Sep 13, 2013

Ungrateful Bastards Of The West End Theater District

The West End Theater District just had their street-scape redone, but those ungrateful bastards are now complaining about the overflowing storm sewer pipes. Just given the run around by City Officials, they may find that a real solution to their problem isn't in the cards. Richard Young, Director of Public Works, told the wet, angry crowd that it may take a year just to study the problem; That of course is nonsense, after 80 years the city is well aware of the problem. Although the Morning Call article identified Andrew Street as the problem, the pipe under Early Street, the other alley between Liberty and Allen, is also undersized. On that street, the manhole covers between 18th and 19th Streets overflow even during a moderate rainfall. The neighborhood and pipes were constructed around 1930, my photograph   (click on photo to enlarge) from the late 1920's reveals no houses at that time. I'm afraid that I even have worse news for my friends in the District; Allentown and the surrounding municipalities, rather than make costly improvements to their pipe systems, have been instead insisting that property owners remove their basement floor drains. The floor drains were installed as a safety net, if an inside pipe broke, or something overflowed. Although collectively they contribute only a minuscule amount toward the problem, government would rather have thousands of homeowners spend their money and compromise their safety system, rather than correct the real problem, undersized pipes. Pawlowski and the City recently took credit for the new sidewalks on 19th Street, now let them do a project decades overdue, and fix the storm sewers.

UPDATE: This morning I spoke to a former employee of the engineering department, who confirmed that, indeed, the city has known about this problem for decades.  This city's administrators like the ribbon cutting, photo opportunity projects, not the nuts and bolts of maintenance.


Anonymous said...

WE have a Hockey Arena nothing else is a concern for the administration

LVCI said...

One of the women we know (who is far from rich) lives near 22nd & Allen and is a flight attendant for a private jet service. Sometimes she's gone for 3 or 4 days trying to make a living. As if ticketing her car weren't bad enough, it was completely totaled. Automobile Insurance paid her $0. Homeowner's $0.

As far as the city recommending flood insurance... they can't get federal insurance since this is not a legally recognized flood zone.

Instead of sending the parking authority and city garbage inspectors there to ticket they should have instead send a couple of street crews and trucks up there to assist them with the cleanup. I realize there is little the city can do about this situation, but one thing they could do is try and work with them instead of against them.

I could be wrong but I'm doubtful the federal and state EPA agencies would allow Allentown to expand their storm drains into Cedar Creek under today's current regulations. Even if Allentown would be allowed, they most likely would have to seize properties to either re-pipe OR more realistically create a drainage culvert similar to L.A.'s concrete box culvert to handle that large an amount of water. I don't see this as something the city can remedy, but they certainly could have assisted taxpaying citizens rather then hitting them up with tickets and fines (kick em' when their down).

Usually when something like this happens the political leader shows up to offer help. NJ Governor Christie showed up yesterday for the fire in Seaside Park. Previously he showed up at all the beaches after hurricane Sandy with all the physical and financial resources he could muster. This mayor wants to be governor and yet couldn't/wouldn't show up only 8 blocks away from his house or for Thursday's meeting. If this is how he'd officiate in Harrisburg surely nobody would accuse him of being Pennsylvania's version of NJ's Gov. Christie who shows up for his constituents in their time of need.

Anonymous said...

For far too long, too many Elites in Allentown's ritzy West End have been playing the Progressive voting game.

At some point, the Elites in Allentown's ritzy West End will have to pay the price of constantly voting for the Progressive Pawlowski.

Donovan is an even more hardcore Tax & Spend Liberal despite the phony Independent label.

Have fun kiddies!


michael molovinsky said...

this morning i spoke to a former employee of the engineering department. the city has known about this problem for decades. this city and it's administrators like the ribbon cutting, photo opportunity projects, not the nuts and bolts of maintaining the city.

Anonymous said...

Truly an example of what's going on in the entire city - the focus is on the creating the perception of improvement, while the city crumbles behind its false facade.

I hope I'm wrong, but the NIZ will fail unless the underlying crime problem is acknowledged and dealt with. Of course that kind of honest assessment is difficult when our Mayor is running for higher office.

