Info on converting Linden and Center Sts. to two-way

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027)

Gadfly attended the Committee of the Whole meeting on the 2020-2024 Capital Plan — the kickoff of the budget season — before the Council meeting on Wednesday.

2020-2024 Capital Plan

Mostly routine matters not especially rising to the interest of Gadfly followers, except perhaps this Northside 2027 item on the long-considered conversion of Linden and Center Sts to 2-way, which was expanded on in discussion by Councilpersons Colon and Reynolds as you can see in the short video.

The benefits of the conversions are described as traffic calming, an aid to the businesses there, and increased future development. PennDOT plans are still pretty far out there time-wise, but Councilman Reynolds pointed to the priority of Linden from Fairview to Church and its relatively low cost.

Linden and Center Streets Two Way Conversion

Dating back to when Bethlehem Steel was in operation, Center Street was made oneway  north and Linden Street one-way south between approximately Elizabeth Avenue and the fahy Bridge (New Street). This was to facilitate traffic to and from the Steel Company during peak hours. Since the closure of Bethlehem Steel, the roadways have been left in their one-way configurations and the City will explore the conversion back to two-way traffic with the driving forces being economic impact and traffic calming /accident reductions. A full traffic impact analysis would be conducted to analyze the proposed modifications and recommend timing changes to the signals and/or the installation of additional signals, etc. to support the conversion. Design costs will also incorporate the revisions to all signal permits. Construction costs are anticipated to be high due to the amount of signal work to be completed on both roadways to support two-way traffic. This project has been placed on the Long Range Transportation Plan with funding planned between 2031 and 2045. Penn DOT has programmed $7.2M for this project in the future. We believe the Linden Street portion of the work could be completed for far less and have estimated a 2020 cost of $lM. The conversion of Linden Street is a higher priority for the City and we may complete that project sooner if alternate funding is identified.

Did the City demand independent studies of the synthetic turf safety?

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027 and Neighborhoods)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.


This looks great.

The news article mentions a “pour-in-place surface that’s springy underfoot,” but doesn’t say any more about it. Does anyone know what this is made of? Synthetic turf fields are associated with a number of serious health and safety concerns that do not seem to be considered by the municipalities, schools, and colleges & universities that install them. The new surface may be safer if a child falls, but what happens when it starts to wear or degrade and produce toxic particles from whatever it’s made of?

Did anyone at the City demand independent studies on these questions, or did they accept the claims from the competing vendors?


Friendship Park rededicated under Northside 2027

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027 and Neighborhoods)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Nicole Radzievich, “Always want a tree house? Check out the newest amusement at Bethlehem’s Friendship Park.” Morning Call, July 2, 2019.

Kurt Bresswein, “Bethlehem’s newest playground has a 1st for a city park.”, July 2, 2019.

Friendship Park was rededicated Tuesday, the first step in the Northside 2027 project, whose roots go back four or five years. As Vonnegut says, and as Gadfly loves to quote, “the triumph of anything is a matter of organization.” We see the first fruits of that organization here.

“Our future goals at all of our parks are to promote more green space, benches, and trails for all of our residents to enjoy.” (Recreation Director Jodi Evans)

“This is really what neighborhoods are about. . . . To have a park come back to life like this really attracts middle-class families.” (Mayor Robert Donchez)

“This [Northside 2027] is what a comprehensive approach looks like. It is about playgrounds, it is about recreation, but it’s also about services for the neighborhood, it’s about our neighborhood public achools, it’s about economic development, it’s about walkability. . . . [This playground] needs to stand as an example of what happens when everybody does their little part. (Councilman Willie Reynolds)

“How can a city government build a sense of community? I think it’s by investing in attractive, safe public spaces that bring residents together.”  (Anna Smith, Director, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley)

Gadfly, who always has a ball in the car in case a court needs christening, was chosen to make sure the baskets worked and to provide entertainment. Here he is shown performing his signature “flying ball” trick.

Tip o’ the hat to the City! Good luck, Friendshippers!

Northside 2027 planning phase ends with opening of renovated Friendship Park

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027 and Neighborhoods)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Charles Malinchak, “How Bethlehem envisions bringing life back to its North Side.” Morning Call, June 26, 2019.

Northside 2027

The Northside 2027 final meeting Tuesday night was an open house, people browsing the posters and talking informally with the consultants and the City officials.

Here is the final brochure for the project.

NS 2027 final brochure Spanish

NS 2027 final brochure English

A written final report will come out in the near future with a section on implementation that will outline steps to be taken to act on the plan.

But a first step — the Friendship Park renovation — is just about complete.

Fship park

The ribbon-cutting is Tuesday, July 2, at 2:30.

