Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Hudson Is Getting a Parking Study

Parking has been a frequent topic of discussion in Hudson over the years--parking both for visitors and patrons of the city's shops, restaurants, and cultural venues and for city residents. To address the former, the idea of building a multilevel parking garage somewhere in the city has often been floated. In 2010, Mayor Rick Scalera wanted to build such a garage on the northeast corner of Fourth and Columbia streets. In 2014, Mayor Bill Hallenbeck proposed building a four-tier parking garage behind City Hall. In 2018, one of the three ill-fated proposals for the Kaz site included a parking facility for 400 cars.

In the interest of the residents of Hudson, the notion of issuing park permits for residents was pursued in 2014 and 2015. It began with residents in the vicinity of Columbia Memorial Hospital, whose parking spots were regularly taken by hospital employees. The Common Council passed legislation that would provide parking permits for residents of the area and make parking there without a permit a violation. Even though he was the one who suggested parking permits for this neighborhood, Hallenbeck vetoed the legislation, complaining that the Council had "turned [his idea] into a monster." He did, however, suggest that there should be parking permits for residential streets throughout the city.

At one time, the Planning Board, during site plan reviews, regularly agonized about parking, and the Zoning Board of Appeals regularly granted area variances for parking. In 2019, at the urging of the Planning Board, the Common Council amended the zoning code to do away with all offstreet parking requirements. It was argued at the time the municipal parking lots were underutilized. Despite the fact that there are no longer offstreet parking requirements in the city code, parking remains a concern. Among the several criticisms of the Galvan Initiatives proposal to build a 77-unit apartment building on North Seventh Street was that no accommodation was being made for parking the cars of the residents of the apartments, and the Planning Board, fearing hotel guests would take up residents' parking spaces on Union and South Sixth streets, made purchasing thirty-one parking permits from the City a condition for giving site plan approval to the hotel proposed for 620 Union Street. 

Parking in Hudson presents a challenging problem. During his term in office, Mayor Rick Rector applied for grant money to do a parking study to assess the need and availability and recommend solutions. The effort was unsuccessful.  The current administration has pursued a different way to fund the study: the Tourism Board. In November, mayor's aide Michael Chameides approached the Tourism Board with a proposal that they fund a parking study, which is expected to cost $17,500. At its meeting last night, the Tourism Board voted to do that. The vote was not unanimous. Sydney Long and Selha Graham voted against this use of Tourism Board funds.


  1. Carole, your archives and records are amazing. Interesting to revive the whole history. I distinctly remember appealling to Mayor Hallenbeck regarding the parking problem on Rossman Ave, and thinking we were actually getting somewhere until he vetoed himself and it was tabled. Here we are again. The Parking issue, like the Truck Route and the Waterfront development has been around for 20 years without a lot of progress but maybe?? we are getting somewhere now.

  2. Getting nowhere. The good old boys would have completed the waterfront bridge, the handicap ramp to promenade hill and a parking garage years ago.
    Too many regulations, too many opinions and no common sense.

    1. Which 'good old boys?'. I remember back 30 years and nothing much has happened in that time other than citizens defeating the cement plant and Mayor Bill Allen's administration taking down the tanks at the waterfront and securing funding for the present Waterfront Park.

    2. Jennifer: Bill Allen only served as mayor for eighteen months before his untimely death. The tanks were removed and funding secured for riverfront park during Rick Scalera's several terms in office.