• Nick Zacharias

Main Road rethink in Hudson


PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Topics of downtown Hudson Main Road revitalization ideas include bike lanes, sidewalks, and aesthetic components like benches and creative planters.

The Town of Hudson held a special public workshop on Monday evening, March9 to get citizens’ input on options for redeveloping the downtown corridor along Main Road.

As reported in The Journal on November 7, 2019 the town of Hudson has received a grant of $100,000 to put towards planning for the redevelopment of the core. The funding comes from the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) and is tied to planning in accordance with the plan métropolitain d'aménagement et de développement (PMAD) to encourage ‘active transit.’ Active transit is a blanket term that includes public transportation as well as bicycle, pedestrian, or other human-powered forms of transit. Monday night’s workshop was one of several steps towards developing that plan.

Stantec engineers studying issues

Jean-François Vachon from Stantec designing and consulting, the firm hired by the town to develop the plan, said, “In the past we have had experts form a complete plan and then present it to the public and then we hear the pros and the cons only afterwards. This time we’re getting citizens’ input during the process. We’ve already spoken with the local business owners and had a similar meeting to hear from them, and now is the chance for citizens to voice their opinions.”

Stantec presented their assessment of the core after a thorough study and highlighted several strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and constraints that they identified with redevelopment in mind. They then turned the agenda over to the roughly 150 residents in attendance, broken up into a dozen tables (each guided by a representative from the firm) to look at possible scenarios and come to a consensus on what their ideal Main Road would look like.

Citizens roll up their sleeves

The residents took the task to heart and got straight to work in three sessions – first to look at basic critical elements like vehicle lane width, sidewalk width, and the inclusion of bike or mixed-use lanes, all of which are constrained by the physical dimensions of the street. The second session was to specifically analyze if street parking was required or if that space could be put to better use, and the third session was for residents to weigh-in on ‘nice to have’ elements like public meeting spaces, street furniture, raised intersections, creative planters, and more.

It quickly became apparent that the needs of the community have changed since the days when there were no such roads as Harwood or Cameron, and when the dimensions of the backbone of Hudson were well-suited to the local horse-powered traffic. The discussions became animated at times, and opinions varied strongly from table to table, but the general mood was good as attendees took on a task that was more challenging than many first imagined.

Next steps

“I want to thank everyone here for the lively discussion,” said Mayor Jamie Nicholls at the close of the session. “We want to keep the discussions going as we work toward the much-needed repair of Main Road and to bringing together a shared vision for the downtown.”

The next step will be for Stantec’s engineers to bring together all the feedback from local business owners and from citizens to assemble a plan, and for the town to assess the financial feasibility of their options.

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