Lehigh Valley Planning Events
Profile + Trends
Lehigh Valley Return on Environment
ONE LEHIGH VALLEY
Regional Housing Plan
Climate + Energy Element
Municipal Officials Guide
Traffic Trends Report
Traffic Trends Report
for selected Lehigh Valley Locations
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) annually conducts approximately 100 traffic counts throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties under a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Statewide, 8,000 traffic counts are performed annually. The counts are useful in monitoring traffic flows, determining traffic background growth rates, calibrating the regional travel demand forecasting model, projecting future traffic volumes, determining road design, allocating Federal funds, determining priorities for improvement projects, assessing air quality impacts, and maintaining congestion management systems. In addition, commercial realtors and developers utilize the data for marketing properties.
Model Floodplain Regulations
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission released updated model floodplain regulations in March. The guide and model regulations was funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) through the Delaware and Lehigh National Corridor. The new model regulation is timely in advance of Northampton County communities receiving new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) this summer which may require each community to change their floodplain management ordinances. The current model regulations were written by the LVPC using the policies of the 2005 Regional Comprehensive Plan, the 2013 Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, the updated 2012 DCED floodplain provisions and the 2013 NFIP Community Rating System Coordinator’s Manual as guides.
Traffic Safety Plan for the Lehigh Valley
Safe Driving Saves Lives
The new update to the traffic safety plan highlights trends, goals, high crash study areas, and high crash intersections in the Lehigh Valley. It is created to be used as a resource for municipalities and a plan here at LVPC. The plan highlights significant crash types in the Lehigh Valley and compares them to goals set in Pennsylvania's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). It also identifies high priority study areas and intersections from an in-house analysis that will be used as candidates for future projects here at the LVPC. This was created with the use of PennDOT's 2008-2012 crash databases.
Annual Subdivision and Building Activity
The Annual Subdivision Activity and Building Report was released on March 28, 2014. The LVPC reviews subdivision and land development plans from Lehigh Valley municipalities relative to the policies of the Comprehensive Plan The Lehigh Valley ... 2030. Since 1972, the subdivision activity report has been updated annually to provide an overview of development activity during the year.
In 2013, there was a modest rebound in subdivision activity in the Lehigh Valley over recent years. The combination of development spurred in the City of Allentown by the Neighborhood Improvement Zone and an improving unemployment rate (annual 8.7% in 2012, annual 7.0% in 2013) may generally explain the increase in regional subdivision activity. Unlike the previous decade where single family homes were being proposed in great numbers, the recent trend of more apartments and assisted living units being proposed by developers continued in 2013.
Non-residential development saw a substantial increase in 2013 with a nearly 7.5 million square feet, a 288% increase over 2012, approved by local municipalities for warehouses, office space and retail development.
Graph: Comparison of Proposed Single Family Dwellings and Apartments by Year, Regional Unemployment Rate and Annual Average Mortgage Rate, Lehigh and Northampton Counties 1984-2013 PDF
Graph: Comparison of Regional Unemployment to Subdivision Activity 1973-2013 PDF
Home Buying during Economic Uncertainty
Housing Sales in the Lehigh Valley, PA 2008-2012
Owning a home is considered a part of the American Dream. What happens to this dream when the national economy is reeling from uncertainty on Wall Street and other financial markets? Housing sales data is important data in analyzing housing demand and can provide a clear picture about the health of the housing market and to a lesser degree, the regional economy from year to year. This report provides a local analysis of housing sales from 2008 – 2012 at the regional, county, municipal and school district level.
Lehigh Valley Energy Profile
Energy powers our daily lives from heating and cooling our homes and offices to our modes of transportation. Pricing and availability go hand and hand with energy and its consumption. In order to make practical decisions about energy consumption and conservation an existing baseline must be established. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s staff developed an information packet consisting of baseline energy data on the state and region. The packet was developed to assist the LVPC’s Environment Committee craft goals, policies and strategies for the energy element of the Lehigh Valley Comprehensive Plan. The committee believes the information contained in the packet such as: Energy Sources, Energy Pricing, House Heating Fuel for Occupied Units and Heat Calculator are timely for the discussion on powering the valley for the future.
Natural Heritage Inventory
The Lehigh Valley has many important natural areas worthy of protection, such as rare plants, threatened and endangered animal species, and high quality natural habitats. It is areas such as these that provide the hubs and nodes of the Lehigh Valley greenways network. The LVPC contracted with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program) to complete a study titled Natural Heritage Inventory of Lehigh and Northampton Counties Update 2013. This document was an update to the 2005 report (the original study was completed in 1999) and identifies the outstanding floral and faunal features in the Lehigh Valley. The project was financed in part by a Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Program grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.
