Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

DRIVERLESS VEHICLES, ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND THE NEED TO BE READY - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

Driverless cars are coming and alternative fuels are coming even sooner, but we can’t forget to invest in the road infrastructure needed to support them.

That was a message from experts Thursday during the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Transportation Summit, titled “The Future of Transportation.”  Before more than 150 people at the Mack Trucks Customer Center, planning, transportation and industry experts said new technologies will bring drastic changes to how we get around, but maintaining the existing road network will be key in making it all happen.

“The technology really does rely on our infrastructure remaining in good condition,” said Roger Cohen, Senior Advisor to Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards. “[Automated vehicle] sensors don’t do well with potholes or faded road striping.”

<<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

COMMUNITY BIKE WORKS KIDS ARE HELPING US PLAN - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

The kids at Community Bike Works in Allentown didn’t let a little rain stop them from celebrating Nation Bike Week. Our ride through Cedar Beach Park got rained out Wednesday, but 11 kids from Community Bike Works met with LVPC staff to tell us their favorite places to ride their bikes and what they’d like to improve about our bike and trail network.

“I really think we should have more ride-sharing programs,” said 14-year-old Nasheera, of Allentown. “Maybe even include those vending machines where you can buy tools to fix your bike, like they have in New York.”

The Coalition for Appropriate Transportation (CAT) joined in during our session at Community Bike Works.

<<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

THANK YOU LTAP GRADUATES - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

More than 60 graduates of the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) courses joined in Friday in the second annual LTAP Recognition Celebration at Canal Park in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

The two-hour event included a free barbecue buffet by Bob-B-Q and an appearance by 40-year consultant/instructor Sam Gregory.

“What you do is really important, and things are changing every year, so there’s always something new to learn,” Gregory said, before ending with a quote from Ben Franklin. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

LTAP classes free and are held every year at the offices of Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. Upcoming courses include Americans with Disabilities on May 22, Salt and Snow Management on August 7 and Road Safety Audit on September 11.

A NEW VISION FOR DOWNTOWN BATH - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

Downtown Bath is the only place in the Lehigh Valley sitting at the intersection of five state roads. With that unique map comes unique opportunities and challenges.

Those roads funnel more than 12,000 vehicles a day past the doorsteps of the Main Street businesses, but they also create parking, pedestrian safety and traffic volume issues.

A Lehigh Valley Planning Commission yearlong study, unveiled Saturday, looks to maximize those opportunities while reducing the issues by recommending a more cohesive parking and traffic plan and accentuating the district’s historic character.

<<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

COMMENT NOW ON $534 MILLION IN SPENDING - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

DRIVERLESS VEHICLES RAISE EXCITEMENT, QUESTIONS - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

If you’d like to weigh in on how $534 million will be spent on transportation projects over the next four years, the time is now.

Two public meetings are scheduled to gather comment on a 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program that funds more than 115 road, bridge, trail, rail and transit projects.

The first came Wednesday, during an hour-long Planning + Pizza session at the 961 Marcon Boulevard, Allentown offices of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.

A second chance comes at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, at the Bethlehem Area Public Library. Anyone who can’t make the meeting can still view the TIP and comment here online.

<<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

Some day on the not-too-distant horizon, fleets of automated vehicles may be shepherding people to work, shopping and daily activities, while driverless trucks make cross-country treks to deliver the growing amount of freight being created by today’s online consumers.

But every new opportunity offered by a coming sea change in how we get around is accompanied by a raft of questions that have no easy answers.

<<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

NEW PLANS TO REMEDY ROUGH RIDE ON ROUTE 33 AND I-78 - May 2018

Matt Assad, Managing Editor

Nearly $14 million in projects to repair three of the Lehigh Valley’s busiest roads will begin this summer, thanks to savings on other projects in the region.

The rough rides along sections of Route 33, Interstate 78 and Easton’s 13th Street interchange were slated for repairs beginning next year, but savings on projects in the current four-year, $458 million Transportation Improvement Program will enable construction for those projects to begin soon.

“These are three projects we had on the radar,” said Michael Rebert, PennDOT District 5-0 Executive. “Everything fell into place and we had some extra money in the fund.”

<<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

  • APRIL 2018

    PA INVESTS IN LEHIGH VALLEY RAILS - April 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Anyone who’s grown used to that telltale whistle bellowing every time a train rumbles through one of the 43 active Lehigh Valley railroad crossings knows that the rail freight industry is alive and well in the region.

