Oct 3, 2007

It's Not Cheap to be Poor in Allentown

Although the shopping district in Allentown has shrunk down to only Hamilton and 7th Streets, the meter district remains as it did during the heydays of the 1950's. The meters extend from Walnut to Chew, from 5th to 10th, well over 1000 meters in 20 sq. blocks. Parking meters extend out to 10th and Chew Sts, three full blocks beyond the closest store. These meters are a defacto penalty for the residents, mostly tenants. In essence, it is a back door tax on Allentown's poorest citizens. The apologists claim the tenants can purchase a resident meter pass, however their friends and visitors cannot. To add insult to injury, in 2005, to help finance a new parking deck for the arts district, the Parking Authority doubled the meter rate and fines. Testimony to City Council permitting the rate increase indicated it was favored by the merchants. At that time I documented to the Council that in fact the merchants were not informed, much less in favor. The vote was 5 to 2, with Hershman and Hoover dissenting. An article in today's Morning Call states the buses will not return to Hamilton Street because of congestion; there is no congestion. Pawlowski states the bus stops are not a city issue, that is simply a pathetic excuse. On September 18, I commented on Peter Schweyers blog that the merchants are being hurt by the new Lanta Terminal, he did not respond; he is unfit as a candidate for city council.

UPDATE: It should be noted that the article in the Morning Call stating the bus stops on Hamilton St. are gone for good was assigned to and written by their transportation writer, as opposed to Paul Muschick, the city beat reporter. This is the Morning Call's way of saying that Pawlowski's position=Morning Call's position=Pawlowski position.

UPDATE: In the Morning Call article Mr. Schweyer states business has improved in the 100 block of 7th St. because of the new terminal. There is only 1 store in that block, one half block away and on the other side, on the far corner of Turner st. That block is the worst in Allentown, 95% vacant. Apparently, Pawlowski and his chosen council candidate, both feel the merchants and public do not even deserve honest answers.

CORRECTION: In the barren landscape of the 100 block I overlooked three businesses. Near the Freedom Grocery Store, which I refer to in the previous update, there is also another small market, Mercadito's Mex. Neither merchant reports an increase, but they hope the new terminal helps them. On the terminal side there is a small hardware store, dressed up, probably from a facade grant(could we see another press conference there soon?) Lastly, and most important, I forget the 7-11. The owner believes he might be selling more coffee in the morning, perhaps his business has improved "1%". I didn't have the heart to tell him about the upcoming subsidized Dunkin Donuts.


Bernie O'Hare said...


Whoa! I thought it was odd that Schweyer would claim business increased but prtovided no proof. Now we know there is only one frickin' business in the block he is talking about.

I also posted a comment on Schweter's blog yesterday, asking him for his positrion. I also sent him an email. I heard nothing but saw his remarks to the MC today. So much for a "responsive" public servant.

michael molovinsky said...

I could write a book on that block. the store i refer to has been there many years, but its across wide 7th st. up at next corner. there's a restaurant( ironically first created by house of chen family many years ago) and a store front church, beside a retired lawyer office, everything else is barren, some with actual plywood.
BUT ITS WORSE, pawlowski was community and economic director under afflerbach for 3 years. in 1994 the city proclaimed 7th st. gateway to allentown and held a meeting at st. lukes church. i have since attended 3 more. the city planners have spend millions on 7th, and the 100 block, referenced by schweyer, has never looked worse. i offended damien brown at the 19th st. first meeting when i suggested the city couldn't plan a birthday party, much less improving a neighborhood. todays business section reveals the gift-postoffice was robbed and is now closed and for sale on 19th st., in spite of the pending banners. excuse the 'rambling" but the ambience of 19th st. should not be subjected to allentown city planning.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget the cuchifrito, the 7-11 and a haircut place called NY spot...hmmm wonder what that means?!!!! The area is a disaster zone and now seniors walking to the new center (from the Pennrose bldg on 7th and hamilton), county workers, students and working folk need to pass the drug corner of 7th and linden....such enlightened leaders rule Allentown....

sajmom said...

Interesting....I came across your blog looking for an article on the Allentown Parking authority that ran in the Morning Call a bit ago. (It wasn't coming up in the Morning Call's search engine)The article had something to do with the APA using "common sense" with regards to their ticketing. I witnessed this yesterday morning when they came along and ticketed my husband for double parking in front of our house. He was unloading some heavy/akward items onto our porch and was there for about 3 minutes or less. There were no parking spots his work van could fit in. Cars could get around him. The parking authority's suggestion was that he double park in the alley, and when he pointed out that this would completely block the alley(one that is used-it's behind the Girl's Club)he was informed angrily, "You're getting a ticket!" I'm betting that if I lived in the West end instead of here on Madison, it wouldn't have been a problem. Would you like me to tell you how happy I am about year round street cleaning too?!

michael molovinsky said...

sajmom, thanks for your comment, unfortunately the Parking Authority can best be described as a predator. just as communities years ago had speed traps, the authority has parking traps, i.e. the 1600 hundred block of chew st.