Mar 3, 2010

Addressed To City Council


This evening, you will hear testimony from various people enthusiastic about the cure-all called the Trail Network Plan. My fellow blogger, Andrew Kleiner, believes it is the lighthouse for a new awareness of our environment. Recreation (and park) Director Weitzel sees it saving our children from obesity. The Greeenway Consultant has promised economic recovery for the City.

I am unable to attend the meeting; Please forgive the presumption that some of you may read my opinion here on this blog, and a sincere thank you if you do. Not that many months ago, a huge crowd gathered in the Council Chamber to express their dissatisfaction with the Cedar Park Plans. Mr. Weitzel claimed that the public was missing in action from the planning meetings; they were johnny come lately then. Once again the public input process raises more questions than it answers. Although the third and final meeting was properly publicized in January, few public knew about or attended the previous meetings. The plan seems particularly orientated to bicyclists, raising many concerns to everyone else who enjoys walking, or just strolling on the paths. Although bicycles are now accommodated, does it serve the greater public's interest to have many more cyclists? Safety concerns have been raised about the preference for hard-surface trails, which will encourage even faster cycling.











I was especially upset at the January meeting to see that the grand stairways leading up from Fountain Park to Union Street, and then up to Spring Garden Street, were not included in the planning. The consultants touted how their plan would connect the intercity residents to the park system, while these steps were built and used for that exact purpose. But most disturbing, is that I realize we are building more, while not maintaining what we already have. Will this plan distract both our attention and resources from properly maintaining our existing park features?

Council Members acknowledged that the Cedar Park Plans got ahead of their oversight. I respectfully ask you now to consider not allowing that situation to repeat itself; The commotion from last summer is avoidable. Our park department currently has 17 less workers; we can build more with grants, but can we maintain more? Legitimate concerns have been raised about encouraging faster bicycle use on the paths, and the paving and widening of the paths. Let us slow down and smell the coming spring flowers. You have heard from the Park Department, the paid consultants, the cyclist lobby; give the general public more of an opportunity, it is really their parks.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,

This city is now run by people who have been brought in from the outside that lack any insights into the city’s recent or long term past. At our community meeting last night one of the new bureau directors made attempts at outreach to our organization. The reception was polite but amongst ourselves we could only shake our heads in frustration at how much time as been lost. The implications of the huge learning curve this well intentioned manager is on were not lost on us either and expectations for any positive movement are non-existent.
On a curious note a new face was welcomed, she informed us that she is here to do “missionary work”. Allentown Moving Forward, City Without Limits, Place to do missionary work. I think that says it all.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

"Invasion Of The Parks"

lvironpigs.wordpress.com

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This was always a fait accompli

The public input was always a charade

Oh well, just another day in the City With No Limits...

Andrew Kleiner said...

The only way the things that I hope to see happen on account of this trail plan can actually happen, is, as you said, that the public gets involved and city council listens.

Based on what I heard at the last council meeting, that should be a reality.

12 foot wide asphalt paths throughout our remaining open spaces are not the solution the city needs to reinvigorating its future.

Dr.McGuire, myself and others have made it clear that while this is a good vision, implementation will take thought and analysis by everyone, not just the Greenways Inc firm.

Anonymous said...

All these endless delays...

Lets Go Bulldozers!

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I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

"Bicycle Race" --- QUEEN
-----------------------------------

Who is bringing the refeshments THIS time?

Anonymous said...

The Trail Network Plan is wonderful and has my undying support.

I am concerned, however, that the poor, underprivilidged children in the city of Allentown, victims of oppressive oligarchs, mind you, will not be able to either access or enjoy the city's magnificent Park system after the Trail Network Plan has been implemented.

The poor will once again be left out in the cold due to a lack of bicycles while the rich ride their bikes to their hearts content.

It is all so unfair and so typical of America.

Will the City of Allentown do the RIGHT THING and PASS OUT FREE BICYCLES TO POOR CHILDREN?

President Obama cares about people.

Obama can free up Stimulus money to fund my proposal!

Then ALL would be truly free to become more aware of the environment.

And the sun will shine just a little bit brighter over America!

monkey momma said...

"But most disturbing, is that I realize we are building more, while not maintaining what we already have. Will this plan distract both our attention and resources from properly maintaining our existing park features?"

