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Shared Streets survey results released, data brings up class issues

Feb 18, 2021 2:45 pm

Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Peter Spear, of Future Hudson, recently presented the findings from a survey conducted by Shared Streets, which led to questions about who the program serves. A resident and visitor survey where the majority of respondents were city residents, indicated a 61 percent overall positive experience with the initiative, and wanting to see the program repeated if COVID-19 remains an issue. If COVID-19 is no longer an issue, 95 percent of respondents said they would like to see the program utilized on a seasonal basis. A total of 480 completed surveys were submitted. In a separate business-themed survey, 27 percent said business was positively impacted by Shared Streets and 54 percent reported varying degrees of negative impact. If COVID-19 remains an issue, 52 percent of respondents would want the program to continue and 37 percent want to see it continued with modifications. If COVID-19 is no longer an issue, 75 percent would want it to be implemented on a seasonal basis. Allyson Strafella, a former member of the Shared Streets advisory committee, questioned who the survey reached, saying most of the respondents seem to have come from a privileged segment of the population. “We pushed out the survey to every channel that we had,” Spear said. In fact, it was distributed via social media channels and email newsletters, he said. Shared Streets is geared toward a certain class, Strafella said. “I don’t know how many people in Hudson, true members of the community, filled out that survey that aren’t maybe people sitting in this meeting now or people affiliated with everyone on the meeting,” she said. “It just unsettles me. I feel like there’s kind of, such a bias to how you assume you’re reaching people in this particular community.” While Shared Streets was a great program, it lacked inclusion for young, poor people, tourism board member Selha Graham said. “Whatever you guys choose to do and however you implement it, I ask you [to] remember the children,” she said. She pointed to a lack of authority over the initiative if something went wrong. Kids can’t get involved by being put on an email list, she said. NOTE: Graham is a volunteer WGXC on-air programmer. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.