    Pennsylvania has decided to invest nearly $4 million to keep it that way, as part of an effort to improve safety and conditions along some of the region’s busiest rail lines.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    LEHIGH VALLEY LANDS FIRST PA FREIGHT SUMMIT - April 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Anyone who needs further evidence that the Lehigh Valley has become a national epicenter for warehousing and logistics should know that Pennsylvania is about to hold its first ever Freight Summit – and it will be here.

    The Eastern Pennsylvania Freight Summit is scheduled for June 21-22 at Lehigh University’s Iacocca Hall.

    The two-day event will start Thursday with a series of panel discussions opened by state Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards and led by freight industry experts to include CBRE Executive Vice President Bill Wolf and Majestic Realty Co. Senior Vice President Ed Konjoyan.

    The second day of the summit will consist of a guided tour of several manufacturing and distribution facilities across the region.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    HOMES SALES UP WHILE MANY FLOCK TO APARTMENTS - April 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Houses are selling again, more people are renting and the cost of new homes are finally starting to rise, according to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s new Housing Market Report.

    An analysis of thousands of housing sales and rental unit data from 2012 through 2016 shows movement in the sale of homes, but the report’s most revealing look may be that the number of renters has been increasing steadily since 2012. Over those five years, the Lehigh Valley gained 6,561 renters, while the number of owner-occupied homes fell by 3,923.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    TIP TOPS $500 MILLION - April 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Route 22 will lead a long list of road projects to be done, 57 bridges will be rehabilitated and more than 100 LANTA buses are to be replaced as part of a four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) unveiled Wednesday before the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS).

    The $534 million plan is a $76 million increase over the current TIP, as some of the region’s busiest roadways and bridges are slated for improvement.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

  • MARCH 2018

    EASTON AND COOPERSBURG GET PENNDOT GRANTS - March 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Pedestrians will find it easier to cross Main Street in Coopersburg and bicyclists will feel more welcome on Easton’s Wood Avenue with help from two PennDOT grants designed to promote multimodal transportation.

    Governor Tom Wolf announced 45 grants last month, including $175,000 to improve Coopersburg’s busy Main Street, and $450,000 to help fund a safety project along a half-mile section of Wood Avenue in Easton.

    “Our multimodal investments support important projects that help residents and local economies,” said Governor Wolf. “We are making possible improvements that will bring significant benefits to these communities.”

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    HELP SHAPE THE FUTURE - March 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Should that patch of farmland or open space in your town be developed for warehouses, homes or just left alone? Should municipal planners spend money on bigger highways or more trails, and how soon should we prepare for driverless cars?

    The future of the Lehigh Valley is being shaped right now, and this is your chance to weigh in.

    The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is distributing a 24-question survey to get public input that can help the LVPC as it writes a new Regional Comprehensive Plan that is designed to guide how the Lehigh Valley should grow in the coming decades.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    ROUTE 145 TO GET SAFETY UPGRADE - March 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    A strip of roadway that is the site of frequent vehicle crashes will soon get $3.5 million in upgrades designed to improve safety.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has awarded the money as part of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) for a project to reduce crashes along Route 145, from Susquehanna Street to Emmaus Avenue in Allentown.

    The nearly one-mile stretch of road passes in front of the Mountainville Shopping Center.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

  • FEBRUARY 2018

    HELP LESSEN THE IMPACT OF THE NEXT DISASTER - February 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    There’s no predicting when the Lehigh Valley will see the kind of damaging floods it saw in 2006, or the punishing winds that Superstorm Sandy brought in 2012, but being prepared requires planning now—and your help is needed.

    The first public meeting to help update the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. February 20, at Pinebrook Family Answers, 402 N. Fulton St., Allentown.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    DRIVERLESS CARS, $130M  AQUARIUMS AND 28,000 WAREHOUSE WORKERS - February 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    The Lehigh Valley economy is growing fast, automated cars are coming sooner than you might think, and a $130 million aquarium that once seemed like a dream is now “doable.”

    Those were among the subjects tackled during the most recent episode of Business Matters on WFMZ-TV, Channel 69. The 30-minute show featured a panel of experts consisting of Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Becky Bradley, Discover Lehigh Valley President Michael Stershic, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President Don Cunningham and Air Products Community Relations and Philanthropy Manager Laurie Gostley Hackett.

    The episode aired Monday, Jan. 29, but you can find it at: wfmz.com/businessmatters.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    LVPC FEATURED ON WDIY RADIO - February 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley can’t seem to stop talking about the future – and that’s important to maintaining our quality of life and global competitiveness.

    The LVPC and its two-year effort to write a new Regional Comprehensive Plan was featured during an hourlong radio show on WDIY-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate based in Bethlehem.

