Jan 11, 2010

Speak No Evil

The newsletter for the Trail Network Study, distributed with Allentown water bills, invited the public to provide input this Wednesday evening at the library. The insert says that we can talk with neighbors and project staff. An updated announcement in Sunday's paper says that the public will be able to view displays, hear a presentation and fill out comment forms. Todays paper features an editorial letter by Fritz Walker, founder of BikeAllentown, promoting the plan. Fritz claims that by paving all the existing trails, and adding 18 miles of more paved trails, we will; Improve life in Allentown, stimulate tourism and help restore economic vitality.

He writes, "Critics complain the city has spent money developing this plan. They would have us do nothing to invest in one of the city's greatest resources. If we listen to those voices, the result inevitable- the sluggish, dreary, unremitting decline of this city."

Fritz thinks that our park system is the foundation from which something truly special can be built.

Fritz, our park system is something truly special. We need to invest in maintaining those irreplaceable features, such as the WPA structures and the lakes, ponds and waterways. The last thing we need is more paved trails. Our park system was intended as a natural retreat for its citizens, not as an extended path for your bike.

See you this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 7:00pm, Allentown Public Library


Dr. Nancy said...

Franklin Roosevelt would be really proud of your defense of WPA. More icons, less bikers! Right on Michael.

michael molovinsky said...

"nancy" the parks, especially lehigh parkway, have many bikers. that park is seven miles long, if that doesn't suit them they should ride around several times, if that isn't enough exercise, they should add weights to the ankles. but we already have enough paths and paving.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean this Fritz guy and the city plan to pave the bridle path in Lehigh Parkway used by 1000s of runners and walkers?

michael molovinsky said...

yes, also the path in cedar park which goes around the rose garden side of the park. they also plan to install more paved paths within the parks, and paths connecting the parks.

LVCI said...

When the state was connecting Route 33 Northward to Route22 they had stacked their steel, dozers and supplies on the Bethlehem Township trail.

There was outrage and the state told them to relax the trail would be widened by cutting down a wide swath of trees (that shaded the path). Then paved over making it be better then ever.

I spoke with a woman who's husband was an attorney leading the opposition to that "paving over" plan.

The state was both shocked and pleased to see over 500 people signed a legal petition to restore the trail to the way they found it. Packed dirt & crushed stone. It not only saved the state money, but it also saved the runners feet and kept the whole thing more natural.

BUT the state being the state went ahead and paved over the entire remaining rail to trail section from the Boat launch area (by Route 33) all the way into Easton's park system.

At least the Bethlehem Township residents prevailed in their section between Freemansburg and the Route 33 boat launch area by the RT33 bridge over the Lehigh.

It's very scenic. Environmentally friendly to both the animals and supports the buffer areas that border along the Lehigh River. A whole lot cooler in the summer then it's counterpart to the East where it's paved.

BTW I think you'll find a lot of bikers also dislike the paving. We get around to a lot of places and the ones that are dirt/crushed stone or single track have a lot more riders on them.

Paving just seems to be all the fad with these guys right now. Who puts ideas like this in their heads???

ironpigpen said...

If these bikers are having problems getting enough exercise that is an easy fix.

Send them to me.

I will make them bike until they puke --- just like the coaches used to make us run until we puke.

Then we had to run some more.

I will have these bikers in shape in no time at all.

Do the bikers have the requisite intestinal fortitude? - that is the real question.

Anonymous said...

It's not going to be just bikers who enjoy these proposed paved paths along Allentown's parks. Cars are going to too. No way the city can protect these paths from vehicular traffic because there are too many park entrances to monitor. Even now cars can be found on the paths from time to time.

Anonymous said...

these paths will have to be wide enough to allow police cars and emergency units to travel on them. they will be little roads.

Brian said...

That is outright embellishment. This plan has nothing to do with paving parks. The plan is to link our existing parks by making the current routes used to travel between them safer and more accessible.

Ironpigpen - that is just silly

michael molovinsky said...

brian, according to all the literature, including today's letter from fritz, "Greenway trails are paved, multi-use trails in natural settings."

the current cedar park plan, elsewhere on this blog, paves all the existing cinder paths. all new paths indicated are also to be paved.

Anonymous said...

