Latest in a series of posts about Lehigh University and the Southside
Dana Grubb is a lifelong resident of the City of Bethlehem who worked 27 years for the City of Bethlehem in the department of community and economic development, as sealer of weights and measures, housing rehabilitation finance specialist, grants administrator, acting director of community and economic development, and deputy director of community development.
As you know, I also attended [the open meeting on closing Packer Ave. January 23], and I think it’s important to recognize that 4 Councilmembers (Van Wirt, Negron, Crampsie-Smith, and Colon) were also in attendance along with several city administrators and interim parking authority executive director Steve Fenstrom. This is not the first time that Lehigh has pitched the idea of closing this section of Packer Avenue, and I can remember former Bethlehem Deputy Fire Commissioner Gene Novak adamantly opposing this probably 20 years ago. My observations are that Lehigh University’s immediate desire is not being dealt with as comprehensibly as is necessary; Broughal Middle School student pedestrian safety is critical to this ever advancing; the BPA’s loss of 60+ metered spaces means $141,000 loss in revenue for an agency that relies on system-wide revenue to support its parking garage expansion projects; there does not appear to be any concern about the need to close this from Lehigh Students; little mention of less intrusive traffic calming measures took place; there was a shortage of base line accident (vehicular and pedestrian) data; and historically the Southside community is mistrustful of Lehigh University’s motives. At initial and face value, this appears to be an uphill proposal, and it is my belief that the community’s concerns should carry the most weight.