Sands pushes for a casino in New York City (10)

(10th in a series of posts on Wind Creek Bethlehem)

John Marquette is a retired librarian/archivist, author, historian, and a resident of Bethlehem. His current project is focused on the restoration of the interior of the Archibald Johnston Mansion in Housenick Park. 


Did you see this morning’s paper? When Paterson is successful (not if!), this will be the end of the fifty buses a day to our casino, and a huge drop in revenue.

David Klepper, “Sands brings big hitter to lobby for NYC casino.”

Former New York Gov. David Paterson is joining Las Vegas Sands Corp. to lead the casino and resort developer’s push for a casino in New York City. Voters have already authorized up to three casinos for the nation’s largest city, but state law says they can’t be approved until 2023 at the earliest. Paterson, who is joining Sands as a senior vice president, said there’s no reason to wait, and that lawmakers should lift the moratorium next year. Sands just recently sold its Bethlehem casino. “Is it going to happen in 2023 or 2020? Why not start three years earlier?” he said. “This is really a tremendous opportunity to create jobs in New York.”

What plans does Wind Creek/Poarch Band have in place to really revitalize the Steel property before we lose the NY gamers to a brand name they know and love?

If we didn’t like the amount from the sale of the Sands to Wind Creek, we are not going to be happy with having to depend on visitors from the Lehigh Valley and west Jersey.


Gadfly’s walkability study (28)

(28th in a series of posts on Walkability and Bikeability)
(also 2nd in a series about sharing your reading)

Followers might have picked up from a reference here and there recently that Gadfly is reading — slowly — Jeff Speck’s Walkable City (2012). Speck did a study in Bethlehem previous to the book, and our city and Mayor Callahan are mentioned several times in it.

Gadfly was intrigued by Speck’s reference to the website — Walk Score — that calculates neighborhood walkability.

Bethlehem has a walk score now of 55/100, not all that great, putting us in the “somewhat walkable” category.

Gadfly is not sure that we should put any stock in that score/label. Mr. Wu, who led the Northside 2027 project consultants, told him the site is not much regarded any more.

But it was the idea of credibly rating/grading a town’s walkability that Gadfly found quite provocative. Really? How would one do that? So inventive. And so useful, if only in a very general way.

The following caught his attention too.

Speck calls the automobile the single greatest contributor to our total carbon footprint and talks about a national movement back from suburban sprawl into cities. He almost goes as far as saying “location, location” is as important in the carbon emissions battle as it is in real estate sales.

“Location trumps building design.”

“The most green home (with Prius) in sprawl still loses out to the least green home in a walkable neighborhood.”

Speck’s idea is that if you have to drive into the sprawling suburbs to a sophisticatedly designed energy-efficient house, you are still losing the battle, not helping the cause.


Well, anyway, somewhere in thinking about these two Speck matters, Gadfly got the idea of trying to get the measure of the walkability of his neighborhood and his own carbon footprint in this respect.

For convenience sake, imagine the Gadflys living at the Moravian Zinzendorf statue at Main and Elizabeth.

Now here — using Google map numbers for mileage and walking time — is an inventory of Gadfly walkability.

Work (before retirement):

Lehigh University, 2.1 mi., 44 mins.


LANTA stop, New and Elizabeth, .2 mi., 4 mins.


LVIA,  3311 Airport Rd., 3.7 mi, 47 mins.

Heavy-duty shopping (though PeaPod delivery is now our choice):

Weiss Market Westgate Mall, 1.5 mi., 32 mins.

Light shopping:

Wawa, 1584 8th Ave., 1 mi., 21 mins.

Eat out/dinner/fancy:

Downtown Northside, 1 mi., 20 mins.

Eat out/dinner-breakfast/diner-style:

Rudy’s, 1406 Center, .3 mi., 6 mins.

Eat out/lunch:

Carl’s or Fratelli’s, New and Elizabeth, .2 mi., 4 mins.