Brian, your bias is clear when you click on your name.

Brian said...

In full disclosure - I am also a BikeAllentown member - thus I know Fritz very well. He was only given 700 words to shoehorn the intent of the plan into that article. We have nothing to do with this plan - other than the fact we feel it makes sense. Our group has no budget and is not affiliated with the City - other than the fact we have been lobbying for bike racks throughout Allentown.

The Greenways Plan is a recommendation for connecting Allentown's existing parks in a safe way - not just for cyclists, but also for walkers, wheelchairs, et al. As public parks are already required by law to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act - there may be need to pave access paths, parking areas, etc. to allow people of all physical abilities the chance to access the facilities. That does not mean they are going to pave all of our parks. Lehigh Parkway is already an accessible multi-use trail - as you know it is compacted cinders. Most of the paved routes that they refer to in the plan are existing streets - they are recommending that all sidewalks have appropriate curb cuts/ramps at entrance/egress points - that safe and visible pedestrian crossings are provided - shared lane markings and striped bike lanes are installed for the safety of both cyclists and motorists. It has nothing to do with "bikers" wanting longer routes - or ankle weights for that matter.

The Greenways Plan is exactly that - a plan. Anything that is outlined in the plan will have to be approved by City Council before it is implemented. I am pretty sure after the Cedar Beach/Rose Gardens debacle - such plans are going to receive much more scrutiny and opportunity for public input.

For what it is worth - I agree with you on Cedar - I actually spoke out against those plans at the same City Council meeting you did. Because of that meeting - some of their plans were altered - unfortunately some were already inked and could not be changed.

I do believe Allentown needs to be much more forthcoming with details - obviously well before people are made aware of final meeting on plans they know nothing about.

I feel this Greenways Plan makes sense - in case that has not become apparent yet. They have a comprehensive map and presentation that I feel will clear many of the misconceptions that exist about this plan. Strangely - it addresses much of what you write about here.

Brian said...

Anonymous - my bias is that I am a lifelong Allentonian who happens to ride a bike - which should be apparent by my picture. If you are referring to BikeAllentown - that is addressed in response that may or may not show up here. Whether you support the plan or oppose it you have some type of bias no? At least mine is not hidden behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they plan to pave the bridle path. This is a horror.

Anonymous said...

brian has not reviewed the draft plan. at several places in the draft they promote paved asphalt or concrete trails. your the one who's got it wrong brian. read the draft. this whole deal is sad.

michael molovinsky said...

brian, on this blog i have several times referred to the "go kart track" that weitzel's building in cedar park. he's paving all the existing paths, plus adding an inter loop between the creek and honochick drive, plus connecting paths running north and south. simply put, regardless of what is presented at that meeting wednesdays night, i would not trust the park department with the proper implementation. he has demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to the history of the parks, and seems only concerned with creating a recreation resume. add this to the needed repairs in the parks, (wpa structures, pond issues,), current budget constraints, now is not the time for this plan.

fyi, this blog is occasionally victimized by someone using a variety of names to cast this blog and myself in an unflattering manner, however, disagreement from legitimate sources is always presented.

ironpigpen said...


Sorry, Chief.

The city's plans for the parks are what is silly.

By the way, Friend, I live in the city proper. (What about you?)

I see enough concrete everyday. I see enough paved stuff all over the place should anyone care to ride a bike, a skateboard, roller blades (to play hockey, of course!), etc.

In fact, I am currently working on mapping out a bike path for exercise purposes in the factory district down by the Lehigh River, to help biker riders and save the city some cash all at the same time.

A rider can get exercise and a cultural education all at the same time.

(efficiency is the German way)

PS - I used to live in San Francisco for a while and still have connections there.

I know all about Critical Mass.

Are you a Critical Mass-type person, Brian?

Brian said...

Again - nothing in the plan is finalized - they are recommendations - this is why they are requesting public input. If you detest concrete paths - let it be known. I am also a runner, walker, hiker - and most other things that have to do with the outdoors. I do not like concrete paths either - my knees like them less. I have let this be known.

I did not commission the plan nor did I write it - I feel it has some positive recommendations. Some not so much. I have read the plan - not all of it as it is painfully long. I have attended previous meetings and studied how these recommendations were successfully implemented in other cities. It is definitely better than doing nothing.