Likewise, solving the city's $160 million pension problem with a $600 million water problem may have pushed the issue off of City Hall's books, but will be devastating to Allentown residents. But half the story certainly looks good on a campaign brochure.

Until people like those in the West End District wake up and start holding City Hall and its apologists accountable, no real improvement will come.

LVCI said...

MM Said "..this city and it's administrators like the ribbon cutting, photo opportunity projects.."

I was giving that some thought. I've seen many pictures over the years of the mayors of Allentown at all kinds of events and ribbon cutting ceremonies. Can anyone find a picture of any one of our mayors (past or present) in front of a sinkhole, flood, a failed business, explosion, crime scene or building that collapsed in the background? Seems they avoid those kind of photo-ops like the plague. If someone can find a link to one of those photos I'd sure like to see if there is one out there. Good luck with that.

LVCI said...

RO Said, "At some point, the Elites in Allentown's ritzy West End"

RO is a master at pushing people buttons. "ritzy".. are you kidding me! Except for about the last few blocks before the border with S. Whitehall there's nothing "ritzy" about us. I live in the so-called deep Westend. I worked in a factory nearly all my life and am forced to live on less then 32K a year (with the wife working).

The guy at the corner (along with his relatives) owned a small family run pizza shop and is now retired. The guy aside of me and his wife worked in sewing factories till they all shut down. Now she works as a cleaning lady and he works at the same factory I used to He has two grown boys and a daughter with two young kids. The three of them went to college and they can't find a fulltime job little alone one that pays over $10 an hour.

Two teachers live down the street. Another across the street. There's 32 houses (that we know of) college students rent. Across the street has three kids going to school. He works in a distribution center in Bethlehem then comes home, climbs into a rusted out old ratty 20+ year old ford pickup to cut lawns. I could go on and on, but they are typical... trust me.

This is the kind of statement that gets my goat because it's simply not true and I can assure you that more then half are registered as Republicans. You witness that for yourself when they put up their campaign signs in election years.

This is the kind of BS argument that people like yourself have propagated for years. Granted there's still some old money still left around here (for now). But if you think new wage earners looking to relocate and are earning 100+K a year are going buy into the Westend your kidding yourself. This includes many of those who currently sit on city committees, boards, etc. who live in Upper Saucon, Upper Macungie, Emmaus and elsewhere outside the city limits and are making decisions for those of us who do.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:24, your comment is correct on every count.

the perception and reality of center city will make the NIZ only a "success" before it's completed, that's way pawlowski is campaigning now. he knows those chickens won't hatch.

no appropriate lock box has been created for the funds from LCA

telling the theater district residents that the problem was news to them, and must be "studied for a year", was an insult.

Todd Larmer said...

Michael...nice finding your blog! When I moved back to Allentown in 1979 I lived in the apartment across from the 19th street theatre. in, I think, 1982, there was a very similar flash flood. I lost a car to flood damage. Ironically, "Das Boot" was playing at the movies across the street. So, they have known there was a problem for at least the last 31 years, more than sufficient time to study the problem. Regards, Todd.

Anonymous said...

This is the new and improved transgretional transformation development at work in Allentown pa¿

Human depravity, suffering and degredation= blight=developable land¿

Anonymous said...

I live at 22nd and Allen. 2 cars totaled, finished basement had to be gutted, boxes of personal treasures thrown out, hot water heater damage, 10,000 in repairs, so far. Sewer drain backed up 2 days later, direct result of the storm drains pushing it up, another 2,00 to jack hammer the floor and replace pipes. Next door neighbor's hot water heater is gas and after sitting in in 3 ft of water, almost blew. We were evacuated by the fire department, clean up is overwhelming, stress is unbelievable, but ..............I am an ungrateful bastard! Mary Shimshea

michael molovinsky said...

mary, i hope that you, gail and your neighbors achieve some success with both having the problem corrected to prevent future damage, and getting some compensation. you're miles from a stream and shouldn't be submitted to flood damage from a deficient storm sewer, known to the city for over 25 years.