At the Tourism Board meeting last night, Tamar Adler, a member of the board, presented what she called "Pedestrian Streets Economic Data." The information came from data collected by urban designer Jeff Speck, who as director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007 presided over The Mayors' Institute on City Design and the Governors' Institute on Community Design. The numbers demonstrate the economic benefits of pedestrians--both in savings to a community and in revenue. The following is quoted from the data Alder presented:
- City services are more expensive with cars than with walkers and public transit users.
- People driving costs a city, in public services like policing and ambulances, on average $9.20
- People taking public transit costs a city, on average, $1.50
- People walking costs the city, on average, $0.01
- Pedestrians spend more money than drivers.
- In downtown Miami, a two-block stretch, pedestrian street saw a year over year increase in revenue of 25 to 30 percent by closing to cars except for access to a condo garage, according to Street Plans
- Other cities have seen increases of up to 65 percent more
- Pedestrian-friendly streets lead to more employment
- In Dublin, a redesigned, pedestrian-friendly street saw a 300 percent increase in employment
Adler proposed that in 2021, Warren Street be closed on weekends to all cars except for those picking up purchases from restaurants, food shops, wine stores, and other shops. The prohibition would not apply to emergency vehicles, trucks making deliveries, or the cars of residents of the street.
It appears that in 2021 the visioning and management of Shared Streets will be taken over by the Tourism Board. Last night, a subcommittee, made up of Kate Treacy, Hannah Black, and Tamar Adler, was formed to pursue the planning for the summer. Assurances were made that Peter Spear, of Future Hudson, and Kaja Kuehl, of Design for Six Feet, were "poised and ready to be part of 2021." There was some question if Hudson Hall, which played a major role in implementing the Shared Streets program in 2020, would again be involved. Tambra Dillon, executive director of Hudson Hall, noted that staffing at Hudson Hall was down 50 percent, owing to the pandemic, but said they could "step up or step down"; they were just looking for direction. Dillon continued, "Hudson Hall wants to help the city recover and rebuild as much as we can, but we're not urban planners."
Tourism Board member Cece Graham expressed concern about funding, since the lodging tax money had been, in her words, "taken from us." She shared an idea for generating revenue for the Tourism Board, which she attributed to Larissa Thomas, who for a few months at the beginning of 2012 served as alderman for the First Ward. The idea was to create "memorabilia"--souvenir stuff, tourist swag-- that would brand Hudson and could be sold in the abandoned kiosk in Seventh Street Park. Particular items mentioned were T-shirts, key chains, slippers, and maps. The concept met with such comments as "Great!" and "Awesome idea!" from her colleagues on the board. Inevitably, whales were mentioned. First Ward alderman Jane Trombley spoke of the long tradition of gear with the iconic image of a black Lab sold by the Black Dog Tavern in Martha's Vineyard and said Hudson now had "destination juice." Another subcommittee was formed, consisting of Chris McManus and Hannah Black, to pursue this idea.
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