Thursday, October 6, 2016

You Can't Please All of the People . . .

At last night's Common Council Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee meeting, the principal topic of discussion was a petition dated September 23, 2016, directed to Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, and bearing the signatures of thirty owners of retail establishments on the 500 block of Warren Street. The text of the petition, protesting the Hudson Bed Races which were to take place the next day, reads as follows:
We, the business owners and owners of retail establishments in the 500 block of Warren Street, urge you to consult us in future decisions to hold parades on what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the week.
There are many other suitable locations in the City of Hudson for a 7 bed race. Why not Front Street, with the race starting at Promenade Hill in front of the Chamber of Commerce? Additionally, this type of function could have been held at 5PM on a Saturday, or another day of the week.
As the signs in the 500 block indicate, there is no parking on either side from Noon to 4PM tomorrow. This is the only block that is so marked.
We are not against Parades, but the date/time/location for this were not the wisest choice.
Needless to say, the petition sparked discussion at the committee meeting about the mass gathering permit process and reignited talk of relocating such events to streets other than Hudson's main street. Two instances, in 2012 and 2013, of merchants in the 300 block of Warren Street being blindsided when their block was closed to traffic on an early summer Saturday for car shows sponsored by American Glory motivated the Common Council to rewrite the requirements for obtaining a mass gathering permit.

The new statute, adopted in June 2014, requires that applications for mass gathering permits be submitted 120 days before the event is to take place and, if the event requires a street or any part of a street to be closed, "the applicant must cause to be posted in the newspaper of record notice of such application within seven days of submitting an application for a special event or parade to the City Clerk. . . . Written public comments regarding the special event or parade application may be submitted to the Clerk within 10 days of the first publication of said notice." The mass gathering permit application for the Hudson Bed Races was submitted on January 27, 2016--eight months before the event was to take place--and presumably it was noticed in the Register-Star, the newspaper of record, in a timely fashion back in early February, but there seems to have been no public comment on the event until the day before it happened, when the "No Parking" signs went up. Clearly, the permitting process isn't working as it was intended to.

It may also be time to reconsider using Warren Street for every event the happens in Hudson. While it's understandable that people want their events to take place on Warren Street--it is the center of our community after all--it may be time to give more consideration to the the impact such events have on our merchants. A point made by Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who sits on the Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee, should be given serious consideration: "By putting events on secondary streets, we expand the city center." Perhaps next year the bed races can be on South Front Street, as the petition suggests, and help to forge the link between Warren Street and the waterfront we've been talking about for the past twenty years.


  1. The 400 block wouldn't mind- provided the races started early enough to be over by noon for shop opening.

  2. On behalf of the Bed Races Planning Committee, we apologize for an inconveniences caused. We hope to work out the "bed bugs" for next year's event.

    We would like to thank everyone who participated as well as all of the businesses that supported the the event. We are scheduling an Awards night for the winners and participants.

    Thank you to everyone who came out to view the event, we were happy that the event appeared to represent a cross-section of Hudson and Columbia County.

    Thanks again!
    Hudson Bed Races Planning Committee