Thursday, June 25, 2020

Disaster Aid or Street Festival

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., the trial/rehearsal weekend for Hudson Shared Summer Streets begins.

Although the intent of the plan is to support Hudson's small businesses by allowing restaurants to serve people on the sidewalk and allowing pedestrians to social distance by spreading out into the street, the notion persists that what's being proposed is a street fair or a mile long block party meant to attract throngs of people to Hudson. The fact that Hudson Hall, with some knowledge of what's involved in closing down Warren Street, participated in the planning seems to have fed the notion that Shared Summer Streets is the equivalent of Winter Walk--all weekend, every weekend, throughout the summer. The detail of the plan that allows organizations and businesses not on Warren Street to get permits for parking spaces adds to the confusion about the plan's purpose and goals.

Still, despite the dire warning voiced at the HPC Hospitality Emergency Business Task Force meeting this afternoon that "people could die because of what you are doing," the trial, rehearsal, pilot, whatever you want to call it, begins tomorrow. In advance of that, a "Parking Guide" and a list of FAQs about Shared Summer Streets were made available today. They are reproduced below. (Click on the images to enlarge.) You can download PDFs of the "Parking Guide" and the FAQs here.


  1. 1. Carole, you couldn’t have captured the moment any better. It felt like a trial – one in front of a jury who has already decided guilt. It actually felt as if I was living in a parallel universe – or perhaps on two zoom calls that merged and didn’t hear each other.
    I’ve followed this Shared Street concept since Peter Spear introduced it last year with Future Hudson (or the year before – I can’t keep track any more) and now that it has been brought forward to assist small businesses during the pandemic.
    I’ve been to these meetings and presentations and have followed the concerns and issues. My take away is that we are in a situation where businesses have been closed and we have to find a way to allow businesses to welcome their guests in a safe environment and try to find recovery in a pandemic.
    We are presented with a proposal to provide an opportunity to make this happen, to experiment and see if we can increase the square footage of our businesses to allow for a safer and hopefully, profitable, situation to survive this summer. A place for the visitors who are already coming to town, to give them the space to safely spend money, so we can collect sales tax and businesses can pay their rent.
    I’ve never seen a program come together so quickly in Hudson, and go from concept to test roll out – like this has. It has taken the entire business community; along with numerous organizations and city departments working together to accomplish this upcoming weekend.
    However, if you listen to folks who are so vehemently against this experimental weekend – you’d think that we are drag racing cars against pedestrians who are pushing baby carriages in the middle of traffic. That we are inviting in Mardi Gras parades and festivals that will wreak havoc on the town; encouraging partying, drinking and dancing to music 1000 times above city decibel limitations. And that we are inviting tents, food trucks, and other vendors to camp out on door steps and sell their wares – from faraway lands.

  2. 2. Honestly – not once, in ANY of the presentations, power points or other numerous pieces of information did any of this be offered up. ALL that was offered up was a potential solution, to save our businesses, to lend a hand to our neighbors, who own these businesses and find a solution for Hudson to live another day.
    The entire process, Hudson Hall, Future Hudson & Smart Streets have peppered every presentation with “how can we help” “how can we help you understand” “here is my cell phone – call me and I will be happy to talk to you”. It’s as transparent as it gets.
    If we don’t stop looking at just how it affects me, but how it affects us, this will be a more difficult recovery. This weekend is to gather what works and doesn’t work – to find out how WE can make it work for all of us. Listening to the last week, it’s disappointing to see that people don’t care about the collective Hudson.
    I said it before, and I will say it again, my hat is off to all involved who got us to this weekend. I am incredibly impressed how you keep the positive spirit moving forward in the face of this. I commend the all the small businesses who have held on and are putting their livelihoods on the line to stay invested in this town. I also bid sad farewells to those who decided to take their next journey.
    But this weekend, I’ll be walking in our shared streets, with a mask, socially distanced, spending money in our community. I will be volunteering (and volunteering my mom) to count traffic to help gather information on this weekend. What will you be doing?

    (PS - COVID19 testing sites in the City of Hudson are posted on the city's website. - and are scheduled normally, at JLE. I get a daily email update from the city website with all things pertaining to the city)

  3. Am I the only one who is confused about driving and parking in Warren.Shared a street .To much and to long.Next time use plan B.

