Friday, July 30, 2021

Plans for the Streets

After six months of no information about the Hudson Connects project, there was a workshop on the subject last Tuesday. Hudson Connects, which is being funded with more than $4 million of the city's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, is meant to bring Complete Streets improvements to the BRIDGE District, the area of the city below Second Street and from Dock Street to Basilica Hudson. The workshop took place in the West Room at Hudson Hall and was attended by about thirty-five people. David Lustberg and James Ribaudo of Arterial presented the same plans they presented at an informal Common Council meeting back in January, plans that have been on the City of Hudson website since April. Bizarrely, in a meeting that took place in person, participants were asked to log onto a website and respond to prompts on their cell phones. 

Intersection of Second and Warren Streets
After a presentation of plans that included raised intersections, tabled crosswalks, curb extensions, shared-use paths, decorative pavers, and "signage to tell the story of Hudson," Myron Polenberg expressed the opinion, "It looks beautiful. I like what you are doing." Not everyone shared his opinion.

Matt McGhee said what was proposed was "too distracting from the architecture" and used the word "futsiness" to describe what was being presented. He admonished, "Beauty and what is complementary to our city is what we should be looking for," and stressed there should be simplicity in the streetscape.

Phil Forman, who chairs the Historic Preservation Commission, said, "The success of the last twenty years is a critical thing, and you are missing it quite a bit." He asked, "What problem are you solving with all the bells and whistles?" John Schobel, who introduced Forman as the chair of the HPC and himself as the vice chair, urged the folks from Arterial to make a presentation to the HPC. "The landscape of Hudson," he asserted, "is our collective property." 

Intersection of Warren and Front Streets
During the workshop, someone described what was being proposed as "too suburban." Someone else asserted, "People come to Hudson because it's charming. This is not charming." In an email to Gossips, a reader who had attended the meeting called what had been presented "a shopping mall aesthetic" that is "completely antithetical to what was built, restored, and loved by residents and visitors."

Arterial has defined these three goals for the project:
  1. Make streets safe and accessible for all
  2. Reconnect the waterfront
  3. Celebrate the historic architecture of Hudson
Under the head Historic Integrity, Arterial makes this statement:
The streetscape should provide a ground place that supports the historic fabric and does not detract from it. The materials themselves should be authentic and reflect that history.
It appears they are still far from achieving their third stated goal to anyone's satisfaction. Lustberg and Ribaudo did agree to work with the Historic Preservation Commission.

Although most of what was presented had been presented before, two things became clear on Tuesday night that hadn't been before--one having to do with Front Street, the other with the Second Street stairs.

The proposal for Front Street is to narrow the traffic lanes, which were widened in the 1970s during Urban Renewal, to create what Arterial is calling a "promenade" along the west side of the street, from State Street to Allen Street, in front of Hudson Terrace Apartments. This "promenade" will be 16 feet wide--6 feet for sidewalk, 8 feet for a shared-use path, 2 feet for curb--but nowhere in the 16 feet is there space for trees. Trees will have to be planted in "bump-outs" that protrude into the parking lane. That promises to limit severely the number of trees that can be planted and dash any hope of Front Street becoming a tree-lined avenue. 

Jill Moroh of The Wick asked about the Second Street stairs, which many guests at the hotel use to get from Cross Street to Warren Street. Some may recall the fanciful notion in the original DRI documents of making the Second Street stairs universally accessible. 

Those plans have been reduced to "fixing and upgrading"--a new handrail, new concrete steps and landings, and a runnel for pushing bikes up or down the stairs.

At the workshop on Tuesday, it was announced that the beginning of construction has been moved up from Fall 2022 to Spring 2023. Another workshop has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 24, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., again at Hudson Hall.


  1. As a member of the DRI committee, the visual rendering of the new 2nd St. steps was one of my favorite aspects of the plan. A tweaking / repair of the existing steps is very disappointing.

    1. Hello, and I totally agree with Peter. I think the 2nd St. original stair plan was the best part. Under the newest plans, I think it looks like a lot of money being spent on "futsiness" and "bells and whistles." Keep it simple and functional. The money would be better spent on repairing sidewalks so you can confidently walk through town without worrying about tripping or breaking an ankle.

  2. I was very happy to see the HPC present and to hear their voice of reason. Hopefully they can have some positive impact on the process.

    One of my greatest concerns (although I have many, and Carole has captured most of them) is the impact on Warren. Currently, it is a continuous street that flows from the park to waterfront. What is proposed would break that continuity in addition to destroying the section from 2nd to the waterfront.

    In describing the shared pedestrian/bike paths, I thought it was interesting that the response to concerns regarding pedestrian safety was that less confident cyclists would use the path, with the more confident cyclists remaining on the road. That is just what pedestrians need -- inexperienced cyclists coming up behind them.

    I encourage anyone who was not at the meeting to look at the plans and provide feedback to the consultants. This has the potential to turn Hudson into Anytown USA

  3. Can't wait to see a gravel or delivery truck drive up and try to make a turn onto Warren on that raised intersection around those bump outs. They have those in uptown Kingston, trying to park on those blocks is not easy. Seems to me a better idea would be to take a couple feet off the 10 and 6 foot sidewalks and make that 2 foot strip of concrete into a 4 or 5 foot strip of grass and trees. If you have a 8 foot paved bike / pedestrian path, why do you need a 6 foot sidewalk right next to it?

    The plaza intersections look like a clever way to spend 4 million dollars because no one could agree to anything worth spending it on. It might be better to spend it fixing all the sidewalks and planting several hundred trees all over town.

  4. This is a hokey expensive bad design.

    What is wrong with Hudson the way it is - real and plain ? It works.

    The broken irregular sidewalks do not.

    Spending millions on bad ideas is so millennial.

    Be practical.