Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Word on Shared Summer Streets

The trial/rehearsal weekend for Hudson Shared Summer Streets has been postponed until next weekend, June 26 to June 28, while the city attorneys work out some of the legal details. In the meantime, there are some lingering questions about the shared streets program--especially about its impact on residents. Yesterday, Peter Spear of Hudson Future released the following statement: "Hudson Shared Summer Streets: How does it work?"   

The Hudson Shared Summer Streets proposal is going to become a reality next weekend. 
Hudson is joining cities around the world, big and small, in experimenting with its streets. These changes, usually take months and years of careful planning. We have done this in a matter of weeks.
Here are four key parts of the Shared Summer Streets plan:
1  Monday to Thursday, Warren Street will be normal. During the week, Warren Street will be open to two-way thru traffic, and normal parking rules apply to spaces not occupied by a business or community group.
2  Friday to Sunday, Warren Street will be a Shared Street between 7th and Front. This means it will be open to pedestrians, and local traffic only at a 5mph speed limit. Drivers will still be able to access any address on these streets to park, make deliveries or pick ups.
Businesses are encouraged to arrange deliveries in the early mornings or through the alleys during these times. Public transportation will continue on their regular schedule at 5mph. 
3  Warren Street businesses can occupy the sidewalks and adjoining on-street parking spaces by completing a permit through the City.
4  Any Hudson business or organization can apply for a space and Warren Street property owners or 1st floor businesses can grant their spaces to non-Warren Street entities. . . .
This pilot is a collaboration between the City of Hudson, Hudson Hall, and FUTURE HUDSON, with financial support from Columbia Economic Development Corporation [CEDC] and The Spark of Hudson, and technical support by Design for Six Feet. 
Yesterday, representatives of the Shared Summer Streets initiative--Sage Carter of Hudson Hall, Kaja KΓΌhl of Design for Six Feet, and Peter Spear of Hudson Future--made a proposal for a grant from the Tourism Board for funding for infrastructure and marketing. Although the general sentiment was that supporting Shared Streets was "the best thing the Tourism Board can do for Hudson right now," the group balked at providing any money for marketing. Tourism Board member Tamar Adler asserted, "We should be putting all our money into tangible things." Carter argued, "We need to build confidence in our community's ability to handle this, and a lot of that is messaging." The Tourism Board agreed to provide funding for infrastructure--planters, barriers, etc.--but not for marketing. The Tourism Board's decision to grant funds for Hudson Shared Summer Streets must be approved by the Common Council. That is expected to happen at a special meeting scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 23, at 6:00 p.m.


  1. So, we are faced with the question: is this the best time to try these rather daring new programs--or the worst of times? And this should be preceded by another question: should the City government be committing any public funds (including those from other agencies and branches of government) or efforts while the City has, essentially, suspended the democratic process? We have not had a legitimate public meeting in several months. (I'm sorry, but Zoom just doesn't do it!) Yet the Mayor is launching a multi-million-dollar taxpayer sponsored building project and issuing "executive orders" reforming the police department. Is this the time to shut down Warren Street to vehicular traffic? I'd say that these Covid times are the time to do nothing! Let's get our feet back underneath us, re-establish democracy and the many democratic procedures and laws to ensure a fair representation of the peoples' wishes before committing so many public funds to these projects.

    1. Peter

      There has been some confusion about what we are proposing. I take responsibility for that.

      We are proposing that we as a community share - not close - our streetspace to keep each other safe, and help our businesses re-open safely.

      The Shared Summer Street program does not, in any way, close Warren Street to vehicular traffic.

      Instead, by opening to local traffic only, all of Warren Street is accessible by car, bike and foot at 5mph.

      Plus, we get to have an entirely new experience of our city, while practicing safe, physical distancing.

      This is a new concept that is new to Hudson, but is being proven effective in forward-thinking cities across the country right now.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Peter 518.610.0198

    2. Thanks Peter. My comment was more about timing. You want to do this this summer? It may be a great idea (though Bill Huston raises some pretty solid objections), but not now. We're barely recovering from covid--economically or politically. We need the tools for community conversation reinstated before we embark on these big projects.

