Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Pursuing ADA Compliance

As most readers know, the City of Hudson has a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice over its ADA compliance shortcomings. At last night's Common Council meeting, mayor's aide Michael Hofmann, who is the City's ADA compliance coordinator, presented an update to the Council. The most interesting part of the presentation had to do with alterations to City Hall to achieve ADA compliance. 

It will be remembered that the original plan was to alter the main entrance to the building, but that plan (mercifully) was abandoned in favor of a plan that alters the side entrance which leads up to the second floor instead. The new plan was approved by the Historic Preservation Commission in February

The plan involves removing the marble steps that lead up to the door and dropping the door down to street level. The existing door will continue to be used. Once inside the door, visitors can climb a set of stairs to get to lobby level or use a lift. The marble plinths and pilasters on either side of the doorway will remain unchanged.

Last night, Hofmann reported that the construction drawings have been received from Lacey Thaler Reilly Winston, the architectural firm that designed the alterations, but a schedule for the actual work has not yet been determined. In addition to lowering the doorway and installing a lift, the work involves:
  • Creating a handicapped accessible parking space on Warren Street
  • Installing an accessible service counter
  • Removing the raised dais in the Council Chamber
  • Installing new flooring throughout the first floor
  • Creating a handicapped accessible restroom 
Hofmann explained that during construction, which may take several months, City Hall will be closed to the public, and "previously used 'lockdown' contingencies for public functions of City Hall during the high point of the pandemic will be reinstated." Those members of city government with offices on the second floor may work remotely or be relocated to a temporary office setup in the Council Chamber. Public meetings will take place in accessible alternative venues.

Hofmann also reported that a request has been made for Congressionally Directed Funds (CDF) to make sidewalk repairs in the parts of the city included in the sidewalk audit done in October 2020, as required by the settlement with the Department of Justice. That study, which can be found here, was limited to sidewalks between key areas of service, which were identified as Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, Promenade Hill, the Youth Center, the Senior Center, Oakdale Park, the Central Fire Station, and the Police Station. The total project has been estimated to cost $5.5 million. The sidewalks that would be repaired in this project are:
  • Warren Street from Third Street to Seventh Street—$2.34 million
  • Seventh Street from Union Street to Washington Street—$1.29 million
  • North Fifth Street from Warren Street to Prospect Street—$810,000
  • North Sixth Street from Warren Street to Prospect Street—$810,000
  • South Third Street from Union Street to Warren Street—$285,000  

The request is for $5 million in Congressionally Directed Funds. The remaining $500,000 would be provided by the City of Hudson.


  1. Of course, almost all of the repairs to the sidewalks and curb ramps (or creation of curb ramps) involved here are adjacent to private property. So some property owners will be getting a free fix of their sidewalks by the city, while at the same time the city and common council are getting ready to spend a few thousand dollars on a letter to all property owners in Hudson reminding them that their dangerous sidewalks are their responsibility to fix, not the city's responsibility. How is that equitable?

  2. One sidewalk per street or both sidewalks?

  3. What happened to the big sidewalk improvement legislation that had been wending its way through the Common Council?

    1. It's still wending its way. The Sidewalk Committee meets next Monday, April 25, at which time informational mailings to property owners about sidewalk compliance and ADA will be discussed. This CDF effort has only to do with sidewalks that connect what have been identified as "key areas of service."

    2. "Legislation" might be too big a word here. I think it's called another attempt at code enforcement: "Please fix your sidewalk or else we will do it for you and charge it to your tax bill." This is what the code already stipulates, and this approach hasn't worked in the past and there's no reason to believe that it will work in the future. Neither the Code Enforcement Office nor DPW has the time, resources or interest to make it happen.
      This, too, shall fail.
      B Huston