Lehigh Valley Trails Inventory
This 2013 update, in addition to incorporating updated trail information, includes two new components: identifying priority trail gaps and providing guidelines to designing safe road crossings for trails. These two new components are part of a statewide effort by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to help organizations and municipalities to implement trail initiatives. There is a lot of interest in trails in the Lehigh Valley, and hopefully this compilation of current trail efforts will provide municipalities, counties, and conservation partners a tool in advancing the development of the Lehigh Valley trail network.
For a larger version of the map and table (24 x 36), please contact our office to purchase for $10.00, plus tax and shipping.
Pipeline Planning to Reduce Risks
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Berks County Planning Commission, and Bucks County Planning Commission and Albright College’s Center for Excellence in Local Government worked with the League of Women Voters to provide pipeline planning information to our communities at Cedar Crest College in late September 2014.
As follow-up, the League of Women Voters has prepared a resource reference document the LVPC Environment Committee would like to share with you.
The LVPC is developing a resource center to provide accurate, objective information and support to the region’s municipalities as pipelines become a regular part of our lexicon.
Please visit our Pipeline Resource Center for more information.
2015 Meeting Schedules
2015 Meeting schedules are as follows:
Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) – meets on the last Thursday of every month at 7:00 PM. Exceptions include November and December.
Executive Committee - meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 4:00 PM, except April and September.
Comprehensive Planning Committee – meets on the Tuesday immediately preceding LVPC meeting dates at 12:00 PM, except September.
Environment Committee – meets on the Tuesday immediately preceding LVPC meeting dates at 11:00 AM, except September.
Transportation Committee – meets on the Thursday immediately preceding LVPC meeting dates at 5:00 PM.
Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS)
Technical Committee - Meets on the last Monday of every month at 9:00 AM. Except May and December.
Coordinating Committee- Meets on the first Wednesday, bi-monthly, starting in February at 10:00 AM.
WDIY Lehigh Valley Discourse
Host Sally Handlon welcomed guest Becky Bradley, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, for a discussion on the Lehigh Valley: Live, Work and Play: Part 2 -- An update of the regional planning efforts that have occurred in 2014.
(Original air-date 11/20/2014)
An Inaugural Celebration of Excellence in Planning
Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) revealed the names of Winners and Honorees for the Inaugural Celebration of Excellence in Planning at Lehigh University, Iacocca Hall on Thursday, October 23, 2014. The event held a dual purpose: in addition to announcing the Winners and Honorees, LVPC also released 1LV, the sustainability report on a three-year, fourteen regional partnership. A $3.4 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made this report possible.
About the Awards
For the 2014 Lehigh Valley Awards, a diverse panel of judges selected a winner from among the candidates in each category. The LVPC recognized these winners at the Ceremony on October 23 at Iacocca Hall, Lehigh University.
Slideshows of Winners and Honorees are available on the LVPC website via this link.
The Community of Distinction award honors the City of Bethlehem for plans and policies that most consistently support efficient and sustainable development, land management and resourcefulness. LVPC will work with Bethlehem to install signs that acknowledge this prestigious achievement at the primary gateways to the city.
Transportation Alternatives Program Applications Approved
PennDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was recently completed as the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS) approved nine new projects for funding in June. The TAP program is a federal cost reimbursement program, administered by PennDOT, which provides funding for the preservation and conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails, construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists, and historic preservation of transportation facilities. The TAP program was created under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). “Similar programs of this nature have been in existence since the early 1990s and have provided nearly $20 million in funding since their inception”, according to Michael Donchez, Senior Transportation Planner with the LVPC. These types of programs previously awarded funding in 1992, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2010.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission worked jointly with PennDOT District 5 and their transportation enhancement consultant to screen and evaluate the 22 applications totaling $5,426,876 in requested funds. The approved applications total $1,326,190. The construction phase of these projects will be paid 100% using federal funds.
Business Matters- FedEx Jobs vs. NIMBY Syndrome- What wins?
Original Airdate: 3/31/14 | Guests: Bob Heimbecker - Hanover Township Council & Concerned Citizen, Robert Nappa - East Allen Resident, Don Cunningham - Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Becky Bradley - Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
Will Allentown rebirth end the suburbs?
Cities will continue to attract jobs, businesses and additional investments in the years to come as lifestyles and demographics continue to evolve,