Station lowers barriers…at last

HUDSON—The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990.

Twenty-eight years later, the Hudson Amtrak station is being renovated to make it compliant with ADA law. The work started on June 25, but the safety fences went up before that, and parking in the “day” lot has been a mess ever since.

Outside and inside, the station is a work in progress. Enfield Enterprises, Inc., based in Springfield, MA, is doing the construction. Two of their staff, who wanted to be known by only their first names, Robert and Brian, described the renovations last week.

To Exit or not to Exit, that is the question. Rail travelers await the next train at the Hudson Amtrak station on Front Street. The station is undergoing renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to upgrade safety for all passengers. Photo by David Lee

Indoors, the restrooms are being remodeled to have flat entries with wider doors and inside, wider stalls, to accommodate wheelchairs. Sinks, paper towel dispensers, everything will be made accessible.

In the main room, one of the ticket windows will be lowered, so that a person in a wheelchair can easily buy a train ticket.

Outdoors, the accessible parking spaces are being moved closer to the station and a dedicated walkway, striped yellow, with perforated edges for safety, will lead from them to the train station.

The wrought-iron fence will be moved toward the station, away from the tracks, “so that people aren’t right on top of the tracks,” said Robert. A sidewalk was being paved the day of the interview in front of the station, again, to discourage travelers from rushing the tracks.

A new “sign package” will give visitors the information they need to negotiate the station.

Once the construction is completed, the parking lots on either side of the station will be repaved, dead trees replaced and plantings spruced up, Hudson Mayor Rick Rector said Tuesday. Those parking lots are owned by Amtrak, he said; the City of Hudson owns the larger, long-term parking lot across Front Street from the station.

Amtrak officials were unable to provide a cost for the station upgrade project by press deadline.

The work is scheduled to be finished by Thanksgiving, perhaps not a moment too soon. Last year, Amtrak had its largest passenger count to date during the Thanksgiving week with more than 777,000 riders on its trains across the country, and its busiest day in history with more than 160,000 customers on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, according to the online Amtrak Media Center.

Hudson is the third-busiest station in New York state, after Penn Station and Albany-Rensselaer. In fiscal year 2017 Hudson had 217,970 “boardings and alightings” and revenue of $9.2 million.

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

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