Dec 17, 2009

Dept. of Parks and Lies


Allentown's Dept. of Parks and Lies has announced the third public meeting for the Trail Network Plan on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 7:00 at the Allentown Public Library. A newsletter about this meeting has been included with the current water bills. It claims that, so far, more than 500 people have participated in the planning process; quite an amazing claim! The Trail Network is a plan to interconnect all of Allentown's Parks, rather than concentrate on neglected maintenance in each one. Retiring Community Development Director, Joyce Marin, has asserted that this project would be an economic boom for the city. Her other accomplishment in Allentown was continuing the Growers Market at PPL Plaza. Thus far, Allentown has hired four consulting companies for this project; Greenways Incorporated, Stromberg/Garrigan and Associates, Toole Recreation Planning and Mctish, Kunkel and Associates.

Although I will not be charging the City, please join Molovinsky and Associates that evening to provide the City with some more feedback.

ADDENDUM: Andrew Kleiner, author of the blog Remember, which concentrates on our parks, has endorsed this plan. Andrew studies environmental science at Muhlenberg College. I have submitted the following comment to his blog:
andrew, as i read the link you provided, it indicates that jan. 13th is the END of the public input, in other words, another done deal, as was cedar parkway. you have previously asserted on this blog that the process was more in the beginning stages. as one who identified numerous problems in our parks, (jordan, canal, trout) it's disappointing that you don't see this as a distraction, especially financially, from providing solutions to the real problems. the contention, especially about surveys, that over 500 people favor this proposal is a blatant sham. apparently we will built more blacktop paths connecting neglected parks. this will have NO economic spinoff for allentown, and is strictly a recreational plan, at the expense of environmental concerns.

36 comments:

Bill said...

Mike

Sometimes your blog posts have a tad of wit and sarcasm which I enjoy. Did we actually hire four consulting firms for a bike trail? Please tell me it isn't so. If so do we know how much they are getting paid and what they have done?

michael molovinsky said...

bill, yes, they're all listed on the newsletter as project consultants. i do not know what they have done or how much they have been paid. this project is completely flawed, and worse, a distraction from some real problems within our parks. any bicyclist or walker who doesn't find the parkway or trexler park long enough for their exercise needs, should simply cycle or walk around multiple times.

Anonymous said...

MM, the concept of connecting parks is a good one, and has been very successful in other locations.

Having said that, I agree that Allentown has other more pressing needs. And it's not just a $$ issue - time spent on this project takes time away from other needs. Focus where it needs to be, not on this stuff.

The Banker

michael molovinsky said...

banker, i disagree with you even about the concept here in allentown. take lehigh parkway for instance, spanning from the eastern end, by regency tower, to the fish hatchery. with so many parks, several of which are enormous by any city standards, why the need to join them? add in the gross neglect of some parks, sprinkle in the overuse of others (cedarparkway) Let this administration, and current trexler trustees, concentrate on basic stewardship.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a cyclist (who has only visited Allentown but enjoys this blog anyhow), I think it could be more productive both for the cycling community and Allentown to spend those resources on creating bike paths running to suburbs to encourage people to ride into the city whether for leisure or "green" commuting.

Anonymous said...

I got a request on my Facebook page to become a "fan" of the "Allentown Parks and Recreation Dept" today.

How lovely of them to think of me this holiday season!

There must be some kind of mistake, however. I am certainly no fan of the APRD and will leave it at that.

I think the APRD sent this fan request to me by mistake.

I am completely convinced that the APRD was, in fact, looking for you, Mr. Molovinsky!

Should I forward this "fan request" or what?

R. Oeler

:)

Anonymous said...

Hope the park connections run through S. 4th Street's AutoZone
and the abandoned park lands off
Hanover.

Anonymous said...

As long as Weitzel guarantees park safety to all, the walkways
may proceed.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, we suspect, some of the Trexler Trustees do not even visit the city's parks.

Andrew Kleiner said...

I have endorsed this plan as possibility, and I am not 100% behind it as I have yet to see what it will really look like if ever implemented. I have many questions I need answered. Expect a full reaction on Remember after the meeting.

