Dec 9, 2022

Allentown's $10 Million Dollar Joke

Allentown is embarrassed about the Gateway appearance entering downtown Hamilton Street from the west.  Allentown has a lot to be embarrassed about, but the condition of the sidewalk is the least of its problems.  People are concerned about the lack of people on Hamilton Street, and more so, the character of the ones that are there!

Our city leaders and planners are taking about a new sidewalk and new trees. Over the years I have seen them reconfigure that sidewalk at least half a dozen times. Add trees, cut down trees, wrong trees, right trees, add bricks, remove bricks, and never have those things mattered.  

What's sad is these planners know that it doesn't matter, that it's a joke, yet they still do it.

If the new buildings in the above rendering of the new Gateway sidewalk/tree project look lifeless and nondescript, it is because those new buildings are lifeless and nondescript. If I have offended any of the planners, then we're even.


  1. Maybe the city planners could come up with a plan to elect competent leaders. That would require in infusion of intelligent life into the city and the end of one party rule. In the meantime, planting the wrong trees and designing sidewalks few will walk on, and even less will notice is what consumes their time.

  2. Sadly, some will look at the picture and think it's a beautiful rendering of what could be. As if the lack of "improvements" pictured are the problem on Hamilton.

    If you really want to solve the problems on Hamilton, you need to see them. So let's add some detail to the picture.

    You accurately take notice that the buildings shown are lifeless and nondescript, and that they may be the most realistic portrayal in the drawing. They do nothing to draw visitors to the city and are a monument to the lack of vision from city leaders, planners, and the person who built them.

    But let's sprinkle in some actual reality to the picture. Add a the numerous double parkers and a fair amount of litter accumulated on both the sidewalks and street. Add an illegal drug dispensary, I mean barber shop, to the ground level of some of those buildings. Sprinkle in a few homeless people loitering about the sidewalks, multiple double-parkers in the street, countless potholes and the occasional fading chalk outline and you'll find an accurate picture of what it will look like in a short time. And don't forget to show the Parking Authority workers there to quickly punish those who might be enjoying their visit a little too long.

    Those are the things that need to be addressed, and not just on Hamilton. It's about dealing with what every out-of-town worker or potential visitor sees on their way to Hamilton Street.

    If you correct those problems, people would happily walk on broken cobblestone (if necessary) to visit the city, and non-subsidized business owners will fill in the buildings on their own.

  3. Why would an approach from the west be thought of as a gateway? I suspect that most people entering downtown Allentown are doing it via American Parkway to Linden, or 7th Street from 22, each equally as abysmal. At one time the point of making 7th Street one way south was to ease entering downtown from the northern burbs. Those approaching from the west probably live in the west and would avoid downtown Allentown if at all possible. Truck traffic seems to approach Allentown from 78 onto Lehigh Street, then through a residential neighborhood on Jefferson and Ward Streets before the 15th Street Bridge. There is way too much truck traffic on narrow 15th Street. Even if approaching Allentown for an Arena event a motorist still has to get onto a side street since there is no direct entrance to a parking building from Hamilton Street. Ok, spruce up Hamilton Street, that's fine, but it would not appear to me that you would be solving the problem of a lack of a gateway.

  4. Do the planners have a "gateway" into their homes? A warm inviting home has people entering through the front door, back door, garage door, the side porch because they know they are welcome and safe. They do not need a gateway. Same thing with a city. If it is inviting and safe, people will come, using any street they want.

  5. I suppose a "gateway" coming into the west of the NIZ area of Hamilton street goes part and parcel with all of the other redevelopment of downtown. Reilly and company is busy now on the 900 and 1000 blocks of Hamilton, and there are a lot more old buildings from the 1900s to tear down to put up more office buildings.

    You wrote there is concern about a lack of people downtown. I suppose a reason is there really isn't anywhere for people to go there. Office buildings abound along with large beehive apartment complexes. Unless you live or work there, there is really no reason to go there. During my last visit to Allentown, after driving through downtown once or twice to make sure it was still there, I had other places to see and visit. There wasn't anything of intrest on Hamilton Street any longer.