Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Operation Save a Life

Monday, April 19th, 2010

WFMZ-TV, 69 News has teamed up with fire departments to provide free smoke detectors to those in the community most in need. There are a limited number of detectors available, and we will not be able to serve everyone who applies. If you are chosen to receive smoke detectors, your fire department will contact you directly to make an appointment to come to your home. The fire department will install the detectors in your home for you.

More info

Graffiti and Neighborhood Health

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I stopped over at Friendship Park this morning to check out the condition of the play equipment and it’s pretty much covered with graffiti. Fairview Park only has 1 small thing to cleanup. I saw a few stop signs that need some cleaning as well.

If you see graffiti happening, get the camera, get the videocamera and call the police. These people are taking significant money out of your pocket in the form of the value of your house. According to the National Association of Realtors, property located within a community where there is graffiti will lose 15 percent of its value. Say your house is worth $180,000. That’s like somebody breaking down your door and taking $27,000.00 from you. If the graffiti is profane or hateful, the property owner can expect to lose up to 25 percent of the home’s value. That’s a $45,000 robbery.

This is not a victimless crime. Homeowners are the victims here. It’s spring, it’s the time when for sale signs go up and potential new neighbors are cruising the neighborhood. Are they going to pass when they see graffiti on stop signs? Are they going to look elsewhere when they stop to check out the neighborhood playground and see that filth? Probably.

So what’s going to happen to that house for sale? It’s going to sell for less. What happens when you need to move to take that new job or you are expecting another baby and need more space and that house becomes the comp on which the value of your house is determined? It’s going to come out of your pocket.

Be on the lookout for graffiti. Ideally they get caught and prosecuted. At least we can clean it up quickly because graffiti spreads like a rash. Trash, broken windows and abandoned cars are next. Stop graffiti in it’s tracks before it’s too late for your property value.

Skateplaza – Pepsi Refresh Project – Vote!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010


We finished in the top 100 for the Pepsi Refresh Project in March, which means our application for the $250,000 grant for the Bethlehem Skateplaza with the Pepsi Refresh Project IS STILL ACTIVE!!!! Votes do not carry over and whoever receives the most votes this month is awarded the money for April.

Starting April 1, the public can cast their vote for this project once a day, every day, through the month of April. It is important that we receive as many votes as possible to ensure that we are awarded the grant! If you have not yet registered, the instructions are below.

It is Easy to vote.

1. Go to: http://www.refresheverything.com/bethlehemskateplaza

2. Click “Sign In” along the bottom of the page by using your Facebook Account or by creating a Pepsi user name. To create a new account, enter your email address, and click no, “I’m new here”, and follow the instructions to register your email. You can vote once per email registered per day.

3. Once signed in, click “Vote for this Idea” on the right hand side of the webpage.

4. Spread the word to all your friends, coworkers, family via Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, email, etc. to vote for the project

5. REMEMBER TO VOTE EVERYDAY!!!!

Modest Proposals for a More Walkable Downtown

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

In 2009, Jeff Speck, the City’s consultant on walkability and other related planning issues, developed the attached report based on the conviction that a successful city is one in which people choose to walk. If people are not fully comfortable using the City as a pedestrian, then the City will never provide the high quality of life that is now demanded in our communities.

Bethlehem recognizes the importance of walkability in the core urban areas of the City and has been developing programs and working with the public to address pedestrian issues for years. The Citizen’s Traffic Advisory Committee (CTAC) manages pedestrian safety and education programs such as the ongoing education programs with students at Liberty High and other schools, pedestrian stings and bike safety programs. Through Elm Street and other programs the City has ongoing programs to funds upgrades to crosswalks and installation of shared lane markings for bicyclists where warranted. However, since walkability is such an important issue, it is clear that we can always do more. Therefore, Bethlehem contracted with Jeff Speck in 2009 to visit Bethlehem and complete a Walkability Study of the core downtown areas of the City.

Mr. Speck visited the City in May 2009. His report notes that, unlike many American cities, Bethlehem is blessed with a wide range of uses in its downtown. It contains a large number and variety of housing units within walking distance of retail and entertainment. He also notes that Bethlehem is blessed with a tight network of many streets and is home to some of the most beautiful tree-lines streets in America.

But, of course, we all recognize that there is always still more work to be done. Mr. Speck’s report, The City Livable: Modest Proposals for a More Walkable Downtown, is attached to this website. In addition he compiled a list of “Walkability Next Steps” or action items that can be pursued to begin implementation of the recommendations in the overall Walkability Plan. The action items are listed below and are organized by those items that have already been completed or are significantly underway since the completion of the Plan, those items that are already ongoing programs in the City, short term items and long term items.

Completed Items

1. Pursue improving the “plaza” at New and Broad.

2. Stripe parallel parking into the eastern span of the Broad Street Bridge.

3. Redesign the south end of Main Street and its intersecting roads to a less strictly automotive geometry, without widening the roadway.