Of course it will! I'm sure you saw this on page 6 of the executive summary:

"Additional maintenance costs for bicycle, pedestrian, and trail facilities (striping, sweeping, etc) are small incremental costs relative to the City’s overall public works budget. The recommended strategy is to integrate maintenance into ongoing City programs. For bicycling, an emphasis for maintenance crews is to sweep all the way to the curb or edge of shoulder (where many bicyclists often ride). For trails, emphasis should be on target areas of improvement. Efforts can also be made through the PRTCRTC to establish ‘adopt a trail’ and ‘adopt a bikeway’ programs–bringing attention to maintenance ‘hot-spots’ as they arise. Consider sub-contracting for striping and painting bicycle and pedestrian facilitates."

So, we're going to tell the shrunken parks staff that they now have to brush bike paths and incorporate street maintenance (basically) into their already cram-packed task list.

Does anybody think it's realistic to expect a BROKE town to afford the maintenance of how many miles of paved trails? We're using a one-time infusion of money to create things that are unsustainable in even the near-term future. It would be one thing if we had the cash in Allentown to pay for the ongoing maintence issues associated with these bike paths, but WE'RE BROKE. But I guess that's a financial question the future inhabitants of Allentown will have to address. So sad - another example of kicking outrageous costs down to our kids and grandkids.

Anonymous said...

Keep speed racer off the canal towpath and at the velodrome where he belongs.

Anonymous said...

"Does anybody think it is reasonable to expect a BROKE town to afford the maintenance of how many miles of paved trails"

OF COURSE!

1. The (apparently influential) bicycle lobby, for starters.

2. The paid consultants.

3. The Park Director.

4. City Council

5. The supposedly independent Lehigh Valley Independent blog

According to the TNP supporters, this project is immensely popular with the public and, even more importantly --- PROGRESSIVE!

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The fact that no one in City Council or the Pawlowski Administration is thinking (at least publically) along the lines of Monkey Momma's thoughts on sustainability makes a loud and important statement not to be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

Missionary work?

On behalf of what religion?

The drunk-with-power, on-an-incomprehensible-spending-binge, who-cares-about-sustainability-Obama-will-save-us Progressive Liberal Democrats?

Katie Bee said...

"Will the City of Allentown do the RIGHT THING and PASS OUT FREE BICYCLES TO POOR CHILDREN?"

Anon 12:02 There are already programs in Allentown (though not directed by the city, itself) that work to bring bicycles to your "poor children."

Check out www.communitybikeworks.com to see what you can do to help your city (without a stimulus proposal)

gary ledebur said...

On October 22, 1895 Ignaz Schwinn, with his partner Adolph Arnold, incorporated "Arnold, Schwinn & Company". Within a few short years of its creation, the company became a leader of the American bicycle industry employing hundreds of American workers.
On September 11, 2001, (note date) Schwinn Company, its assets, and the rights to the brand, was purchased at a bankruptcy auction by Pacific Cycle. In 2004 Pacific Cycle was, in turn, acquired by Dorel Industries. Pacific and Dorel produced a series of low-cost bicycles built in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China, which were badged with the Schwinn nameplate and sold in large retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco. -----So lets buy bicycles for the poor children of Allentown. Get Chinese bicycles from Wall-Mart and see who makes the money. Probably the guy with the fake cane.

Katie Bee said...

The Community Bike Works uses recycled bikes, so no problem with China getting all our monies.

Anonymous said...

The trail network is a great thing. And, you, Michael, are a grouchy curmudgeon for complaining so much about such a good thing.

Maybe they shouldn't be paved. That would ensure that those speedy cyclists wouldn't use them. Only the mountain bikers and hybrid cyclists!

You make a good point about the WPA stairs. They should be included in the plan.

Anonymous said...

''Nothing really surprises me anymore,'' she said. ''The neighborhood is changing like every neighborhood, but something like that is rare.''

Schafer's granddaughter, 26-year-old Ashley Schafer, who lives about a block away from Mack Pool in the Brandywine Village apartment complex, said there's often activity late at night at the city-owned recreation complex.

''I'm pretty much used to the noise and what might go on over there,'' she said as she played on her grandmother's lawn with her 16-month-old son. ''People are always hanging out over there.''

Mr. Molovinsky,
We thought the city installed video cameras in all its recreational facilities, since
danger is only a perception, not reality.