If it is environmentally negative, or done before needed repair work, I will not support it. I do not believe that is going to be the case. We'll see on the 13th.

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, thanks for the comment. i will now take the liberty to reprint the reply you placed on your blog;
Andrew Kleiner said:
Hey Micheal, its been a bit.

I am withholding all of my opinion about this trail plan draft until the meeting. At that meeting I expect to hear that before any of this study is implemented, and it should take years before it is, that the issues I am always writing about will have been addressed.

If that is not the case, and these are all black top trails through the parks, I will have issues.

For now, I'm waiting to hear what is said at the meeting and since it is only a draft, I believe public input does matter at this stage.

See you there.


Andrew, please understand that thousands and thousands have already been spend on the four firms, certainly much more than needed to repair those WPA steps you photographed at irving park.

Brian said...

You speak in generalities to rail against a plan you obviously do not know much about. I am not quite sure how a plan to provide safer routes for people to walk/run/ride on the streets of Allentown is "completely flawed". Do I feel this could have been advertised better so that the public could have more input - absolutely - but that is pretty much the standard for Allentown. I was at the last meeting and it was well attended - I do not recall any dissent to the plan. Answer to a few other gripes:
- this has nothing to do with "blacktop trails through the parks"
-Greenways, Inc was paid $144,000 - public knowledge and the number was released previously - fairly sure it was funded through a grant
-this plan is trying to create the opportunity for people to travel to parks by foot/bike that they may otherwise have driven to due to unsafe roadways - which actually adresses some of the "real problems" that currently exist in the parks
- is it "completely flawed" to want to cross Cedar Crest Boulevard between the Rose Gardens and Trexler Park safely?
-basic stewardship obviously means different things to different user groups - just because yours is not addressed in the plan does not make it bad for Allentown

I encourage you to walk or bike to the meeting on the 13th - would be a great way for you to see what this plan is addressing

michael molovinsky said...

brian, your comment is welcome here, but i do not relate to one word you wrote. $144,000 is a crime, grant or not. that would pay for at least 3 park workers and their benefits who were laid off. i will drive to the meeting, you can walk. i can only assume, with three more firms involved, we may have well spent over $200,000 already.

Brian said...

Not one word? Then I shall not waste more of either of our time. Will make sure to introduce myself to you at the meeting.

michael molovinsky said...

brian, from your profile you're apparently a cyclist. unfortunately, our iconic park system is now being run by a professional recreationalist, who is more than willing to neglect maintenance so you can ride the length of the city on a paved path. years ago the cyclist were willing to stay in one park and go around several times.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Here's a question that begs
scholarly replies.
Does a city that has maintained a particular park in this case Trexler as a safe and walkable place most especially for the community's seniors have a "duty" to continue to maintain that park in a safe and prudent manner?
One might suggest the proposed Trexler Trust mandated "looping" of Allentown parks will open the door to individuals who may consider harming a sector of the community. Should this ever become the case, can Allentown be held responsible for such harm as it has been forewarned by concerned citizens?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:51, i have a problem with your question. as you may recall, legitimate objections to the cedar park plans were labeled racist by some, and consequently, pawlowski and company filled the council chamber with shills against racism, while it was never a real issue.

No, i do not believe the interconnection plan will place anybody in harm's way from predators, but it will funnel needed funds and work away from our existing parks. the parks should not be just for the extended pleasure of cyclists

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Are you saying your problem with
the prior post regarding the Trexler Park safety issue is that you think it is being asked to be obnoxious? We don't get that feeling at all. Trexler Park is used by more Seniors than any other park because of its flat terrain and posted parking restrictions. We believe if you polled 200 Seniors who use that park more than less would say they feel safe there. Even Lehigh Parkway only has a single public entrance and exit which we believe deters criminal activity there as well.

Anonymous said...

