HUDSON — The Galvan Foundation will conduct another Depot District parking assessment after criticism of its initial study, which cited the number of available parking spaces from one night.
The plans for the Depot District to minimize on-site parking is in accordance with the Hudson Comprehensive Plan and goals of the city’s 2019 local law eliminating on-site parking requirements for developers, said Dan Kent, Galvan Foundation vice president of initiatives.
But the plan for no on-site parking for 138 new units between 65-76 North Seventh St. and 708 State St. puts the question on city residents’ radar: Where will everyone park?
In a separate proposal, the foundation proposed a land ownership swap of the city’s 2.24 acre 604 Washington St. lot for the currently Galvan-owned 400 State St. to be used for City Hall. But after Common Council President Thomas DePietro declared at the informal meeting Monday night the land swap is not under consideration, Kent confirmed the foundation is no longer requesting the Washington Street property as part of its City Hall proposal.
While the foundation had not decided on a desired use for the Washington Street lot at the time of the land-swap proposal, it has been used for parking and dumping snow, according to Mayor Kamal Johnson, who anticipated Galvan’s desired use for the property to be a parking lot.
The Washington Street property was not mentioned at the planning board meeting Tuesday night when Kent and consultants updated the board on their quest for off-site parking. Renting spaces from the city’s Columbia Street municipal lot and One Hudson City Center were mentioned as potential options.
The foundation would consider turning the empty Washington Street lot into a parking lot, but would need to study it first, Kent said Wednesday. But Galvan is not including the Washington Street lot in their parking assessments because the city owns the property, which is not listed for sale, Kent said. If the city decided to auction off the property, the foundation would be interested in purchasing it. But the foundation can’t make plans for property they don’t own, he said.
The foundation hired Mark Nadolny of Creighton Manning Engineering, LLP, to conduct a traffic and parking study to assess where residents of Galvan’s planned 708 State St. and 65-75 North Seventh St. buildings would park. A conceptual building at 620 State St., which Galvan owns, and another in front of the under-construction Galvan-owned brewery on the 708 State St. parcel are also included in a site plan in the study.
“The available parking supply located within an approximate five-minute walk is more than adequate to accommodate the proposed development,” which will not have on-site parking, according to the Dec. 21 study.
Galvan has asked Creighton Manning Engineering to conduct a follow-up assessment based on feedback from the planning board and Hudson Fire Department, Kent said Wednesday.
“We are now in the process of identifying creative solutions for off-street parking, which includes an assessment of available parking in the vicinity of the project site,” wrote Kent.
The Dec. 21 parking study conducted by Nadolny for Creighton Manning Engineering followed standard practices and utilized industry standard methodologies for its already published parking assessment, Kent said. The study was based on pre-pandemic observations and field observations the night of July 9, 2020. The pre-pandemic observations mentioned in the study are from a parking assessment the firm conducted for the Hudson House hotel, 620 Union St., which is not a Galvan project, Kent said.
The Depot District parking study does not specify the details of the pre-pandemic study, but similar pre-pandemic on-street parking areas determined a 49% on-street parking demand while the Depot District study determined a 45% on-street parking demand after the pandemic concludes. The study determined these are comparable demands, so the pandemic factor does not need to be applied to the study.
Nadolny’s study observes available parking spaces within a quarter-mile of the proposed development on the night of Thursday, July 9, from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., which are determined as peak demand hours for parking spaces.
Hudson resident Bill Huston took his dissatisfaction of the firm’s study into his own hands and gathered data similar to Nadolny’s methods for determining unused parking spaces.
“As a four-year resident and car owner in the neighborhood that will be directly affected by your planned development with at least 157 more cars needing a parking space, I find this so-called study to be beyond insulting,” Huston wrote in a letter to Kent. “It is just plain inaccurate and poorly done, not worth the paper it was printed on. But, somehow it seems to fit the need you are required to have for your planned apartment buildings. Funny how studies can do that sometimes.” First Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling urged planning board members to review Huston’s study. “There seems to be some assumption that all 150 cars would suddenly disappear every morning?” Sterling wrote to the board regarding the Creighton Manning Engineering study.
Huston checked the spaces on what he calls a similarly typical evening to Nadolny, for well over an hour, starting at 10:30 p.m. Huston noted a total of 19 available spaces in the study area where the firm found 176. Some of the parking spaces counted by Creighton Manning Engineering do not exist, Huston wrote.
The fire department also expressed concerns about the study. The use of street parking near the firehouse entrance could obstruct the department’s large truck from getting through the area, Hudson City Fire Chief Tony DeMarco said. Parking spaces outlined in the study would inhibit firefighters from taking left turns out of the firehouse with the department’s ladder truck, he said. DeMarco will be part of conversations about parking and construction as they continue.
Kent is ready for the public hearing process to begin for the 65-75 North Seventh St. and 708 State St. housing developments, he told the planning board Tuesday.
More research needs to be done on the parking availability before the hearing begins, planning board member Theresa Joyner said. But a hearing can’t begin before March because the public needs sufficient notice, planning board chairwoman Betsy Gramkow said.
The board agreed the public hearing process will begin March 9. The foundation plans to have the follow-up parking study and detailed parking recommendations done in time for the hearing, Kent said Wednesday.