If you have an opinion - go to the meeting and voice it. If you do not - you have no one to blame and no right to criticize.

Brian said...


I get it - I am no fan of what is being done at Cedar/Rose Gardens. I have let that be known on any occasion that I have had to express that to the "powers that be". I agree with you about those using Allentown to boost their resumes without care for its history.

I happen to think the Greenways recommendations address alot of safety issues that exist. Obviously my last comment about getting involved does not apply to you as I know you are not shy about letting people know how you feel. Whether I agree with your opinion or not - at least you open a dialog.

My hope is those who oppose this come to check out the plan - and either let them know what they feel is wrong with it - or find out that it might actually make sense.

I am sure by time I post this - there will be more vitriol - but I have said my piece - thank you for letting it be said. See you Wednesday.

Anonymous said...


I use the parks for walking. Already there is tension with the bikers with the unpaved surfaces. The paving will facilitate higher bike speeds. I for one will use these paths less as a result. I think many parents will be reluctant to walk with their small children in light of the safety concerns that fast moving bikes pose.

Scott Armstrong

ironpigpen said...

I got an email from an old teammate who has read this stuff. He tells me I am crazy. Maybe so, but that would leave me well qualified to spot lunacy when I see it then perhaps.

Just to pick out one example, I see Hamilton Street first hand everyday. One word - desolate. That about accurately does it.

I have lived in New Haven, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Philadelphia in my day. Every town has a 'signature' street.

I remember what Hamilton Street used to be in the 1970s, when I was a little kid.

It's a wee bit different today.

Meanwhile, the biggest things the city of Allentown has had going on have been their super-duper Multi-Generational Destination Playground as well as these supposed plans to pave this or that with respect to a bunch of parks.

What about getting non-government financed jobs/businesses into the city? How many consultants has the city hired lately to take on that all-important issue?

Do the cops have enough people these days? What about a balanced budget, is the city operating on a balanced budget?

What about the existing city streets? Are they all in shape or what?

If anybody ever asked me what the city officials ought to be doing all day long, my list would start there.

My old teammate must be right -

My first thought would be the last thing the city should be working on these days is a bunch of recreation projects in the parks -

Guess I really am crazy.

So be it then.

Go Bulldozers!

(no animals were used and / or injured in conjunction with the manufacture of this essay)

(attempts were made to enlist children to use as political props, but the greedy kids wanted too much money)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
According to your report, Allentown plans to transform soft walking trails annually enjoyed by thousands of runners, walkers, and horseback riders into a racing track to please a few hundred cyclists, and this is fair?

Anonymous said...

Iron Pig Pen wrote:
"Just to pick out one example, I see Hamilton Street first hand everyday. One word - desolate. That about accurately does it."

Last week at 6 P.M., I was the only person on a downtown street. How sad things have become.

Anonymous said...

I use the parks for walking. Already there is tension with the bikers with the unpaved surfaces. The paving will facilitate higher bike speeds. I for one will use these paths less as a result. I think many parents will be reluctant to walk with their small children in light of the safety concerns that fast moving bikes pose.Scott Armstrong
January 11, 2010 6:42 PM

Scott is 100% correct.

Anonymous said...

Brian said...
That is outright embellishment. This plan has nothing to do with paving parks. The plan is to link our existing parks by making the current routes used to travel between them safer and more accessible.

Sorry, Brian, but you're wrong.
Lehigh Parkway already has paved roadways that permit travel through the entire park, from end to end. There is absolutely no need to pave the off-street bridle path with blacktop.

michael molovinsky said...

although i spent countless hours and days in the park as a child, only recently have i become reacquainted with lehigh parkway, mostly observing the changes since my childhood. the path which goes from the robin hood parking lot to the north end of the former metal bridge (now pedestrian) has been added since the the 70's, when, i'm not sure. one would think the bikers would be satisfied with all the added trails which were not part of the original lehigh parkway. i'm a wondering sightseer, as opposed to an exercise walker, also my hearing used to be better, so i too worry about the bikers coming up from behind me.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take that Fritz Walker and boot his ___ all the way out of Allentown back to whatever obviously, esthetically deprived area he came from. At this point in Allentown's long and illustrious history, the 'Fritz Walker's of the world'... their interference in Allentown's affairs are NOT welcomed!!


