Sunday, December 16, 2018

Who Makes These Decisions?

It's been a while since I've ventured outside Hudson, so it was only yesterday, heading to Germantown, that I noticed the Disneyland fusion going on at the new roundabout.

The streetlamps that appear to have been inspired by Main Street at Disneyland have been joined by split rail fences that look like they belong in Frontierland. 


  1. Carole, not to be a pollyanna, but there is a huge upside to these new lamps: the ones they replaced were 3-stories tall and cast an unfocussed, creepy, extremely bright LED glow across the landscape. Sitting in our living room more than a mile away and watching television after nightfall those awful lights glared at us through our windows every evening. Now they are gone, and because the replacements are so much lower they don't reach us and so we enjoy a bit more of the lovely night sky. I think the designers were actually functioning like good place-makers when they installed these new lamps.

    Glare from LEDs is a scourge up and down the Hudson. Now I wish we could get the Catskill side of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to install yellower, less bright lights so they stop glaring at us harshly from across the river. Frankly I wish the Bridge Authority would do what the designers of the traffic circle did: install new lighting near the toll booths that acts like a good neighbor. No one should be tormented by LEDs in their home.

    1. I'm not commenting on the quality of the light. I'm commenting on the design of the lampposts, and the combination of the lampposts and the split rail fences.

  2. Interesting points about the lights, though, Annik. You just got a convert in me. T

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Apologies, I removed out of vanity for some mistakes.....

      This is a great question, and one I think about all the time trying to walk in Hudson.

      This post is an object lesson in the benefits of urban planning and design as I understand it. I invite any and all corrections or amendments. I’m not a planner.

      The simple answer is urban planners whose job it is to design public spaces to increase access people of all ages and abilities.

      I think these may feel alien because they are first example of human-scale urban planning and design into our shared landscape after decades of car-scale traffic engineering.

      For me, this is the single most important conversation happening in Hudson right now, because it involves asking the City the question,

      “Who are these urban planners designing for?”
      They designed for people who walk, people who bike, and people of all ages and all abilities - first. Then cars.

      This make sense because it has been proven that when you design for the most vulnerable on the street, it makes it safer for everyone.

      This is why, I think, the roundabout is only one lane.

      Planners made the decision because it served the shared vision to prioritize the safe passage of a solo pedestrian over the efficient transport of a car or truck.

      This is not the case at 3rd & Warren, for example. We, the City of Hudson, prioritize the efficient passage of a truck over the safe passage of a solo pedestrian.

      “How are these urban planners making this decision?”
      The secret sauce is a shared vision of the experience they wanted to create for people. In this case, I would say the vision was to increase access to the bridge for people of all ages & abilities.

      This is Complete Streets thinking in action.
It puts people first, over cars & trucks.

      As part of a sub-committee of the DPW Committee, Dominic Merante and I have drafted a resolution for the city to adopt Complete Streets policy. This would change the way the City of Hudson designs our intersections.

      We are not alone here in Hudson.
      The way we want to live in cities is changing all over the world. This kind of thinking will help Hudson compete, grow and, yes, attract tourists:

      Check out this piece in the New York Times today about how cities across the world are beginning to put people first, over cars.

  4. Some lower lights in the alleys of Hudson that would illuminate the street without blasting into everyone's windows would be a plus as well.

  5. While on the subject of lighting, I thought the flashings in the darkness was due to my blood pressure. Turns out its the intensity of those lights on top of the towers over the Hudson River !!!

  6. I agree VM. They're like disturbing pulsars, and their installation was accomplished free of the need for an environmental review.

    But when the utility offered to run the lines beneath the river almost nobody in Hudson cared enough to comment. Two people, and that was all. What a silly place.

  7. VM and umheimlich: are those very bright strobe lights at the northern end of Mt. Merino Road permanent? And do you know why they are pulsing like that? It’s very strange and eerie.

  8. The strobes lighting up the inside of my house are on the Athens side of the river, and I'd wager they're permanent. Surely they're meant to warn low-flying aircraft, and many years ago a small craft did fly into those wires killing the two or three people aboard. But I still dislike those strobes.