallenbeck's Harbor...

    There seems to be a pattern of city officials "assuming the wrong direction" whenever grant money is involved. The routine waterfront ploy is to hold the Lady Faithful hostage until Albany produces more of Mr. Moore's free money.

    By now city "leaders" have come to realize that any "free" money obtained for Scalera's (five year old) shovel ready new and improved wharf, will obligate the city, to serve the very people they have evicted. A colossal waste of citizen liberty and tax payer's money.

    1 Riparian