michael molovinsky said...

anon, the gentleman is simply putting his recreational interests ahead of the best interests of the park. unfortunately, that is nothing new for this city. elsewhere on this blog i have documented how the spring pond and miniature bridge by the robin hood parking lot is now a disc golf tee area. weitzel and pawlowski simply have no institutional memory of the park system, quite a pity considering how nationally famous it was.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky writes about the Disc Golf route's destruction of the once-beautiful ponds and the small quaint bridge adjacent to the Robin Hood. Even a few years ago this was open land and folks could walk near the little WPA bridge. The neglect has been of late and is successful in destroying this bridge for future generations who will never find it as the overgrowth is almost complete. And, once old-timers who still remember it are gone, no one will ever know it once existed.

Anonymous said...

Disc Golf is an active physical sport that requires expensive discs and carrying equipment. These discs are not your mother's two dollar kind but can cost upwards of $50.00 each, and one is never enough.
To retrieve these expensive items may require a disc golfer to trample tree and shrub roots or break a tree limb or two. Walk behind these players and one will hear what goes on during the course of a game.
There are communities that forbid disc golf in treasured parks such as Lehigh Parkway and disc golfers are invited to play along
power lines and outskirts of towns where shrubs and trees are not in direct contact with the players.

Brian said...

Mr./Ms./Mrs. Anonymous - you are quite an angry individual. You know not of Fritz or what he stands for - so wanting to kick his ___ - juvenile - spare us. I hope you can shed your anonymity and come out to the meeting at the library tomorrow - let it be heard. See what the plan is actually about. It is not the concrete/blacktop that you think it is.

Ironpigpen - I have lived in every part of Allentown over my 40 years. Worked very hard to be able to live where I do know and pay enough taxes to not feel guilt about it. BikeAllentown sponsors monthly rides to help people lose their fear of riding with traffic - every ride is predominately through the streets of downtown - the "real" city - so we could probably help you out with that bike route. Let us know if you would like some input. And no Mr. Oeler - really feel no need for critical mass.

I hope to see you all and your passions at the library tomorrow evening.

I'm with Fritz and Brian said...

Count me in with Brian and Fritz. Pave as much as you possible can get away with. The new asphalt in the Rose Garden is beautiful. Hell, let's run small paved roads through the whole park system. This is a great plan. More blacktop in our parks. Let the Allentown Police Department and the Parks Department get off their asses and get to work patroling and maintaining the new blacktop trails. Stop wineing about the 20 lost positions in the Parks Department. Pave it I say. Plow it. Salt it. Patrol it. Go Fritz. Go Brian.Go Mr. Weitsel! Pave it!

ironpigpen said...

Dear Brian,

I am very pleased you and your constiuents carry on the tradition with the Bowl game every year.

I appreciate the photos your wife took and posted on Facebook very much, even though you and Jammin' are the only faces I recognize.

I did notice, however, from the photos I saw, that the game was not played at the original site at Cedar Beach west of Ott Street near the Pavilions which stand at the bottom of the Cedar Crest College hill.

I wondered how many guys know where the first game was played?

History and tradition are extremely important.

Football games are easily moved. New players can be readily recruited.

Other matters are more complicated.

Sometimes in life, things get lost which can never be replaced. Sometimes, this is not how things were planned out but yet the negative results end up all the same. Good intentions do not minimize or ease the pain of losses.

I have had ups and downs in my day. I do not feel the need to chronicle some downs to validate the above paragraph. In fact, I believe there are already many reading here who don't need ME to tell THEM about losses.

Molovinsky seems to be the only local blogger with any sort of consistent and prevalent memory, not to mention consideration, for how things used to be.

MM seems to know things just are not built with the same level of craftsmanship and care - i.e., old stone bridges - these days.

I believe Molovinsky definitely knows once these bulldozers get cranked up - they won't stop.

Some bureaucrat at City Hall looking to justify his salary and / or beef up his resume for future purposes will start flipping through some magazines one day and say :

"Whoa. East Yahoo, Vermont, has this! Cool. And I can be the hero to have this installed here in Allentown. I am so Progressive and wonderful, this rinky-dink town is so lucky to have me."

