Feb 21, 2010

The Compromised


The highly respected Guide to Creating Sustainable Parks recommends minimizing impermeable surfaces like paved trails, and considering replacing asphalt and concrete with permeable gravel. Here in Allentown, as a component of the Trail Network Plan, we are doing the opposite, replacing gravel with asphalt to accommodate cyclists. The final report on the Trail Plan, the Executive Summary, shows asphalt or concrete(page 13) right next to the stream buffers. This fall, plantings for the Riparian Buffer were actually paved over in Cedar Creek Park. Although the Steering Committee for the Trail Network Plan is dominated by government types, there are environmentalists included who do know better, yet have remained silent; Michael Adams, Environmental Advisory Council. Tom Gettings and Chris Kocher from the Wildlands Conservancy and most puzzling, Mark Palerino, from the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Mark does work in their recreation division. There are others in this City who also should be included on the Compromiser List, however, I restricted inclusion to members of Steering Committee.

I had no problems sharing the park paths with bicyclists. My objection to the Trail Network Plan is that it will encourage more and faster cycling as the dominant group on the paths, to the detriment of the other users.

18 comments:

gary ledebur said...

A former Kutztown University professor (unnamed elected official) was walking down the sidewalk in Allentown one day when his friend, another egghead professor, rode up on an incredible shiny new bicycle.

The first professor was stunned by his friend's sweet ride and asked, "WOW! Where did you get such a nice bike?"

The second egghead professor replied, "Well, yesterday I was walking home, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up to me on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want!'"

The first professor nodded approvingly, "Good choice. The clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

Andrew Kleiner said...

I'm glad to see that you have come around on the DCNR standards. It is a far cry from the hundreds of willow trees you advocated planting in lieu of riparian buffers to preserve viewsheds.

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i wish you had spoken out, at those meetings you believe to be so important, against paving the paths.

Andrew Kleiner said...

This last meeting, I had intended to but I did not need to. Dr. Mcguire took care of it and passed out the DCNR guidelines from that book to council. He did a far better job than I would have and as a result, council requested a formal statement from the EAC regarding the plan before the final vote on March 3rd. As I have posted on my blog, over and over, I am against paving unnecessarily and will speak against it when I need to. Council was made very aware of the negative impact of such paths this past Wednesday, and as the plan is implemented (Rather, if), they should take this knowledge into consideration when making decisions regarding particular projects related to the plan.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
The truth is staying up to speed on developments in Allentown is so depressing that many, myself included, avoid doing so. The city’s power structure is populated by opportunists and collaborators. Many of these people have compromised their own integrity to be part of the team. How can any good come of this?

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, to my knowledge you skirted the paving controversy till the end of january. city council does not formulate plans for the parks, it only approves the funding or grants for those plans. if they vote yes on march 3, what is built in the parks will be out of their control; as was the cedar park plans. i think if there was truly a will by city council to input the plans, the vote last wednesday would not have been 5 to 2. donovan and eichenwald are not against the plan per se, but they understand that once they would yes, their input into the situation ends.

the EAC is useless. they have not said no one about anything; lumbering south mountain, overloading cedar beach, paving the paths. they have been nothing but a cover group, they should be embarrassed.

Andrew Kleiner said...

I posted about the "paving controversy" for the first time on October 26th (http://rememberkleiner.blogspot.com/2009/10/cedar-beach-parkway-good-bad-ugly-and.html) when the surprise pave job was done in Cedar Beach Parkway.

michael molovinsky said...

andrew and all others, i'm sorry that hyperlinks included in your comments do not appear as links on this blog, it's a blogspot/apple safari issue. occasionally some links do appear in the comments, but i don't know the variable involved.

i urge all readers to cut and paste the address provided by andrew , where he does lament the paving around the last mirror pond and the paving over of buffer plants. his hope that the paving stop there was in vain, the paving continues. the cedar park plan and the trail network plan was not done in a vacuum of one another. this paving is part and parcel of the cedar park portion of the trail network plan.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM,

It seems like an eternity, but there was a time, not so very long ago, that I rode my bike everywhere. Work, trips to the store, etc., were all done on my BUV (bike utility vehicle).

I remember being trained in some bicycle course by none other than Steve Schmitt. He took us everywhere, on roads, across bridges in Bethlehem and along the trails at Sand Island.

By far, the most dangerous part of the course, and Schmitt made this point several times, was the innocent-looking trail. He mentioned that when weather is warmer, there are at least five bicycle injuries per day along that path, requiring treatment at St. Lukes.

The reason is that the trail is not engineered for bike riding. As a result, a bicycle rider might suddenly come up on a group of people enjoying a leisurely walk or a group of other cyclists without seeing them.

If you lay down macadam, you just magnify the possibility of injury. Believe me, I prefer the relative safety of the roads over bike paths in parks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Where did you find this data?

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i wish you had spoken out, at those meetings you believe to be so important, against paving the paths.

February 21, 2010 10:23 AM

We do too. Andrew is a respected
and admired young man. Weitzel
can hardly toss his opinion aside.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I have stated this before but it bears repeating, injuries occur both in frequency and severity by paving these pedestrian/bikeway paths. I for one will be far less likely to feel secure walking along any paved path that is frequented by today’s heavy bikes.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

anon 1:53, andrew kleiner mentioned the state guide in a post last month. the executive summary is listed on the park dept. website.

michael molovinsky said...

scott, to promote safety, in the executive summary the greenway consultants suggest that people only walk two abreast. i think perhaps if pedestrians wore helmets with attacked rearview mirrors, that also could help.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Helmets perhaps but all should be required to have one of those long sticks with the attached orange flag on themselves if they would be so bold as to chance a walk though the new velodromes that we used to call the city parks.
I do believe the city is still self insured, as anyone looked into the balance of that account lately?


Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

The Bulldozer is looking tough and ready for action.

Go Bulldozers.

End natural charm and beauty once and for all!

What is the over-under (on project costs, of course)?

Anonymous said...

Mike,

It just occurred to me that after the paving is completed someone in the city will start seeking federal funds to remove it all and replace it with a more eco friendly surface to prevent damage to environment. Remember the downtown canopies? Weren’t federal funds use to both put them up and take them down?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Why are we spending money on this anyway?

Didn't Haiti just have a devastating earthquake?

America has shown arrogance.

We should be sending every penny to Haiti.