TO: Brian

You are the type of person who is a real danger to Allentown and its wonderful park system. Narrow minded and short-sighted, with no awareness of the history of our parks system. Your challenged 'Weltanschauung' could be due to many things: newness to the area's history and traditions; a world view that is narrowly attuned to bicycle riding; lack of awareness of current trends in the world concerning environmentally friendly and low impact uses of public open spaces and park land; and the 'green initiatives' of today, which do not emphasize willy-nilly growth & development just for the sake of growth, etc. Allentown's parks are not to be 'developed' or 'marketed' for special interest users (bike riders), but rather are to be used passively as the founder of the parks, Gen. Trexler, had intended. Perhaps New Jersey would be the place for you to try and exert some 'constructive influence'?

Anon.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:15, i do not believe interconnecting the park system increases the danger to anybody, in anyway. anybody with bad intentions can make victims in the parks as they exist now, separately. anybody can enter trexler park from cedar crest blvd., springhouse road, tilghman street., trexler park apartments, etc. i wish to keep any "crime factor" away from my objection to this plan. i'm just as opposed to connecting any park, anywhere in the city, regardless of any demographic which uses it. this plan victimizes the parks, by deferring much needed maintenance. beyond catering to some cyclists, there is no purpose to it.

Anonymous said...

the trails plan is not just about connecting parks - it is about connecting neighborhoods, and including the parks in that connectivity. I agree that money should not be taken away from the maintenance budget to move this project forward, but in the public meetings I have attended thus far, the point has always been made that this project would not be payed for out of Allentown's budget. I am in favor of a trails plan, and think it is a worthy expenditure, but agree that it is not an expenditure I'd like to see done at the expense of park maintenance and improvements.

Anonymous said...

December 19, 2009 1:32 PM
poster

Anonymous said...
the trails plan is not just about connecting parks - it is about connecting neighborhoods, and including the parks in that connectivity. I agree that money should not be taken away from the maintenance budget to move this project forward.

Dear Forward Connectivity,
For the past 2 months the doggie do bins in various city parks have remained empty.

michael molovinsky said...

i think it is absurd to think that any new project can be built, even with a grant, that doesn't take funding away from the existing problems. for instance, that $144,000 plus spent on the trail plan, could have been used on an existing path; such as the WPA steps going up from fountain park.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Allentown's Senior population comes in all shapes, sizes, and ethnic origins. We want all our community's most vulnerable citizens protected. If you can pledge that move forward with those paved paths.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 4:05, as i explained earlier, twice already, your opinion about the paths and senior safety is counter-productive. it will be used as an accusation of some form of elitism, racism, etc. by the administration.(as it shamelessly was at cedar park) please take no offense, but i will allow no future comments on this POV. The real issue is that we should be providing safe sidewalks for all our citizens, everywhere in the city, before any trail network.

R. V. said...

if high crime neighborhoods{as defined by allentown police dept. data} are connected to the park system, would it not follow that more crime will migrate to the parks? i live downtown. this has nothing to do with race. this is a question about crime and safety in our parks. frankly i would not want my neighborhood connected to the parks. i go to the parks because i feel i can in walk safety there. i do not feel i can walk in safety in my own neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

To Brian - We were at one of the trail planning meetings, and we heard some people express misgivings about possible negative effects on the environment and wildlife. Also heard some concern about priorities and safety issues. I hope those meetings, better than nothing but hardly comprehensive, and that silly online survey are not used to limit additional public discussion on this issue. That was not a winning formula for the city on the Cedar Beach planning. Who chairs city council's Parks Committee now?

Anonymous said...

I think the City sending out abundant notice on this upcoming public meeting is an effort to solicit further input, as a lesson learned from the Cedar disaster. If 200 people show up in opposition at a public meeting, I think the City will need to reconsider moving forward. But if 40 people show up to the meeting, express support (asking questions doesn't mean we don't support the plan), and the opposition exists only AFTER the public meetings have been held, what is fair? The planning process has been pretty public, and the trails plan considerably more advertised than the Cedar plan was. Decisions are made by those who show up. There have already been two meetings, both with decent attendance, and the next meeting has been advertised in many forms - three public meetings should be adequate time for the opposition to voice their opinion!