  4. This plan essentially invites large numbers of people to congregate on Warren Street and is clearly at odds with social distancing. From my observations, less than fifty percent of pedestrians in Hudson are wearing masks. So, I predict the Summer Streets experiment will lead to a spike in cases of this deadly, easily communicable disease. Summer Streets should be postponed until the pandemic is under control.

  5. Hi all

    Today at 10am the Shared Summer Streets Trial Weekend begins.

    As the rest of the country experiences what we have known for weeks, we are among the very first to try and figure out how to move forward.

    These are the real questions we will have to answer together:

    How do we live and work together safely in a pandemic?

    How do we create more space for safe, physical distancing?

    I advocated for this approach because I believe that it is the only way we had a chance of moving fast to begin a process for a safe re-opening.

    If you feel your needs have not been sought, not been heard, or worst, have been ignored by the City, I understand.

    And I want to assure you, this is not the case.

    Quite the opposite.

    This Trial Weekend is the tool we are using to listen and discover your needs.

    This weekend could be the end of an experiment, or the beginning of a community-led process of recovery.

    Please consider becoming a part of this process.
    Give it a shot.
    See what it’s like.
    Let us know how it can be better.

    Thank you.

    Peter Spear

  6. What a Great Effort! This Can Work!!
    If you are in a hurry, going to work etc., Don't drive on Warren Street..use State, Columbia or Union.
    For Parking, use the side streets or the municipal parking lots.
    If you are afraid of people not wearing masks (this happens wherever you are) wear YOUR mask.

  7. John,

    I share your concerns. We have been in communication with the Columbia County Health Department.

    We are operating with an understanding from what we are learning about the virus that being inside is unsafe, and that being outdoors with social distancing measures is safer.

    And if there is any change in our status with NYS data on the virus, we would of course halt the program.


  8. If this results in a surge in cases in Hudson, the people who will suffer the most are the physicians, nurses and support staff who work at Columbia Memorial Hospital. Has anyone bothered to poll the people who work there to get their opinion since they are risking their lives every day for us. Healthcare workers lives matter.

  9. Bear in mind that, just yesterday, Gossips reported that there have been six new cases of COVID-19 and three more recoveries, increasing the number of active cases by three. The experiment should be suspended since the number of cases is rising even as we speak.

  10. I probably watched 200 cars drive on Warren Street today and not a single car was driving and slower than usual, and there was no one present to encourage them to slow down. I saw a family with a stroller walking down the middle of Warren and cars swerving around them at full speed. I saw a woman cleaning up after her dog in the middle of the street as a car whipped past. The barricades are not changing the speed of drivers one bit, whereas many pedestrians seem to think that the barricades imply that it is a street fair. Someone is going to get hurt.

  11. From my Warren Street vantage point between Fourth and Fifth Street today, I don't think I observed one single vehicle travelling at 5 mph. Experimenting with my own car (not on Warren) I found it well nigh impossible to maintain 5 mph in "Drive" on a flat paved surface without even touching the gas pedal. If the sponsors of this effort truly seek objective data, they might station a few volunteers with radar guns to monitor the speed of cars, particularly those moving downtown. I think the entire concept, though doubtless well intentioned, is largely fantasy. It probably is of most benefit to food service establishments, but the goal for these businesses could be just as well accomplished by cordoning off the parking spaces in front of their businesses and leaving the rest of the street alone.

  12. Dear Anonymous, I am that woman cleaning up after her dog and you are exactly right! I was trying to take three kids ages 10-13 for a walk as well to get some exercise and we had to keep moving out of the way of cars. There was no one monitoring this either. Why put an idea in place and not evaluate it? How can you do so without being present? I saw very few restaurants with people eating outside, because who wants to breath fumes while eating? And this AM Sat June 27th, few to NONE of the restaurants were open for breakfast. This whole idea needs revision.

  13. As a vocal skeptic about the Shared Streets plan, I want to say that I watched it over the weekend--even with the rainy spasms--and understand its potential. I don't know what the businesses along Warren think of it, but to my eyes and ears, being able to spread ones walking wings along Warren is a good thing and it's worth a good community discussions about making it work. First thought: make the alley's work better for deliveries. Second thought: more pre-Warren signage directing traffic around Warren.

    sincere thanks for the effort.