Council requests north side of Hines Hill for proposed sidewalk

by Judy Stringer

Jan 9 city council meeting and workshop

Hudson City Council spent considerable time hearing about and discussing plans for proposed sidewalks on Hines Hill and Valley View roads in its first meeting of the new year.

During the public comment period, several residents of the area opposed a recommendation by AECOM consultants to construct a sidewalk on the south side of the Hines Hill between Valley View and Granby Drive, and have it cross over to the north side at Granby Drive – an entrance to Leighton Estates – where it would continue to Glastonbury Drive.

Hines Hill homeowner Amy Ridley said she is especially concerned about the safety of a pedestrian crossing at Granby because it would be placed at the bottom of a hill, a sentiment echoed by other speakers. Ridley noted that as a parent, she would not be comfortable with her children using the proposed crosswalk, and as a driver, “I would not want to be responsible for not seeing a kid crossing.”

“I believe these sidewalks will get a lot of foot traffic once the new inclusive park is installed [at Middleton Park],” she said.

The plan to split the sidewalk between both sides of the Hines Hill was one of three studied by AECOM, which also examined running the sidewalk down either the north or south side exclusively. Utility poles and wetland areas on that stretch of Hines Hill make a north side sidewalk more costly than a south side one or the “hybrid,” approach, according to Hudson City Engineer Brad Kosco. Estimates peg a south side sidewalk at $1.2-$1.6 million and a north side one at $1.5-$1.9 million. The hybrid proposal is projected in the $1.3-$1.7 million range.

Ridley and others addressing the council advocated for a sidewalk north of Hines Hill as the “safest” option to provide Hines Hill and Leighton Estate residents off-road access to downtown, and for those from central and south Hudson to walk or bike to Middleton Park.

Council, which took up the issue during its post-meeting workshop, agreed.

“I grew up in Leighton Estates,” said council President Chris Foster, “and I know that road and I know Granby and Gastonbury, and there’s no way you’re going to get cars to stop there.”

Council asked AECOM consultants to come back with a more detailed cost estimate for a sidewalk along the north side. Council member Skylar Sutton also requested some preliminary costs associated with wrapping that sidewalk around the four-way stop at Valley View and continuing it north to Wethersfield Drive. Such an extension would connect Connecticut Colony to the city’s sidewalk system.

On the topic of the Valley View sidewalk, council gave AECOM the go-ahead to continue planning work for a west side sidewalk from the Hines Hill intersection to Hunting Hollow Drive.

Council is expected to vote at its Jan. 16 meeting on a legislative item to lower the speed limit on Valley View from 45 mph to 35. A handful of residents at this meeting and previous council meetings have testified that 45 is too fast for that stretch of road.

Utility workers contract

As part of its legislative agenda, council approved a three-year contract with the Utility Workers Union of America to provide city utility workers with a 3% salary increase each year from 2024 to 2026. Employees will also be paid a one-time COVID Pandemic Bonus of $1,500, under the contract.

Sutton explained that council sidelined the utility workers contract at its Dec. 12 meeting because the union was not prepared “for us to approve this.”

“It was not a slight on the utility works by any means,” he said. ∞