Your tax dollars at work!

Northside 2027: the final plan is coming!

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027 and Neighborhoods)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Northside 2027

Mark your calendars!

Time & Location

Jun 25, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
William Penn Elementary School, 1002 Main St, Bethlehem, PA 18018, USA

About the Event

Stop by William Penn anytime between 5:30-7:30. The City will be present with plan materials along with several community partners who offer services to this neighbhorhood. Come see the compliation of your suggestions and feedback in the final report and learn about resources to help with healthy homes, food access, housing rehabiliation, youth programs and more.

Northside 2027: Draft Plan Goals and Strategies

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027 and Neighborhoods)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Northside 2027

April 10, 2019 meeting

Gadfly apologizes for the long delay in posting info on this excellent Northside 2027 meeting. The projects feels far along. You will find here a series of goals now, each with several sub-points. It is very interesting reading. Chew on this, and perhaps we’ll come back and look at specific recommendations. What jumps out at you?

The Introduction:

Councilman Reynolds, above, introduces the April 10 meeting of Northside 2027, focusing on the way the developing plan is built on community input , a fact very clear from the presentation that followed.

The presentation:

You can coordinate the slides with the audio and follow the presentation quite well.


2:43/slide 4: October 11 2018 Community Kick-Off

5:03/slide 6: Preliminary Vision Statement

5:33/slide 7: Plan Themes and Priorities Emerged

6:29/slide 8: November 2018 Residential and Commercial Area Tours

7:44/slide 10: Community Meeting #2 and Working Groups

10:07/slide 11: Groups Met Again

10:18/slide12: Community Survey Response

12:50/slide 14: Neighborhood Assets

Foster a Safe and Vibrant Public Realm

13:50/slide 15: Goal 1: prioritize multi-modal safety and connectivity between neighborhood assets

18:36/slide 18: Goal 2: enhance and beautify the public realm to create a sense of space

Foster Economic Vitality

20:34/slide 20: Goal 1: implement physical improvement to the Broad Street commercial corridor

23:40/slide 22: Goal 2: implement physical improvement to the Linden Street commercial corridor

26:15/slide 24: Goal 3: support existing businesses and attract new ones

Support the Housing Market

27:55/slide 25: Goal 1: support home owners and renters

29:40/slide 26: Goal 2: enhance quality of life for all residents

Support Residents through Services, Out-Reach, and Community Development

31:31/slide 28: Goal 1: leverage existing neighborhood assets to expand availability of resources

33:06/slide29: Goal 2: build community cohesion

Building Blocks of a Neighborhood Identity
34:10/slide 30

Neighborhood Constraints and Opportunities
35:10/side 31

38:48: Q&A



Improve Northside neighborhood: make Linden and Center Streets two-way again

Just take the “Connecting Bethlehem” survey, wouldya?

(the latest in a series of posts on Northside 2027 and Neighborhoods)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Bill Scheirer is an economist who grew up in Bethlehem, spent 40 years in DC, and retired here in 2003. He is a life member of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City and was on the Mayor’s Task Force for the City of Bethlehem Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Zoning Map.

Northside 2027 meeting Wednesday April 11, 5:30, William Penn School


On Thursday, October 11, the City of Bethlehem, with their consultants, held a planning meeting in Liberty High School to gather ideas for a vision entitled North Side 2027, defined as the area bounded by Elizabeth Avenue, and Main, Broad, and Maple Streets. One of the announced goals was to create a greater sense of neighborhood identity and unity.

Possibly the most important thing the city can do to improve neighborhood identity and unity is make Linden and Center Streets two-way again. For example, Center Street is one-way northbound from Church Street to Elizabeth Avenue, with two lanes of traffic, plus one lane of parking on each side. At Elizabeth Avenue the left traffic lane must turn left into Elizabeth Avenue, leaving only one lane to continue northbound. There always seems to be one or two or three cars that do not want to get in line to go northbound, so they get in the left lane and drive faster, looking for a spot to cut into the line of cars waiting their turn to go northbound. Some of the cars in the proper lane also increase their speed, to avoid being cut off. This creates almost a wall of traffic splitting the neighborhood in half. When one wishes to cross Center Street on foot, or even in a car, it is necessary to look carefully to the south to make sure that the next pack of cars is not bearing down.

I have been told that it would cost a million dollars to make Center and Linden Streets two-way again. It is difficult to imagine what could cost so much. But if the City is really serious about improving neighborhood identity and unity, it will find a way to do this. Perhaps some grant money will be available, since the goal is a neighborhood more tied together.

This traffic pattern was established to quickly get the steelworkers in and out of the city. I haven’t seen many of those lately.


Just take the “Connecting Bethlehem” survey, wouldya?