Jan 22, 2012

Misguided Park Priorities


The plan to turn one lane of both Linden and Turner Streets into bike paths, through center city, casts a spot light on current Park Department thinking. If ever there was an idea that was devoid of reality, and which ignores the welfare of the vast majority of citizens, that may well be it. In addition to affecting the two sides of Allen High School, Central Elementary School would also be adversely impacted. Those familiar with center city know that double parkers already have largely reduced traffic to one lane, never mind the pending Arena traffic. This bike plan is a component of the Trail Network Plan, which has dominated the park agenda for the last several years. It caters exclusively to the cycling enthusiasts, paving the existing paths and connecting the parks with more bike paths. This past fall a group of concerned citizens surveyed the iconic WPA stone Structures within our park system. The cyclists may be peddling too fast to notice the state of disrepair that has overcome these monuments. Last summer, a City Councilman agreed to vote for the Trail Network Plan, with the understanding that a set of stone steps on Jerome Street, at Irving Park, would be fixed. The Park Department then removed the steps; I suppose that's a fix of sorts. One of the stone pillars on the Union Terrace Amphitheater stage is being undermined by the stream. The grand stairwell at Fountain Park has numerous missing steps. While millions of dollars have been sought for the cycling plan, the stone structures are approaching the point of no return. While I wish the cyclists enjoyable use of the parks, the Park Director and Mayor must realize that the young and the old, and other passive users, are also entitled to enjoy the parks. They are entitled to sit a bench and enjoy the view . They are entitled to explore the stone structures with their grandchildren, safely, on maintained steps and walls. These structures defined our park system long before the current Administration. We have too many plans for new venues in this city, while our history is literally crumbling. We don't just need more new ribbons to cut, we also need to maintain those things which made us unique.

The above piece, under a different title, appeared January 21, 2012, on The Morning Call opinion page.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Remove a lane from Turner and Linden streets?
For bloody bicycles?
PLEASE.
Which blithering idiot came up with this deficient dream?
We have enough problems navigating around the city.
Ride bikes in the west side of Allentown. Or in the park system.
Ride on the golf course.
Ride your bikes on route 22.
Do not attempt to screw up city traffic any more than has already been accomplished.
More half baked thinking from public servants!

Anonymous said...

In Bethlehem, where folks seem to respect historic property and adhere to proper driving regulations, a superior cyclist is harmed, how in the world is Allentown's proposed bike path going to make city cyclists safe? Allentown residents seem to park anywhere they want, including double, triple parking. The bike route concept is a noble one, but van Allentown prove it's safe? No one wants another cyclist harmed.

Anonymous said...

MM
Isn't the arena project part of the parks? If so, did you see today's Morning Call article on the arena and tax revenues from nearby municipalities? Wonder if those communities knew they'd be paying for the arena?

Anonymous said...

Mike, Will you be following up on todays morning call article, maye reason Mann not runnin for relection and maybe why rumors of sen browne not running for relection if both need to get votes outside the city to get reelected. How about schlossurg and schwayer, do they need votes outside the city, if so good chance that republicans to get elected.

Anonymous said...

I have to say. I drive downtown everyday (on Turner, Linden, 5th Street, Walnut, etc.) and never noticed double parking to be a major issue. Every once and a while you have to change a lane, but, that's just part of city life. I think people feel way too entitled when they get behind the wheel of their cars to some type of "perfect" road situation which caters to the driver. Maybe (though doubtful) that is o.k. in suburbia, but, in a city, roads have multiple uses and multiple functionalities. And we as drivers should be sensitive to that and have patience.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:01, although not my usual policy to announce upcoming posts, yes, i will be posting about pat brown

anon 10:03, the plan is moronic. furthermore, why would a cyclist want to drive down turner and up linden street in center city?

Anonymous said...

Pedaling to the Palace of Sport!

Central Planning on full parade in all its glory.

I love this City With No Limits place more and more with every passing day.

VIKTOR TIKHONOV

Anonymous said...

"maybe reason Mann not runnin for relection and maybe why rumors of sen browne not running for relection if both need to get votes outside the city to get reelected."

Have been thinking this today too. Very odd how quiet Browne's been around town. Imagine if he becomes the arena manager! If this happens, he'll damage the public trust. Feel badly actually for township and borough managers who may not have seen this coming. Imagine phone calls were made even today.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

It is my understanding no study was ever done to determine any need for these bike lanes. It is apparently a “build it and they will come” concept. In the meantime the only reason anyone in the impact area heard anything about this plan was because of the good intentions of a private citizen who promoted the plan at a West Park meeting. Typically no one in city hall ever thought about notifying anyone in the impact area.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, i will be opening up the WPA group meeting feb. 7th, to the public, and also using my means to have people attend and oppose the park dept. meeting the next night. that meeting will be attended in force by the bike lobby. both meetings are in the lower level of the allentown library.

Bill said...

I really and truly do not understand why we would not protect and maintain these historic park structures. They are a huge part of our history and identity.

AuH20 said...

Let's start a movement for 'registration fees' for bike riders who use the streets in PA. I'd say $36 is about right! Maybe a license, too. After all, since they will be using public streets paid for with taxpayers' dollars then the 'state' should have a right to regulate cyclists.

Anonymous said...

You will be pleased to know a team of parks workers were out cleaning the S 10th St steps this morning. (8:00 1/24/12)

John.Jay said...

I work downtown and in nicer weather bike in from Upper Macungie . Also , I ' m not some hardcore cyclist ( i think spandex is silly ), just someone who wants some exercise , hates the traffic situation on 22 , and enjoys the ride . I have to say , there are often bike commuters on Turner & Linden Streets in the morning and I have been to public meetings where kids express a wish to bike to school instead of walking if they could do it safely . All this seems like a great idea to me , especially if the city is trying to make its downtown more liveable and pedestrian friendly . There are plenty of alternative routes other than Turner and Linden . I think a lot of the anger over this has to do with the grown ups finally saying this damn car culture of ours is gonna have to come to an end sooner or later .

Anonymous said...

"grown ups finally saying this damn car culture of ours is gonna have to come to an end sooner or later ."
Most of us living on Linden and Turner St. need to drive to get to work. to pay our mortgages, city fees, and taxes.
The three of you wanting to ride bicycles are an extreme imposition on the rest of us.
There is not one unused parking space on my block.
Do you really want to remove a lane? Do you really want to jerk around thousands of people so a couple brave souls can have their own lane???
And also noting the current driving habits of many of our citizens, you are taking your life in your hands riding on these busy arteries through the city.