      Thanks so much for the efforts. --pm

    3. I think you continue to miss the point, Peter Meyer. This is a temporary change to assist the recovery of our Warren Street businesses by allowing them to spread out into the street, where people will feel more comfortable about dining and shopping at this time. This is not meant to be forever--unless, of course, we all love it. It's meant for this summer--the summer of COVID-19. To put it off until next year makes no sense. It is needed now.

      Regarding cars on the street, it is my understanding that no car will be allowed on the street unless the driver has a specific need to access a particular block. No one will be driving the length of Warren Street, dodging pedestrians.

    4. Carole, I don't miss the point at all. Having been a witness to cars crashing into people because of a slip of the foot (the brake is awfully close to the accelerator), I don't think it wise to have cars driving around chairs and tables at any speed -- 5 mph in the wrong direction will crush a kid. I was on the scene at 5th and Warren several months ago when an elderly man going west on Warren turned left on 5th -- going, most likely, not more than 5mph, hit a woman crossing the cross walk, with the light... Not pretty. These are real concerns, not to mention the State Transportation Department--you can't put up a Stop Sign in Hudson without their approval. The liability issues for this little weekend "test" are enomrmous. And as I said, in my first comment, the public expenditures just to carry out this test --lawyers' fees alone will be in the thousands -- without any public notice is just bad democracy.

    5. Having just seen the Today Show segment (or most of it), I understand the marketing strategy here (congrats to whoever put that together!) and am sure many businesses will benefit from some street closures (a la Winter Walk), especially if the weather cooperates. But I do hope our marketing experts take some time to consider the larger community in their planning, including folks who have registered their concerns here. Good luck this weekend.

  2. Let me get this straight - the City of Hudson will be encouraging pedestrians to walk in the streets with traffic that is supposedly only going to be traveling at 5 mph. This is just dumb. Of course, it is a really smart thing to do if you want someone to be run over by a car or truck AND you want to be sued by someone who gets run over. No matter how fast or slow cars and trucks are moving, adding pedestrians to the mix is a recipe for disaster. Pedestrians should NEVER feel welcome in a street with traffic, no matter the speed limit. Peter Spear, you of all people should know better. You claim to be for SAFE STREETS? This is a joke, right? Or has all the heat and humidity fried your brain? Who the hell is going to enforce the new speed limit - how many cops will have to work overtime to be out on Warren slowing cars and trucks down? What is the cost of all the signs that will have to be posted? Get smart, people, if you want humans walking in the streets YOU MUST REMOVE ALL TRAFFIC FIRST. Is your thinking that a car or truck moving at "only 5 mph" cannot possibly hurt or kill someone if hit? Talk to the city attorney -- if he or she approves of your idea you should most definitely replace him or her with someone with some common sense. Has the Chief of Police okayed this, too? The commissioner? The mayor? Replace them all if they have. BILL HUSTON

    1. Bill

      The concept of a Shared Street is new to me - but it is not new.

      This is a solution that is being proven by cities all over the country right now. In Portland, Oakland, Denver, New York City and discussed in smaller cities like Kingston, Newburgh.

      There is plenty of evidence that people can figure this out. We figured out the new rotary. We figured out how to drive in parking lots.

      I think if we give ourselves a chance, we might surprise ourselves - all while having an entirely new experience of our city.

    2. I don't know you Bill Huston, but in the entire history of Gossips I have never laughed as hard as that.

  3. One more detail which was visible in our presentation, but I neglected to mention is that at each intersection will be barricades in the middle of the street with signs indicating that Warren Street is open to local traffic only.

    In this way, Warren Street is open to essential trips and emergency vehicles, but also slow enough to be shared with pedestrians.

    This is another reasons for our trial run - to give us all an experience of something that can be hard to describe, and that must be experienced.

    1. I will be looking forward to the TRIAL ACCIDENT that you can study after a pedestrian or pedestrians get in the way of a vehicle and wind up in the hospital or morgue. Let's hope it's not a mother and her infant child in a stroller who couldn't get out of the way of some psycho driver.

