Jul 14, 2010
More Weeding, Less Talking
Allentown has a few icons, such as the PPL Tower, the 8th Street and Tilghman Street Bridges. In Europe many bridges date from the middle ages, there are even Roman bridges still in use. It seems here in Allentown we cannot even keep an 80 year old bridge together. Earlier this year County Executive Cunningham and Mayor Pawlowski had a press conference under the Tilghman Street Bridge, while on the top weeds and saplings were growing out of the road bed. The bushes and weeds are still there, on both bridges, eroding away magnificent irreplaceable structures. Lets hope these great silver tongued planners stop waiting for penn-dot, and get around to buying a bottle of weed begone.
UPDATE: When I was a kid I grew up in Lehigh Parkway South, this was a development of twin homes built for the returning GI's, the streets were named for planes built during the war; Liberator, Catalina, and Coronado.(Queen City Airport was a WW2 plane factory). Getting into the rest of Allentown was a bit inconvenient. To go downtown(Hamilton St. was the Shopping Mecca of Lehigh Valley) you would have to go over the 8th Street Bridge. To get to the east side you would go down the Lehigh Street hill, up to Union and then over the river. Getting to points west required going over the stone arch bridge near Regency Towers. Construction of the 15th Street bridge finally connected the south side with the rest of Allentown. The metal deck, which was annoying from day one, was supposed to be temporary. So here we are, fifty some years later, being told the bridge is ready to be replaced. Is there anyone in authority who remembers how difficult it was to navigate Allentown before the bridge? So now the decaying 8th Street Bridge will absorb the traffic during construction of the new 15th Street Bridge? Allentown meanwhile defers simple maintenance, like rail painting, because of promises from Harrisburg? We truly are slow learners.
UPDATE: Lipstick on a pig; Allentown now has hung banners on the 15th St. bridge lightposts, distracting drivers attention somewhat away from the rusting rails.
UPDATE: Sept. 15, 2009. The railings on the 15th St. Bridge have been painted. The Linden Street Bridge, an iconic stone arch bridge over the Jordan Creek and Historic Rail lines has been torn down. No repairs have been done to either the 8th Street or Tilghman Street Bridges. Both the silver tongues are insured of re-election. We're still slow learners.
UPDATE: July 14, 2010. Don Cunningham now plans on tearing down the historic Reading Road stone arch bridge. His Administration exaggerates the amount of traffic, and ignores the fact that the bridge could easily have a weight restriction without inconvenience, because of nearby Hamilton Blvd. He is devoid of any sense of local tradition or history.
reprinted from July 31, 2007 and Sept. 15, 2009