Sunday, March 7, 2021

Considering a Hudson Revenue Stream

Last year, when Mayor Kamal Johnson suspended putting quarters in the parking meters from mid-March until the end of May, we learned that parking meters are a fairly significant source of revenue for the City. That being the case, one wonders why maintenance of the parking meters seems to get so little attention.

Over two days toward the end of February, Bill Huston, the City of Hudson's harshest critic when it comes to public works and city services, surveyed some of the city's parking meters and shared his findings with Gossips. With Huston's permission, I share them here. 
  • Municipal Lot behind City Hall: 100 metered spaces--17 flashing "DEAD"; 4 blank
  • Municipal Lot beside Hudson Lodge (601 Union Street): 29 metered spaces--4 blank 
  • 600 block of Union Street (across from municipal lot): 8 metered spaces--2 blank, 1 flashing "FAIL"
  • Columbia Street, Public Square to 8th Street: 29 metered spaces--8 blank; 2 flashing "DEAD"; one double meter missing

  • Municipal Lot beside First Presbyterian Church: 23 metered spaces--3 flashing "DEAD"; 2 blank; one meter missing
  • Municipal Lot in 300 block of Warren Street: 19 metered spaces--2 blank; 4 reserved for the Youth Department
Huston's conclusions (the caps are his): "I observed 208 parking meters total, 45 of them were not working. 21.5 PERCENT, OR MORE THAN 1 OF EVERY 5, OF THE METERS IN THE STUDY WERE INOPERABLE."

It's not entirely clear whose responsibility the parking meters are. The Parking Bureau seems to be tasked only with issuing tickets and collecting fines. It would seem the Police Department has more important concerns, and the meters appear not to be in the purview of the Department of Public Works. But since it's been established that income from parking meters is a revenue stream of some consequence for the City, we probably shouldn't be giving up more than 20 percent of it because meters are broken or missing. 


  1. The meters could also be modernized to accept payment via app or credit card in addition to coins as they have in many other cities and towns. One imagines that making parking in metered spots as convenient as possible would also make it more likely for visitors to use them (vs parking elsewhere), increasing revenue.

  2. It sounds like Cool Hand Luke is in charge.

  3. The parking enforcers are HPD employees, and at least one of those enforcers collects the quarters and repairs the meters. Often the busted meters just need a new battery. HPD indeed has more important concerns than maintaining the meters, and my study is evidence of that. It is long past time to separate the meters from HPD, this is a holdover from Hudson's and HPD's bad old days. And we are losing money because city hall is often stuck in the 1970s. It's troubling that this a problem no one at City Hall, even Chief Moore, feels the need to confront. "What problem?"


  4. Location, location, location
    The question is why are there no meters on N4th St, City Hall Place and below 3rd and Warren?
    And just where are visitors to park now that Hudson is one of the top eleven towns in America to visit?

  5. If they close off Warren again for “Shared Streets”, wouldn’t that greatly reduce income from parking meters?

    1. Holst, no income was lost last summer, so why do you think it would be going forward? Also, Warren Street was never "closed off". I'm curious, why the gaslighting? It was easier to park on Warren Street last summer than in any of the recent previous years. The city received a grant to offset losses for the small percentage of parking spaces in the program and meters continued to collect fees on all the rest. And the increased traffic for small businesses city wide as a result of shared streets boosted sales tax. Shared streets increases revenue for businesses and increases revenue for Hudson with no downside. You seem like an informed person who should know all of this, so again I ask, why are you gaslighting?

    2. I’m sorry if my question offended you “Conrad” but I certainly don’t think that I deserve to be accused of gaslighting, a term that is generally associated with domestic abuse. Jeesh. I know full well that Warren was never actually “closed” last year during the Shared Streets program but I get the impression that there are some people who would like to see it more closed or restricted to traffic this summer than last year, please correct me if I’m wrong, I very well may be. This post is about parking meters, that’s why I was questioning the possible loss of revenue, but thank you for explaining that.
      I have to disagree with you though that there was “no downside” to Shared Streets last year, that is simply not true. Shared Streets turned Warren Street into a dangerous, confusing obstacle course on weekends. If you deny that reality then maybe it’s because you yourself are gaslighting.

    3. I'm honestly actually kind of curious about this question. It seems relevant to shared streets and whether it continues.

      Does the program make Warren street a destination for people across the county to come and spend Saturday afternoon strolling, dining outdoors, patronizing shops, and paying for parking or does it reduce the number of visitors and paid parking users overall.

      Maybe less parking revenue but more sales tax revenue. Maybe less of everything. Maybe more of everything. I think I could probably argue either side pretty convincingly but it seems like something one might answer with data.

  6. This lapse in accountability and maintenance is another calling card for the need for at least a part-time, unelected city manager. No, the city cannot afford one right now, but at some point it behooves us to have one. Who manages the city and keeps an eye on all departments? The mayor? CC President? No, they come and go every few years and are not expected to manage and, say, make sure more than 80 percent of our parking meters are functioning properly or notice that DPW spends too much time and money picking up garbage and recycling inefficiently. City Hall needs to be run more like a business, and without a manager few businesses survive very long and even fewer survive the rocky times.

  7. Put Mr Huston in charge of the meters, problem solved.