(22nd in a series of posts on Walkability and Bikeability)
The condition of public infrastructure in Bethlehem is not so good. Our streets, sidewalks, parks, Payrow Plaza, etc. need much work. The questions become, how much will it cost and where does that money come from? And, all of these grants from the federal, state, and county governments, they are also public ‘tax dollars’ so it’s not exactly free money. I was reminded of that often when I was the City of Bethlehem’s grants administrator. A comprehensive approach to allocating limited funds to a myriad of needs is always a challenge for public officials.
Well said, Kate! You are absolutely right. Most of the sidewalks in the City are bad because of the trees that the City planted years ago. These are also the owner’s responsibility and the City can plant another tree in a location where you have one removed (which you have to use their “approved” contractors). The sidewalk in front of my home is raised, but to fix the sidewalk I will need to remove the tree in front of my home, which will cost me $7,000+(not including the cost to replace the sidewalk). Not to mention the damage it will do to my water line and foundation of my home! When I sat in on the Northside 2027 meeting a couple of weeks ago, they talked about adding more trees! WHAT? Who the heck did they survey? The trees are a nuisance (although quite beautiful), but for a middle class homeowner it is way too costly to care for these trees and the damage they do to your sidewalks/homes. Instead of a bridge, why aren’t you helping your homeowners??
I have also noted—and mentioned to city officials & council members—the many major problems with sidewalks. These are, of course, the property owners’ responsibility, but the city has to set sidewalk safety standards and enforce them. (They might want to start with sidewalks on city property!)
The bike symbol on the streets is often called a ‘sharrow’ and signifies both that the lane in question is to be shared by bicycles and motor vehicles and that the bicyclist should occupy the lane and stay away from the danger zone near parked cars.
One thought on “Some replies to Kate (22)”
Might I suggest to Kate that she look into a great local organization, the Lehigh Valley Coalition for Appropriate Transportation (known around these parts as C.A.T.)
They have a lot of resources about bike safety, the use and purpose of sharrows vs. dedicated bike lanes, rules of the road, and so forth. She has questions that I think C.A.T. can answer. (For the record, I would love a pedestrian bridge and think the Lehigh River is a vastly underused and underappreciated resource. It doesn’t seem fair to pit a pedestrian bridge against having safer sidewalks throughout town, I’m not sure the funding would come from the same places at all…but I do think our sidewalks need work.)