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:09, the amount of people showing up for a meeting doesn't reflect the true support of a city. witness the last cedar park meeting, when mr. and mrs. pawlowski asked two entire church congregations to attend, because the opposition was based on "racism". i spoke to numerous of those supporters, and they had no idea what the real issues were, they simply were supporting a request from their pastor. i spoke with one of the pastors, who likewise, was simply responding to pawlowski.
the path network is simply a recreational plan for the benefit of cyclists, hardly in the park system's best interest.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your assessment of what a trail network plan is, but respect that you have a relatively informed opinion. I don't believe anyone was at the prior meetings at the urging of Pawlawski or their pastors, and hopefully that remains the case in January.

Respectfully, you stirred up quite a frenzy of misinformed opposition yourself at that council meeting by spreading rumors that there was to be an amusement park at Cedar, and that the rose garden was going to be bulldozed. Some of us can detect the hyperbole in your posts, others cannot. And we've all played whisper down the alley... from your hyperbolic posts and Jarrett Renshaw's incendiary reporting to rumors that Cedar was being sold to Dorney Park to become Dorney Park East.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:01, the original cedar plans would have completely desecrated our iconic park. hopefully the absurd inter-looping paths will not be built between the creek and honochick drive. i presented no "misinformation" and am proud of my efforts on behalf of that park.

Sue said...

The point is not that showing up at a meeting in & of itself, shows support of this plan. Showing up at the next meeting to simply indicate support or opposition, is also NOT the point. The point is the planning process should allow citizen input in the design and planning process itself. Not just show up for an overly simplistic support,yes or no. The fact is there have been very,very few opportunities to actually participate in the process. The meetings, I have been told, have been relatively short Q&A sessions with limited time for any real input. Only one was held in the evening. If you read the draft document, it comes out strongly in favor of the maxium use of paved trails. Was there ever any public input into this? I do not beleve the majority of park users want to see more paving in the parks. I am sure the many people who run in the parks do not want to see more paved trails, nor do runners esp.want to share trails, some parts with blind turns, with bikes. In the Lehigh Parkway add in horses on the paths. Have the consultants spoken to the people who run in the park every day? To the high schools who hold cross-country meets in the parks? To the collage runners who train in the park? To the equestrians who stable and ride their horses in the park? Do these people want hard, paved trails. {What about work on the trail that goes all the way to Bethlehem and Easton, the canal path? That trail is falling into real disrepair. Do we let that go and start new trails? Should the city pave it? } If they have, why is it not indicated in the draft report? I could support some of the plan and not other parts. When do, did, people like me get input into the details? Certainly not in that overly simplistic "survey". That survey was insultingly simplistic. All this without looking at a list of important current priorities. {Is there such a list?} As a model for resident involvement, the trails planning process falls very short of real people participation. I for one, find this very unfortunate after the Cedar Beach mess.

Anonymous said...

Sure enough the Trails Plan on the city web site does recommend paved trails. I can understand blacktop trails when there is no alternative, but more paved trails in the park itself? What a bummer! I can not support this. And if Mr. Molavinsky and Mr. Kleiner are good for their word, they won't support it either. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that there are some neighborhoods that WOULD RATHER NOT be any more connected to much of the rest of the city? Might some neighborhoods like quiet semi-autonomy? Could it be that the charm of some of the parks, like Trexler, are enhanced by their relative seclusion? Are there really, really now, people jammed up at Cedar Beach wishing, "if only I could cross Cedar Crest Blvd. to get to Trexler Park?" Or visa versa? Might the wildlife in some of the cities more remote parkland be safer for less, rather than more, people moving through? Could this be? Must every beautiful little island be connected by bridges to the busy mainland by paved blacktop "trails"? What do you think about this prospect MM and Mr. Kliener? Could this be?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:00 and 11:47, let me be clear, I am 100% opposed to the trail network plan. I think the parks should remain separate, and long neglected maintenance should be conducted in each one.

Anonymous said...

TO: Anon 11:47 am

Brilliantly written! Although a 'statement of the obvious'. Unfortunately, the people that we in Allentown find ourselves hostage to, those we entrust to properly plan for the future, and to run and manage this once beautiful city... these 'leaders' are lacking in even the most elementary aspects of good taste, foresight, and logical thinking. This paraticularly includes those educated ones 'at the top' of Allentown society, the Trexler trustees.

Anon.