Items the City already does on an ongoing basis or has already been initiated.

4. Survey all missing crosswalk markings in downtown and schedule their painting.

5. Study all opportunities for the introduction of bike lanes and sharrows into street striping.

6. Design the introduction of a median and bike lanes on Broad west of 4th, and submit to a traffic engineer for review.

Short term items.

7. Reintroduce parallel parking to the south side of Elizabeth Street.

8. Pursue a façade improvement grant for the Eyesore on Adams Street.

9. Reconfigure the northern entrance to the Fahy Bridge, first by proposing a right angle intersection to DOT, and in any case introducing proper crosswalks and a Stop on right turns.

10. Reconfigure the southern entrance to the Fahy Bridge to include a speed-hump crosswalk and a mandatory Stop in front of it.

11. Study all left-hand-turn lanes in the downtown area for possible elimination or shortening, and make a proposal that can be reviewed by a traffic engineer for implementation.

12. Retime all lights that have dedicated walk cycles back to a conventional timing regime (e.g. Main and Broad)*

13. Stripe one side of angle parking into several blocks of New Street.

Long term items

14. Study the physical potential for stairs up to City Hall Plaza, and investigate organizing and funding a competition for their design.

15. Pursue land acquisition, trades, or eminent domain solutions to acquiring the front 60’ only of the church parking lots at 4th & Pierce and North & Garrison.

16. On over-wide streets serving multi-family housing, add one side of angle parking to slow traffic. Survey property owners on other over-wide streets with a carefully worded questionnaire regarding their support for replacing excess pavement with green open space and trees.

17. Study the delay of the parking structure at 3rd and Pierce, and/or its replacement by a structure in the greenway west of Polk, which allows for the elimination of surface parking lots in the greenway.

18. Charrette with property owners the creation of an as-of-right plan for properties on the north side of 3rd, taking advantage of a new parking structure in the greenway

19. Relocate the front entrance of City Hall back to the Plaza.

The conclusion of the Walkability Plan notes that the report contains many specific recommendations for action by the City, business community, Public institutions and citizens of Bethlehem. Some are easily achieved, some are harder. Some are cheap, some expensive. Some, like improving access to the Fahy Bridge, have a limited cost but require the will to negotiate with a significant partner like Penn DOT. This Plan is not about spending more money, but spending money in a prioritized way. Bethlehem will continue to invest in pedestrian facilities, street improvements, parking structures, and even in the development of key private parcels. This report and these action items help the City to direct these investments to make the City more walkable, not less.

Walkability Study

I have a Time Machine!

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Check out these great shots from the past from Beyond Steel.

Did you know the current Broad Street Bridge is not the first bridge over the Monocacy? Check this out!

I guess the West Side grew and needed more. How’s this for a replacement?

How about this at 4th Avenue? Did you know the current police substation was the Eagle Hotel?

How about this shot looking west down West Broad Street from 5th Avenue?

Vote for Skateplaza NOW!

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Google Fiber!

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Wow, how would Google 1Gig Fiber to the Home reshape Bethlehem?

First thing that came to mind was Wall Street West. We could be the real-time backup center for the center of the financial markets in the US. Imagine what that would do for jobs here in the Lehigh Valley. Just need the fast fiber connection to NY. Add high speed rail while we are laying that fiber please! High speed rail would also make it much easier for people to live here and work in NY.

We have 2 great hospitals here in Bethlehem. Imagine robotic surgery being performed here by a doctor across the world, or doctor’s here doing remote operations/diagnosis. Lehigh University could be a spark for all sorts of research and development. I’m sure LVIP and BethWorks have space for those kind of companies.

Having GB service would reverse the brain drain and make Bethlehem a magnet for the creative. Streaming concerts and performances, video data warehousing – Netflix on steroids without the post office! (I love Netflix but let’s face it, it’s moving to a streaming model eventually). How about 3D animation for Hollywood movies. Dreamworks, hello? Bethlehem’s calling on line 1!

Where great high paying jobs go, there tends to be great lifestyle or sometimes where there is great lifestyle, jobs follow. We benefit from a great arts, cultural and soon to be music scene and we benefit from proximity to everything. If Google came to town, ALOT of people would want to be based here.

I site Ogden UT as an example. Their asset? Proximity to the greatest snow on Earth! They have a smart mayor…he recruited ski and snowsport companies to be based there. Ogden’s got it going on. Bethlehem could be the center of all things centering on data.

Years ago, Bethlehem was a national security site with Bethlehem Steel. Bethlehem was on the radar of foreign powers for the strategic asset of Bethlehem Steel. Well, now data rules and Bethlehem could be the place where data (and the brainiacs that make data magical) lives and again become a strategic asset.

Google Fiber is the kind of Fiber I’d like in my diet please! What would you do with that kind of fiber in your diet?