And then, one day, poof. The fantastic Park system as it once was is all gone. As are the fools who brought it here - gone off to greener pastures in, say, Madrid, just to pull a place out of thin air.

I can still remember those "All-America City" signs they used to have on Hamilton Street near Cedar Beach when I was a kid.

In fact, it was not until I lived in other cities around the country when I got older until I began to realize how magnificent a Park system Allentown truly has.

(Minneapolis' system isn't too shabby, either)

So, considering no man can live forever, where are we going to be when MOLOVINSKY ON ALLENTOWN no longer exists?


Who will be left to tell us how Allentown once used to be an All-America City and why that was?


I got another email today from the same old teammate who has been following this stuff here. He asked me why he finds a "hostile environment" here (with respect to this particular issue).

Personally, I would say this place cannot be accurately categorized as hostile. A) Molovinsky wouldn't allow it and B) I can refer you to sites that leave this place, by comparison, a love fest.

But that's just my opinion.

For someone who would identify hostility with this topic, I would say :

Throughout the history of mankind, sometimes some people and cultures tend to get pissed off when others start screwing around with things like icons and traditions.

History also shows Progressives have always known this and are always adequately prepared to cope in their own ways with counter-measures, however, so rest assured.

In the interim, good luck with the bike paths. Seriously. Hopefully, you make more money than me and can, therefore, pay more tax money than I to fund all of this phony dog-and-pony show feel-good Park stuff currently proposed by Whoever.


Every cloud has a silver lining?

Congratulations on your marriage once again. You guys really do make a good-looking couple.


Headquarters East
(aka Rolf)

ironpigpen said...

Disc Golfers have to play near power lines, eh.

How is this nothing but a tremendous, built-in advantage for the serious Disc Golfer to feel blessed with?

Having lived at 13th and Walnut in downtown Philly, I can categorically state that all the unpredictable, fast-moving cars did wonders for my skating and puck-handling skills with respect to the discipline of roller hockey.

I should think power lines would build both character and better accuracy for the Disc Golfer...

Anonymous said...

this is great stuff. i mean you could not make this stuff up. don't kid yourself brian, this is a "done deal", as your mayor bill said about that other wonderful use of the parks, "lights in the parkway", if they can get away with it. yo,friz,did you fill out one of those cool democratic planning surveys yet? very deep input. don't forget fritz. mayor, note to bikeallentown, thanks for the help - maybe it should be called paveallentown? hope they call the blacktop trail the "fritz - weitsel trail", or wait, no, the "powlowsky - gross roads in the park". to all you who still live in the queen city,last one out turn out the lights. thanks fritz. hanks brian. get out of the way of progress molavinsky. lotsa luck. save allentown. pave on dudes. cool.

Anonymous said...

Anything in the Cedar Beach Plan could have been changed at any time, Brian, with one phone call from the mayor to the head of Parks and Recreation. Don't be a fool. "Inked".Really !

Rob Hamill said...

You can kiss the beautiful Lehigh Parkway goodbye unless you stop LCA from targeting the headwaters of the creek with huge new wells. Anyone else notice the low summer flows, especially in 08? They can buy Allentown water for the bottling plants, but The head honcho of LCA, Mr Arndt likes the cheaper Little Lehigh Creek water.
There is a DEP hearing going on now that will give the Little Lehigh special protection status, that is being fought by the LCA.
You can send you letters of support for protecting the water resources of the Little Lehigh by emailing the DEP Water Planning Office at epstatewaterplan@state.pa.us
You can be sure that the degenerates who want to drain the Little Lehigh are flooding the office with call.
Rob Hamill

Anonymous said...

These few bicycle geeks that are becoming so vociferous and tiresome of late in these blogs, must remember that they only represent a fraction of the people (maybe one percent) that have historically used the parks, and who care about keeping the Allentown Parks in their traditional form.
These 'bike geeks' are a noisesome and unruly minority, and don't have an institutional memory for what the Parks system were designed to be They are truly 'juveniles' (no matter what their physical age). My impression is that they are sort of a younger, and mostly unsophisticated lot. Listening to their views would be like turning oversight of the hen-house to the foxes.