Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Back to Debating Overnight Parking Rules

At the beginning of the year, one of the new ad hoc committees formed in lieu of the traditional standing committees was a committee to examine the city's overnight parking regulations, which require alternate side of the street parking on most streets. The creation of the committee was prompted by Alderman Jane Trombley (First Ward), who at the end of 2020, had declared, "Alternate side of the street parking is a real pain." 
The committee met through the winter, heard from DPW superintendent Rob Perry and members of the Hudson Fire Department about the rationale for the regulation, and tried to comprehend why nightly alternate side of the street rules apply to some streets but not all. Ultimately, it was concluded that the best they could do was improve the signage regarding overnight parking regulations, and in May, the ad hoc committee ceased meeting. 

Last night at the Planning Board meeting, the issue of overnight parking regulations came up again in the discussion of the two buildings proposed by the Galvan Foundation for North Seventh Street. One of the changes to the project plan, as explained by Andy Didio of Taconic Engineering, was to widen that block of North Seventh Street by 36 feet to allow parking on both sides of the street.

Lindsay Zefting, the traffic consultant retained by the Planning Board, reported that, with the additional cars anticipated from the two new buildings, 95 percent of the available onstreet parking spaces would be filled overnight. She said 85 percent utilization was a "widely acceptable number," but 95 percent was "a little bit high." She spoke of the city's alternate side of the street regulation for overnight parking and suggested, "If it ceased to exist, it would free up more parking spaces." 

Planning Board member Larry Bowne opined, "The city needs to take a proactive role in addressing the parking issue," adding that he didn't understand "why we have alternate side of the street parking." Speaking of the overnight parking situation, Planning Board member Laura Margolis said, "It makes it hard for me to approve a project, that I think is a good one, if it negatively impacts the people who live there." Planning Board member Clark Wieman asserted, "A city policy is causing a problem." Bowne added, "It is limiting our ability to do affordable housing if we don't change the parking policy," referring to overnight alternate side of the street parking.

In the end, it was decided that the Planning Board would write a letter to the Common Council advocating for abandoning alternate side of the street regulations for overnight parking. Margolis suggested they might also "sit down and talk to Tom," referring to Council president Tom DePietro.

Back in February, DPW superintendent Rob Perry explained to the Common Council ad hoc committee the connections between overnight parking regulations and street cleaning, and street cleaning and adverse impacts on our sewer system and the environment. He said that 99 percent of the material picked up by the street sweeper is dirt, "which will easily settle in city sewer mains and clog pipes." He cited a consent decree from the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Hudson SPDES (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit, both of which stipulate a regular program of street cleaning as a critical part of proper operation and maintenance of the city's combined sewer system, and warned of more incidents of CSO (combined sewer overflow) and possible fines from EPA and DEC if the city were be abandon its current street cleaning program. Perry maintained that the overnight parking regulations now in place are crucial for carrying out that program. Gossips' report on that meeting can be found here.   

It will be interesting to see how this problem is resolved.


  1. Actually the problem is the vehicle and the continued demand to change the way of life in Hudson.
    The alternate side parking provides access to our DPW to clean and snowplow.
    Just imagine your position if your street wasn’t cleaned or plowed.
    Moving your vehicle is not difficult.
    Having common sense seems to be difficult.

  2. So, we’re supposed to let our sewers clog up so that Galvan can get their Pilot slums? And when they do clog up they don’t have to worry about an increase in property taxes to pay for the repairs when the state forces us to upgrade, cause you know, PILOTS

  3. This is what happens when we elect weak-minded “leaders” with, collectively, no managerial or actual leadership experience: thoughtless legislation without concern for negative externalities — like mindlessly doing away with parking requirements for new developments. Or forcing hard working taxpayers to subsidize an absentee landlord’s fever dreams with PILOTs in order to attract a large number of very poor, poorly educated and essentially unemployable people to an otherwise vibrant city.

  4. It is more than a bit discouraging and troubling to see that the traffic consultant didn't even talk to Rob Perry about alternate side parking and that some board members don't comprehend why we even have those parking rules. Rob Perry is quoted in today's Register Star article about this issue: "...I don't care what their consultant has to say... She doesn't know what she's talking about." In Hudson City Hall the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. The dysfunction is rearing its ugly head once again. B Huston

  5. What's really bizarre and troubling is that not all sections of all streets have the alternate side rules. Rob Perry makes his point over and over about how important it is to sweep the streets of contaminants NIGHTLY, yet on 3 blocks of N. 6th street apparently there are no contaminants to worry about because there is no alternate parking rule in effect ever. Not one night of the year. Same is true on some sections of Columbia Street. How would Mr. Perry explain this other than with some snarky, mumbo jumbo response? And why hasn't he made any effort to see that ALL SECTIONS OF ALL STREETS have some rules in effect at least once a week to allow the all-important sweeping? Would that be so difficult?

  6. This is how small cities and towns are destroyed. Apartment complexes are built. This brings more cars. Roads are widened. More stores are built, more cars, more roads widened. More apartments are built, more cars come, more traffic, more stores and higher taxes. The expansion grows into outlying areas, farmland is converted to housing developments and corporate campuses. On and on, it is the snowball syndrome, once you start the ball rolling you can not stop it.

    The place to stop it is at the beginning. Preserve and repair what exists and build nothing new. Keep it small.

  7. I'm not sure I really buy the street sweeping as justification for alternate side parking, though I will stipulate there are other, less sound bite friendly reasons that are at least somewhat valid.

    The larger problem is the ad hoc committee structure, which create committees with too narrow a purview (alternate side parking is a narrow problem with limited focus, while parking or, more broadly, transportation, would be subjects that might take a holistic approach to problem solving), disincentivize cooperation and conversation about topics affecting the community, and put too much power in the hands of a Common Council president whose sole motivation is how things look, not what they are. (Ironically, things do not look good.)

    The Common Council needs new leadership.

  8. Almost every building in Hudson has a garage in back of their property. You know, a garage where one parks their vehicle.
    I beg all of you to stop creating nonsense issues and concentrate on more important items, such as crime and shootings.