Dunkin’ Doughnuts, Elizabeth and Linden, 1301 Linden, .6 mi., 12 mins.

Neighborhood bar:

Roosevelt’s, 21 E. Elizabeth, .2 mi., 4 mins.

Car service:

Ike’s Shell, 1310 Center St, .3 mi., 6 mins.

Dry Cleaners:

Bethlehem Star Cleaners, 1364 Linden St., .6 mi., 12 mins.

City Hall:

10 E. Church St., 1 mi., 22 mins.


Bethlehem Area Public Library, 11 W. Church St., 1 mi., 22 mins.


ArtsQuest, 101 Founders Way, 2.2 mi, 45 mins.

Physical exercise/recreation/biking:

Monocacy Way, Illick’s Mill, 1.2 mi., 26 mins.

Sand Island/D&L Trail, 1.4 mi., 28 mins.

Park (kid’s/grandkids):

Heimple Park, Atwood and Memorial, .7 mi., 14 mins.

Elementary school:

William Penn, 1002 Main St., .4 mi., 7 mins.

Middle School:

Northeast, 1170 Fernwood St., 1.2 mi., 24 mins.

High School:

Liberty, 1115 Linden St., .9 mi., 19 mins.


Lehigh Valley Friends, 4116 Bath Pike, 3 mi., 1 hr.


St. Luke’s, 801 Ostrum, 2.1, 45 mins.

Muhlenberg, 2545 Schoenersville Rd., 2.3 mi., 47 mins.


Family, 3445 High Point Blvd, 3.1 mi., 1 hr-5 mins.

Specialist, 1469 8th Ave., 1.1 mi, 23 mins.

Dentist, 4887 Hanoverville Rd., 4.7 mi., 1hr-36 mins.

Eye, 800 Eaton Ave., .8 mi., 18 mins.

Gadfly would rate his walkability pretty good. A good many of his contact points are walkable. And he is 4 mins. from a bus stop that will get him to important farther flung locations.

The keystone to his walkability was being able to walk to work, which he did (and bus), for almost 50 years. That enabled him to be a one-car family all those years. He has never owned two cars. He joked about being the last one-car family in North America.

Unfortunately, close walkable destinations west — like to Wawa and the eye and heart doctors — are hampered by lack of sidewalks on Elizabeth Ave. down the Paint Mill hill and up Schoenersville. Boo!

Unfortunately, his family doctor and dentist  — who were just .2 mi away — heard the siren call of Sprawl and are not even reachable now by bus. He should fix their wagons by changing practices.

This is an interesting exercise. Gadfly recommends trying it.

But the personal insight is that though he is positioned pretty well for walkability, Gadfly doesn’t always take advantage (and it is an advantage: health, money, climate action benefit, etc.).

Gadfly is going to try to put even more walking in his life.

Gadfly invites you to share a few clips of your reading  — with or without comment — or a few thoughts from your reading pertinent to the Gadfly project of the good conversation about Bethlehem that builds community.

Sharing your reading: the walkable city (1)

(1st in a series of posts on sharing your reading)

from Jeff Speck, Walkable City (courtesy of Tony Hanna)

“Walkability is both an end and a means, as well as a measure. While the physical and social rewards of walking are many, walkability is perhaps most useful as it contributes to urban vitality and most meaningful as an indicator of that vitality. . . . Get walkability right and so much of the rest will follow.”

‘The pedestrian is an extremely fragile species, the canary in the coal mine of urban livability.”

“If they are to function properly, cities need to be planned by generalists.”

“What used to be white flight to the suburbs is turning into ‘bright flight’ to the cities.”

“The automobile is not only the single greatest contributor to our total carbon footprint but also a reliable predictor of that total.”

“We are a destructive species, and if you love nature, stay away from it. The best means of protecting the environment is to live in the heart of the city.”

