The Galvan Initiatives Foundation is hoping to get the thumbs up this month from the Hudson Planning Board for their proposed two apartment buildings on N. 7th Street that will include 134 total units and no additional off street parking for their tenants at the site. Galvan and their traffic engineering firm had to prove to the board that the impacts on local parking would be within industry standards and would not be severe, so they produced a Parking Study to show that there are and will be ample available parking spaces within a 5-minute walk of the proposed project.
I took a look at Galvan’s latest “parking study” that they offered the Planning Board, this being the 2nd one they have offered. Strangely called a Parking Supply and Demand Summary and crammed into one page with tiny print, it is so full of factual misrepresentations and errors that it should receive a FAILING grade — “REDO!” The Planning Board, so far, doesn’t seem to have a problem with what Galvan has offered them in regards to parking.
Here are just a few things that are so strikingly untrue that they warrant suspicion:
When looking at Washington Street from 5th to 6th Streets, they found a total of 63 parking spaces on each side, called the Parking Supply, as well as 30 available spaces on each side on an evening in July of 2020! What were the authors of this parking study smoking that night? The even side of Washington has a parking supply of no more than 28 spaces, as I counted, and the odd side has no more than 32. When alternate side parking restrictions are in effect on Washington Street (all winter, and Mondays and Tuesdays the rest of the year), residents are lucky to find a parking space near their house. If there are 4 available spaces on any restricted parking night, that would be a blessing. But 30? On each side? It’s absurd. And it is false by a large amount.
The so-called observations that Galvan made one block away on Prospect Street were just as inaccurate and unrealistic. Again, the numbers are overblown and in their favor: Prospect Street from 5th to 6th was found to have a Parking Supply of 61 SPACES ON EACH SIDE. My count? The even side of Prospect has no more than 32 spaces and the odd side appears to have no more than 28. Galvan found a Parking Supply of 122 on Prospect Street; I found 60. As an astute neighbor of mine living on Washington Street recently noted to me: Galvan claims that the combined Parking Supply on Washington and Prospect is 248, though the actual number is closer to 120. How on earth did Galvan come up with this lopsided data? I have no idea, because it makes absolutely zero sense.
It gets even crazier: The Parking Summary claims that on the night observations were made on Prospect Street, there were 38 AVAILABLE parking spaces ON EACH SIDE OF THE STREET. 38! That is at least 6 more spaces than the actual PARKING SUPPLY alone. Late on the evening of Sept. 26, I observed 5 available spaces on the odd side of Prospect and 8 available spaces on the even side. Galvan found 76 AVAILABLE parking spaces (38 on each side); I found 13. And this was a night with no Alternate Side Parking rule in effect. On those restricted nights, finding 2 or 3 TOTAL AVAILABLE spaces is the norm on Prospect since everyone is expected to park on one side of the street, just like Washington. But Galvan’s study just ignores parking restrictions that shrink the Parking Supply and available spaces for residents on certain nights. In one letter to the Planning Board, Galvan referred to the ample parking in my neighborhood that they had found as “technical expert evidence.” On what planet?
Now to Columbia Street, also between 5th and 6th, where Galvan feels their new residents two to three blocks away will be happy to park overnight: Galvan found cars parked on both sides of the street on that evening last July. Excuse me? Cars parked on both sides of Columbia Street? (Can you tell that the authors of this parking study don’t live in Hudson?). Yes, that’s what the parking summary claims: a Parking Supply of 27 spaces on each side of Columbia Street with 9 available spaces found on each side that night. Oh, if it were only possible! Galvan offered the same inaccurate data for the next block of Columbia, from 6th to 7th, as if parking on both sides of the street were allowed. News flash to Galvan: It’s not. NEVER! No Can Do!
On State Street, where I live, Galvan did not even take alternate side parking rules into consideration for their parking study. Can you imagine if all of us living on State Street were to disregard the rules we all know exist? They found 17 available parking spaces on that July night — 9 on the even side and 8 on the odd. I walked State Street early this past Monday morning and found NOT ONE available parking space from 5th to 6th on the even side. ZERO places to park. The Parking Supply there is 28 spaces (the Summary claims it is 34!), and every one of them was filled. Across the street on the odd side where parking was not allowed because of overnight alternate side rules, I saw 2 cars illegally parked. You can’t blame them for parking there — there was no parking available on the legal side! Shouldn’t a parking study done in Hudson that ignores Alternate Side Parking Rules immediately be thrown in the trash?
It is difficult to find a street included in the study that doesn’t have any errors — it is rife with them, not unlike a student who didn’t study for a math exam and just wrote random numbers in for answers. It would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high: Galvan’s proposed development at 7th and State will be the largest development in downton Hudson that the city has seen in decades, and it will impact all of us, especially those of us who reside and park our cars close to 7th and State. Yet the so-called proof that there is ample parking in the neighborhood for 100 or more cars is full of false data. Of course, Galvan found the parking spaces they needed for their proposed development to get accepted by the Planning Board — they found them where they don’t exist, where spaces never have and never will exist. In other words, they made stuff up to make their case. I’m insulted and the Planning Board should be, too.
If the Hudson Planning Board is interested in the truth, reality and smart development and growth, they will tell Galvan at the next monthly meeting on October 14: “Sorry, your parking study is wholly inaccurate and unacceptable. You can do better. Try again!” Or just tell them that the project cannot go forward given the inaccurate data that doesn’t represent reality. That seems fair to us all.
Bill Huston is an eight-year resident of Hudson and has lived on State Street near 6th Street for four years. He is bicycle mechanic and environmental activist.