Dec 14, 2015

Real LIfe In Allentown


Putting aside the endless NIZ promotion by The Morning Call,  real life in Allentown hasn't gotten any better. Stabbing and shootings have become so commonplace,  that they're relegated to the middle of the paper. The reputation of the school system is so dismal, that people choose charter schools, not because of their merit, but just hoping for something a little better.  A school system that once had a national reputation for theater and art, is now known for fights and beating up policewomen. Add  a scandal ridden mayor and city hall, and we owe Billy Joel an apology. We accused him of maligning Allentown, we can't blame him this time. While the paper can't contain its joy over the arena, the city can't contain its crime.

There was a recent drive-by shooting in the small residential area wedged between Target shopping center and route 22, within sight of Cedar Crest Boulevard. Early Sunday morning, close to the municipal golf course and again within sight of Cedar Crest Boulevard, a car was left sitting on the owner's driveway, missing all four wheels.

Office workers may now drive downtown to work, but come five o'clock, all but a few childless millennials will drive back to suburbia, where more often the woes of Allentown now follow them.

7 comments:

doug_b said...

From living in various Democratically controlled cities I'm going to tell you Allentown folks what you need next. I assume you already have bike lanes that clog up the streets, and give priority to bikes - even though you may only see 2 or 3 bikes a day, even though it's ice, snow, inclement weather 6 months a year.

You need Light Rail. Why along the Light Rail corridor there will be all sorts of economic development, and wait for it... apartments.

After hearing this BS in my city, I could be your urban planner. Start with Light Rail between Allentown and Bethlehem (blue line), then to ABE (red line) , then to the suburbs (green line). You see there are jobs in the suburbs, but the poor people in the urban core can't get to those jobs.

Another feature (as you stated in your article) it will allow the suburbs to share in the crime.

alfonso todd said...

It is indeed getting rough out here. Well, it's been rough but people have been so busy focusing on the "movie set" we have downtown, no one has been focusing on the realities less than a block away. It's unfortunate that the "powers that be" are more reactive than preventative, but everyone thought gentrification would have driven everyone away by now. I am sorry to tell you but most of us "undesirables" are from NYC, Philly, or NJ and it is still cheaper, nicer, and better here. Instead of trying to brush us under the rug and hoping we go away, I say engage the residents and meet them where they are at.

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

doug_b:

Having lived in a major urban center that has light rail, it should be noted that on several occasions, ballot initiatives were created to estend the light rail system into the suburban counties.

These were overwhelmingly defeated at the polls. Not just in one county, but in two.

Yes, crime does indeed travel.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

While most of Allentown continues to slide in the wrong direction the West Park area has seen by all accounts success in its efforts of urban renewal. It continues to be the model of urban improvement. This has been royally ignored by the city.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Any mention of rail, whether light or heavy, will spell doom for the Lehigh Valley. Locally, people can be at the far reaches of the valley within a 30-minute driving commute from any of the downtowns. Lanta has already announced plans for express buses to serve the cities and immediate surroundings. People move to places like Bangor, Cherryville, Slatington, Coopersburg, etc to get away from the urbanizing of their lives. Why force it on them with a network of rails to nowhere. All of a sudden the millenials are longing for stuff from America's past, like trolleys, choochoos, etc. Might be nice if the also longed for some of the values of their parents. Wait, maybe their grandparents.

Anonymous said...

My only knowledge of this is from historical articles about the area, particularly about Lehigh Valley Tansit, but keepers of the history of that transportation era have described what to me seems like an excellent network of light rail, or as they were then known, trolleys that existed about 100 years ago that connected communitites from Bangor to Alburits and the cities in between, and connected Allentown to Philadelphia via the Liberty Bell line. It is tragic that such a fine ransportation system was destroyed so people can waste their time on ever more congestrd roads in the Valley. Every day I am grateful that I do not have to commute on Rte 22 or I 78, or the other daily traffic jams on Rte 145 or Rte 222.

Julian Kern said...

We don't need or want anymore apartments in Allentown. There are plenty. We need more home owned properties. The city needs to properly address the poverty issue in the city and put more focus on the housing issues. The neglected rentals are attracting more criminals to our city. Allentown officials need to be more proactive instead of reactive as Alfonso Todd pointed out.