  4. Thanks Peter Spear, Hudson Hall & Kaja for putting this project together. And thank you to the Mayor for approving this and sending to the CC this week. I really hope the CC supports this - it's so important - FOR EVERYONE.

    I know it's a lot to ask of Hudson, but let's ask how can we can learn more, or more importantly, HOW CAN I HELP. There is plenty on this blog, RegStar, the city website to know what't going on at this point. The pandemic has given us 111 days to scour the internet for movies and conspiracy theories - we can actually find facts too.

    As if 2020 isn't hard enough - we need to argue about how to not move forward, not figure out a solution and not do anything because we don't like how the city feels now. We change it or with this attitude, let's just hang it up and call it century and quit.

    Anyway - thanks again to Smart Streets - my mom and I enjoyed capturing traffic data today. Let us know else we can assist. I look forward to coming weekend experiment. I hope it works. I hope it jets the engine for small business, bringing back customers & rehiring for the town.

    And hopefully the Tourism board will continue to be open minded about funding in general for this project, marketing or not - as we can build it but they won't come if they don't know it's here.

    We are already into August before we make budget adjustments - so it's going to hurt hard for every month we pile an extra budget cut month on top of of this year.

  5. Mike Lydon if StreetPlans has been gathering cities raps on to the pandemic In this google document:

    COVID19 Livable Streets Response Strategies - Google Drive

    The document shows that to e following cities have implemented a slow street - like the one we are proposing.
    Austin, TX
    Alameda, CA
    Arlington, MA
    Baltimore, MD
    Bellevue, WA
    Bend, OR
    Bentonville, AR
    Brussels, Belgium
    Burlington, ON
    Burlington, VT
    Cambridge, MA
    Carrboro, NC
    Charlotte, NC
    Chicago, IL
    Dallas, TX
    Edmonds, WA
    Emeryville, CA
    Fayetteville, AR
    Greensboro, NC
    Hackney, London
    Halifax, NS
    Hounslow, UK
    Kansas City, MO
    Los Angeles, CA
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Lambeth, UK
    Madison, WI
    Malden, MA
    Manchester, UK
    Milwaukee, WI
    Minneapolis, MN
    Mississauga, ON
    Nashville, TN
    Milwaukee, WI
    Montgomery County, MD
    New Orleans, LA
    Oakland, CA
    Palo Alto, CA
    Pasadena, CA
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Porto, Portugal
    Providence, RI
    Redwood City, CA
    Sacramento, CA
    Salt Lake City, UT
    San Antonio, TX
    San Diego, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    San Mateo, CA
    Seattle, WA
    Somerville, MA
    Tameside, UK
    Tucson, AZ
    Vancouver, BC
    Ventura, CA
    Vienna, Austria
    Washington DC

    This is a lot of evidence that this is a proven concept that people figure out.

    1. Ok, but most of those cities are much larger than little Hudson, they have many side streets that they can devote to something like this. Hudson has Warren Street, that’s it. Do you really think that people are going to drive FIVE miles an hour down Warren Street, or that they are going to magically understand what is going on here? Pedestrians won’t understand either, this is an accident waiting to happen.

  6. If I play even a small part in you two coming together in the real world, I will have made a big contribution.

  7. Has anyone thought about what if the Fire Truck is called out,Warren st is its main drag for responding and also the police .Are they going to observe the 5 mph rule.

  8. Peter Spears, I admire your perseverance and efforts to help Hudson's businesses in this weird time and all the information you have produced to back up the ideas. 'Shared streets' work well in Europe with cars and people, mainly in the old towns where side streets are very narrow. Hudson has parking lots and parallel streets and wider side streets, I don't see why Warren Street has to be the 'through' street.
    I hope the experiment works well for all the businesses and restaurants on Warren and that the people are able to enjoy the experience. I look forward to this weekend being a success.

    1. Peter Spear has done an excellent job with this. I've been especially impressed with his outreach and solicitation of questions and feedback from various stakeholders in the community. The Open Streets initiative is stronger for his participation.