Aug 16, 2012

The Sign Of Delusion

When I first saw the new street signs in Old Allentown, I gave them about a year. I must now downgrade that lifespan to about 6 months. The old green and white signs are going on 60 years of use. Generations of boys did pull ups on the old sign at 12th and Turner; This sign will support one pull up by one boy. The Allentown planning office told Morning Call reporter, Dan Hartzell, that the antique looking signs are to enhance the historic nature of Old Allentown. Hartzell thought that it's wonderful that the Old Allentown yuppies get something, because they Walk the Walk. He did not report that the signs have no structural integrity, are too short and are junk. Although Hartzell took the above photograph only one week ago, the Turner has since broken off the sign. In truth, we do not have an historic district, we have a poverty district with a few yuppies and a city hall deluding itself. In the City Without Limits, we wasted another half a $million dollars.


Anonymous said...

The arena will be made of the same stuff.

Anonymous said...

I believe Hartzrll's article mentioned that - despite the fact that the new signs were not needed - the new signs were funded with a state or federal grant.

That's "free" money to those in City Hall, but our tax dollars to those of us who pay for it.

With frivolous spending like this with grant money, does anyone really believe our local officials suddenly become spendthrifts when overseeing the city's budget?

Obviously not, as proven by years of deficits.

Anonymous said...

Mike this replacement was required by Federal law. It was passed back in 2007 and requires all municipalities to replace their street signs by 2018.

All in the name of 'safety.'

michael molovinsky said...

@9:23, it certainly wasn't "required" that they use such a short sign devoid of structural integrity, especially with many children and hard urban use. perhaps those signs would be appropriate in old city annapolis, but not center city allentown.

Anonymous said...

No argument there, but they had to replace them with something, leaving the other signage up wasn't an option.

It is a stupid law that forces cities with no money to spend it anyway.

Honestly, if I were Pawlowski I'd have done the same thing - go as far as the grant will take me in terms of quality, and that's it.

LVCI said...

"Mike this replacement was required by Federal law."

Actually it isn't.

According to the U. S. Department of Transportation: August 30, 2011- "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the Obama Administration is eliminating dozens of burdensome regulations on traffic signs which cash-strapped state and local governments expect will save them millions of dollars.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing that communities replace traffic signs when they are worn out rather than requiring signs to be replaced by a specific deadline.

The proposed changes will eliminate 46 deadlines mandated by federal traffic control regulations."

For The Entire Press Release- CLICK HERE

michael molovinsky said...

lvci, there's no end to apologists and rationalizers for bad decisions at city hall. the fact that half those signs are already distressed and they're only a month old, tells the story. wrong signs for the wrong place, period.

Anonymous said...

There is a story about this historical ordanaces in allentown. They only apply to home owners not floppers and the kings slumlordian freinds. Just drive down the 600blk of park st above yoccos and take a look at the properties destroyed by a fire in 2006. Six porches destroyed and only three were made to follow historical ordanaces.


Anonymous said...

thanks LVCI, didn't realize it had been repealed.

Mike, my point was that compliance with federal law isn't rationalizing anything.

Did they use crappy signs? Yep. Was it a bad decision since the regulation was repealed? Yep.

But please don't assume I'm rationalizing anything here or put words in my mouth.

Unfunded mandates suck but they exist and you have to deal with them.

michael molovinsky said...

@11:11, the federal mandate dealt with the signs being reflective. because it's Old Allentown they went with a historical version which was totally inappropriate to the reality of center city allentown. hence the delusion and this post. do you think a bend sign enhances the appearance of allentown? they should foregone the historic version and went for durability.

Anonymous said...

In addition to reflexivity, the regulation required that signs include small case letters, specifically prohibiting all-caps.

My third sentence said they used crappy signs so I'm not sure why you're asking the question again. And I already agreed on your basic point on durability.

Bethlehem Native said...

Reminds me of when Bethlehem decided to replace their old black and white painted cast iron (I think that was the material, as it was heavy and rusted) with the cheap green signs. I miss the old ones, as they were fairly unique. The only other place where I've ever seen that type of sign was Bath, NY.

Anonymous said...

Great post. May the signs serve as a metaphor for the current arena project. I suspect the outcomes will be similar.

AuH20 said...

A 'federal mandate' about street signs, yet liberals said the FEDERAL Supreme Court had no business enforcing the constitutional priciple of 'one man/one vote in Bush v Gore. Hypocrites all!

John P. Chapkovich said...

I once owned a building in the Old Allentown district and I had a tenant at a next door parking lot that would hit my house because of the lack of bump stops on the parking spaces and I also had an issue with the water runoff from the neighbor undermining my property. For the 5 years I owned that property, I tried to get something done with it. No one at City Hall cared. The response was and I quote "What do you want me to do about it?". When the stucco on the side of my building collapsed and the fire department had to be called, do you think they cared then? They tried to hammer me with whatever they could. They even went as far, until Lehigh County court agreed with me, that my building was structurally deficient. I had a structural engineer at my building within 3 days to do an inspection but the City wanted to hammer me because of the mentioning in the engineer's report of possible foundation undermining due to the neighboring property. What I find funny is that when I wanted to fix the building I had to go through permits and HARB and all that (not complaining). The new owner just hired someone to do it and nothing was ever done. Matter of fact, they called me 2 months after they were in court and I showed them that I sold my building.

Also, of note, is how the Redevelopment Authority is buying properties in the District as well. I'm sure it is to deconvert them but how long will that take? They as of right now, own 3 properties just on the 300 block of N 8th St. 329, 343, and 345. The City has owned 343 since 2004. The considered this property blighted and went after the old owner, I believe even seeking eminent domain. The only things that have been done on this property is to remove the front porch roof and strip off the stonekote that is not allowed within the Historic District.

How much money have they spent just in the Historic Districts on property acquisition? I remember posts on this blog regarding the Landlord Hall of Shame in which it was reported that the City paid gross amounts of money for properties they themselves deemed unfit within the Historic District.

Just something to ponder...

michael molovinsky said...

note to redd. this blog publishes comments about poor decisions, not accusation of criminal wrongdoing, signed with a pen name

Anonymous said...

All is a poor decision with the king and his court jesters! The blatent theft of money from the suburbs told us all they are just a pack of theives raping and pilliaging allentowns public of big brothers public funds as well as assets.

When will the willow be planted?