Apr 8, 2008

Parking Authority Mugs Woman

Sometime in the not too distant future, a woman Verizon worker will be mugged on Linden Street. She will be the victim of Mayor Pawlowski and The Allentown Parking Authority. At the last Authority Meeting two plans were discussed. One was to make Parking Authority Workers safer by purchasing a robotic tire marker, making it no longer necessary for officers to stand in the street and make calk marks. The second plan, rather than allow Verizon women to continue parking in safety next to their building, the lot will be sold for townhouses. Every night at 10:30, and every morning at 6:30, 70 women would have to walk almost two blocks to the next closest surface lot, the reward for working in downtown Allentown. John Zawarski actually claimed that in spite of this forced march in fear, they will be safer because of his new townhouses. Somehow this development will add stability to the entire downtown, making it more safe to walk two blocks than 100 feet. As I questioned the consequences of this townhouse scheme, Board member Larry Hilliard, kept demanding to know if I officially represented Verizon Corporation. Larry is Pawlowski's Finance Director, I question who he represents? Although a petition signed by over 100 workers opposed to the sale of the lot was submitted to the Authority, Verizon Corporation has not issued a formal statement on the issue. Although the Rite-Aid on Hamilton Street lost over 40% of their revenue from recent Lanta changes, they also will make no statement. It is the policy of most national corporations to not get involved in local politics. In a chain of emails, I instituted from a phone call, has come back to me; Tamara Weller, Authority Director, states that had Verizon Corporate contacted her, she would intervene on the sale proposal. Tamara, although you and Larry Hilliard have not heard from Corporate Headquarters, I can assure you they would rather have their employee's continue parking next door, rather than walking about late at night and early in the morning. As Mayor Pawlowski begins a series of public relations meetings about crime, lets not send these Verizon women out to get mugged.


atown-liker said...

Why is Verizon so quiet about this? Verizon could buy that lot or it could make a deal with Zawarski to keep some of those spaces. Or is Verizon disinterested because they are planning to leave town?

michael molovinsky said...

most of the hardwire lines are routed through their building, they're not going anywhere and pawlowski knows it. I don't know if they were even given the "real" opportunity to buy it, zawarski plans 47 homes, already all planned out. as i said in column, it is not the policy of national companies to cry foul at the local level

Anonymous said...

If Allentown is so filled with criminals waiting to prey upon these Verizon workers, it will not make a difference if their cars are 100 ft away or 2 blocks away.
Townhouses/rowhouses foster close communities. We know our neighbors & look out our windows. I would much rather walk past owner-occupied townhouses than a desolate parking lot or run down building.
If any worker is mugged after the sale of the lot I'd look to you as a suspect just to make your point!
Maybe the sale is not such a great idea, but not for the reasons you give.

Veritas said...

Please enlighten me. What is the attraction with 7th St?

I know it is billed as a primary gateway to Allentown.

Why then, every time I drive down the street, I pray I do not have to stop at any of the lights between Tilghman and Union.

Is this just me?

What kind of businesses are supposed to open in this retail space / townhouse development?

Is there something chic about buying new construction in a neighborhood characterized by boarded up buildings, double parking and a high incidence of crime and drug use?

The converted apartment building on the northeast corner of 7th St looks lovely.

Really though, who would live there with an inherent curfew of dusk every evening.

I would appreciate hearing from some of these residents relative to the quality of life in this "neighborhood".

michael molovinsky said...

anon 2:17, the nearest parking lot is west of the verizon workers, so those new townhouse residents will be out of sight. if townhouses and rowhouses reduced crime, allentown would be one of the safest cities in America.
veritas, i consider the marketability of new townhouses at 7th and linden in the zero range. i suspect mayor ed has some sweet incentives to sprinkle on the deal. when you factor in the location, current poor housing market, inconvenience to a major employer, the lot should be retained by the Authority. perhaps the city could reimburse zawarski for the expense of blueprints.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Veritas. I'm not sure I see the attraction in buying a new townhouse in a blighted area. It would be great to see more "young professionals" (since that's what they market towards) buy older homes and fix them up. I would love to see all the old houses in my neighborhood de-converted from apts back into homes. You'd better believe all the noise, garbage and crime in my area is at those apt bldgs/slums.

Anonymous said...

I feel that walking two blocks is not unreasonable.

Anonymous said...

Allentown doesn't need more row homes. What Allentown really needs is a bulldozer to level all the blighted row homes that already exist (with the tenants still inside them).
The problem with Allentown is it is trying to hold on to a model that is based on the 19th century rather than the 21st century. Hamilton street wont take off until there is an express route in and out like Rt. 378 into bethlehem and adequate parking. If the half block areas behind the retail facades along Hamilton street were all converted into parking lots more businesses would be open to moving to hamilton street. The other blighted neighborhoods (17th street to the Lehigh River) should be leveled and rebuilt as either SINGLE family homes with 2 car garages. Allentown doesn't need thousands of row homes anymore because no one walks to work like they did in the 1800's. Allentown needs more parking and less people.