“In most of our nation, the car is no longer an instrument of freedom, but rather a bulky, expensive, and dangerous prosthetic device, a prerequisite to viable citizenship.”

Gadfly invites you to share a few clips of your reading  — with or without comment — pertinent to the Gadfly project of conversation about Bethlehem.

Gadfly’s tail on the trail report

(Latest in a series of posts on Walkability and Bikeability)

Are you keeping fit?

After a poor start in May, Gadfly stepped it up in June, and is now on pace to double the Tail on the Trail 165-mile challenge. Just as he planned.

Been taking advantage of some beautiful weather. Mainly on the Delaware & Lehigh Trail. And mainly heading Allentown-way.

Hoping to live to see a junction bridge where he can cross the river.

Not too late to start if you aren’t in.

Tail on the Trail

Tail 1


Tail 3

Speeches and — Yes! — dancing at the Walk/Roll block party at Broad and New (27)

(27th in a series of posts on Walkability and Bikeability)

(As you listen to the speeches, you can’t help but note the angry growls of car and truck traffic surrounding and menacing the enclave of walkers and bikers!)

“For many, many years after the car was invented, we have built communities
for the car and not for people.”
Becky Bradley

“If you build more roads, you’ll get more cars. You’re not really solving the problem.”
Phillips Armstrong

“We’re trying to create a movement here.”
Steve Repasch

“A successful city is one in which people choose to walk.”
Bob Donchez

“We look forward to helping all of you get to where you need to go.”
Owen O’Neil

“We have work to do . . . to bring humanity back to transportation.”
Scott Slingerland

“If you make it accessible, everybody will come.”
Greg Bott

“To me, my bike is freedom.”
Eric, Community Bike Works intern

“We get to dance in the streets today.”
Becky Bradley


Morning Call photo

Some people “we” know were among the dancers!

Tom Shortell, “Bethlehem hosts dance party in traffic to promote pedestrian awareness.” June 12, 2019.

  • Normally, partying in open traffic is the type of behavior municipal planners, safety officials and transportation advocates frown upon. But a host of local government and nonprofit entities threw the dance party at New and Broad streets to promote Walk/Roll LV, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s soon-to-be released study on alternative transportation in the Lehigh Valley.
  • As the Lehigh Valley grows and develops, its aging infrastructure has struggled to keep up with the growing number and sizes of vehicles. The region’s transportation funding from state and federal governments is only enough to address about half of the needs across the region’s highways and bridges as it is, and that figure will likely get worse as more people and warehouses come into the region.
  • In an effort to alleviate that strain, the Planning Commission is advocating for more investment in bike trails, sidewalks, nature trails and public transportation. The goal is to ease congestion by making it easier for residents to bike or walk to work or go shopping.
  • While the study is nearing completion, there is still time to provide comments on the Lehigh Valley’s sidewalk and trail connections. Interested participants can go online to or attend the next Walk/Roll LV working group meeting at 3 p.m. June 26 at the America On Wheels Museum at 5 N. Front St., Allentown.

Gadfly walked the 1.1 miles to the party. Wouldn’t dare drive to an event like this!

Walking the Talk! (26)

(26th in a series of posts on Walkability and Bikeability)

Such a beautiful day! Did you do some exercise? Were you walkers and bikers taking advantage?

The goal for lots of Gadfly followers is a Bethlehem walker- and biker-friendly.

We can’t just talk the talk. That goal can’t just be political gabble.

So take a look at this — June 12, 3:30 PM, Broad and New. Party time!

Donchez walk

And how many of you are Tail on the Trailers? 165 miles in 6 months. May 1 – Oct 31. About a mile a day. About 30 miles/month. Can be done anywhere.

Gadfly plans to double the challenge — 330 miles. But he lost two weeks in May because of a couple family obligations. So he’s behind now. Only 42 miles instead of about 60 in May.

Tail 2

“Who goes with me?” as the great Walt Whitman ended one of his most powerful poems.