Last Monday, Peter Spear presented the results of the Shared Streets surveys conducted at the end of last year--one for Residents & Visitors, one for Businesses--at a special meeting of the Tourism Board. The entire report can be viewed here.
|Photo: JD Urban|Hudson Hall|
When asked how the Shared Streets program affected their visits to Warren Street for shopping or dining during a pandemic, 67 percent of the respondents said they visited Warren Street much more often or somewhat more often, and 19 percent said it didn't impact them one way or the other.
When asked if Shared Streets was overall a positive experience or an inconvenience, 61 percent indicated that it was a positive experience.
When asked if Shared Streets should continue this summer if COVID-19 remains a health issue, 61 percent said Yes. When asked if Shared Streets should continue on a seasonal basis even when COVID-19 is no longer an issue, 95 percent of the people who responded to the question said Yes.
When Spear had finished presenting the generally favorable review of the Shared Streets program, Alderman Jane Trombley (First Ward) declared, "The Council needs to take a leadership role for Shared Streets II." Allyson Strafella, however, who served on the Shared Streets Advisory Committee, said the surveys seemed biased and asked how people were informed about them. Spear told her they had "pushed out the survey through every channel we had." When Kate Treacy, who serves on the Tourism Board, asked about "her thinking around the bias," Strafella spoke of a "privileged population of people" and suggested the survey was "geared toward a certain class." She added, "I don't think Hudson needs a lot more PR."
Addressing the notion that the survey results were biased, Tamar Adler, also a member of the Tourism Board, said she thought a 17 percent response was "an accurate representation of those who didn't like [Shared Streets]." She told Strafella, "Opinions being considered is different from people being in the majority," and concluded, "Something not favoring one's own position doesn't represent bias."
Sidney Long, a former member of the Tourism Board, complained there was no accountability, asserting that Shared Streets created a very dangerous situation and there was no central authority. Marianne Courville, a member of the Advisory Committee, later spoke of concerns the committee had about safety that no one had addressed.
Marc Scrivo, who organized students from Operation Unite to build planter barriers, reminded the group that the project had come from an emergency and said he took offense at the comment about privilege. "My goal was to get kids involved. It wasn't about privilege. It was about getting kids involved."
Courville implicitly questioned the reliability of the survey by alleging that the survey accepted more than one response from a single person. George Wachtel, who designed the online survey, explained the survey had been set up to accept only one response from a computer.
Toward the end of the discussion, Scrivo echoed essentially what Trombley had said at the beginning: "It's really important that the City take a stand [on Shared Streets]." But the last word came from Selha Graham, who is a member of the Tourism Board. She spoke of exclusivity and privilege and life experience "when you live in an inner city like Hudson."
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK