Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Considering Sidewalks

Sidewalks are a perennial topic of discussion in Hudson. On Monday, July 12, Mayor Kamal Johnson will be holding a public hearing on a proposed law requiring repairs to sidewalks to conform to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. The Common Council has been working for years to draft a law to ensure the replacement, uniformity, and ongoing repair of the sidewalks throughout the city.

Yesterday, I came upon an article in Strong Towns that gets to the heart of the issue of sidewalks and helps explain why some neighborhoods in Hudson have no sidewalks and where they do exist they are the responsibility of the property owner: "Doing the Math on Sidewalks." It is a short but interesting read.


  1. If the City of Hudson graciously becomes responsible for the sidewalks, then all property owners who have replaced/repaired their sidewalks should be financially compensated in a uniform and fair manner. Some owner's taxes are unfair and unequal so if regulations about sidewalks change, I hope new rules are applied fairly for everyone. There are bound to be many ideas for dealing with this issue and I just hope that whatever is decided is neutral and gives credit to owners who have complied with code.

  2. We have a simple law right now, property owners fix their own sidewalks. If you don't fix it, you get a fine. What is so hard about enforcing that rule?

    Before the law is changed, the responsible thing to do would be to take an inventory of all the decrepit sidewalks in the city, and places where there aren't any. Then you calculate the cost of repairing them all. Factor in that government is generally charged top dollar for any repairs it contracts. Then you figure out what it is going to cost to make the repairs. It might be discovered that the fees being proposed aren't going to cover it and will need to be raised, or the money will have to be borrowed through a bond and that will need to be repaid later on with higher taxes.

    What it comes down to is who is going to pay. Is a property owner going to pay to fix their own decrepit sidewalk, or is everyone else going to pay to fix it, including the responsible property owners who have maintained their sidewalks? Seems to me if sidewalks are going to be public, perhaps they should as everyone walks on them, the entire public, not just property owners, should pay for it. So in a addition to a fee on each property, a fee on each rental unit should also be applied.

  3. Echoing the above sentiment. Before making new laws, just enforce the laws that we already have. Just give everyone notice that they have one year to begin work in order to be in compliance of ADA. Those that are not in compliance or have submitted plans will be fined severely. Fines will help pay for code enforcement, which seems to be a big problem here. It’s not that hard people. Why do my neighbors and myself, who have kept our sidewalks in good order, have to pay for those that have let theirs go to disrepair? For example, the Galvan owned empty lot at 5th and Warren, where people risk breaking an ankle walking down 5th. Who’s pushing this behind the scenes? Could it be a large property owner who’s known to let their properties remain in disrepair and would benefit by passing on a large chunk of repairs to tax payers? Hmmmm?

    How will the work be prioritized? Those with good sidewalks will be paying forever before they see any upkeep. Also, those with unique and upgraded sidewalk features that use stone and have tree beds, do you think the city will replace them the same way?

    Also, for this coming winter, will I still need to shovel the snow from my sidewalks, or are we going to socialize that too?

  4. I made much the same points to my representatives on the council. Also called out the block from Warren to the alley beside the Galvan property.
    I was initially in favor of a universal approach until I dug a little deeper. It makes perfect sense that the city should enforce the codes that are on the books. I sent documents to the council on how this is handled in NYC. Property owners are given a period of time to fix the sidewalk. They can elect to have the city do it and pay the city, or if they do not comply, the city repairs the sidewalk and bills them. Pretty straightforward