    The show originally aired January 18, on WDIY-FM, 88.1.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    <<LINK TO SHOW RECORDING >>

     

  • JANUARY 2018

    A NEW CLASS OF CITIZEN PLANNERS - January 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Some were public officials looking to better understand their leadership role, some were professional planners bolstering their expertise and a few were private residents who were curious about how their community is run.

    A new class of eight Citizen Planners was recognized Thursday for completing more than 30 hours of Lehigh Valley Government Academy courses offered at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission offices.

    “The Commission would like to recognize all the folks who have spent hours and hours and hours getting their planning certification,” said LVPC Chairman Stephen Repasch.

    To be eligible, participants had to complete three of the four courses offered at the academy. Available courses are Community Planning, Subdivision and Land Development Review, Zoning, and Zoning Administration.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    AIRPORT AREA STUDY TO MEASURE WAREHOUSE IMPACT - January 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Hundreds of acres of land that not long ago were farmed for corn, soybean and wheat just north of the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA) will soon be sprouting warehouses the size of a dozen football fields. Gone are the tractors that once tilled the fields, soon to be replaced by tractor-trailers delivering goods and cars driven by hundreds of new warehouse and distribution center workers.

    The impact of all that change in the communities near LVIA is about to be put under a microscope during a six-month Airport Area Transportation Study being shepherded by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    PETER LEYDEN ENCORE - January 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    If you missed renowned futurist Peter Leyden’s trip into the Lehigh Valley, here’s your chance to, well, go back to the future. Leyden’s 80-minute keynote presentation is now available here for anyone who missed his ground-breaking view of the future, or anyone who just wants to take another look.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    REPASCH ELECTED LVPC CHAIR - January 2018

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    The New Year brought new leadership at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, as Stephen Repasch takes over as Chair of the 37-member board after he was elected during the Commission’s annual reorganization.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

  • 2017

    PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE PROJECTS GET $1.3 MILLION - December 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS) issued $1.32 million in Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) program grants Monday, after whittling more than $10 million worth of applications to five projects designed to make communities safer.

    The grants are issued every two years for bicycle, pedestrian and transit-related projects not covered in the region’s four-year $458 million program that maintains the region’s road, bridge and transit networks.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    THE FUTURE IS NOW - December 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    How soon will it be commonplace for people to summon driverless cars on their smartphones? How worried should factory workers be about being replaced by robots? And should your business be preparing for climate change?

     

    These are among the questions expected to be tackled during the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s daylong “FutureLV – Big Ideas. Bold Conversation.” event on December 6 at Lehigh University’s Iacocca Hall.

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    PENNDOT WANTS A FEW GOOD INVENTORS - December 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    If you’re a municipal worker who has channeled your inner MacGyver, then the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wants to hear from you.

     

    PennDOT has opened its annual Build a Better Mousetrap Competition, in search of municipal and road crew workers who have found innovative ways to solve problems. Anyone snickering at the state’s effort to inject some friendly competition into the exciting world of municipal maintenance might be interested to know that Lehigh Valley workers have gotten good at winning this thing.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    PENNDOT WANTS A FEW GOOD INVENTORS - December 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Not everyone needs to know what type of road sign should warn motorists of a sharp curve or the exact design of a sidewalk wheelchair ramp, but if those things are in your job description, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a course for you.

     

    The 2018 Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) courses begin in January, and registration is now open for 14 classes that include the popular “Safe Driver” instruction and several new courses such as “Curves on Local Roads” and “Speed Limits and Speed Management.”

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    <<LINK TO CLASS INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION DETAILS>>

    LVPC LAUNCHES DATA PROJECT - November 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Sixteenth century philosopher Sir Francis Bacon is credited with coining the phrase “Knowledge is Power”, but a 21st century update of that might very well say “Data is Knowledge”.

    The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is launching a data project aimed at giving Lehigh Valley residents more of both. DataLV is envisioned as a statistical snapshot of the Lehigh Valley that can be updated as new data arrives, and married to the LVPC’s ArcGIS Online mapping database to provide people with a one-stop shop for information on everything from housing to transportation to healthcare to education.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    LVTS CREATES BICYCLE-PEDESTRIAN-TRANSIT BOARD - November 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    With a growing number of people looking for ways to spend less time in their cars, the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study in October created the region’s first Multimodal Transportation Working Group.

    The group will serve as an advisory board of the LVTS, not only giving greater voice to people advocating for more funding for alternative transportation, but helping the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission collect information as it devises the region’s first master plan for pedestrian, biking and transit, said LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    CATASAUQUA DISTINCTLY COMMITTED TO GOOD PLANNING - October 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Anyone who has ventured into the heart of Catasauqua Borough’s business district knows that it looks very different than it did just a year ago.

    That kind of change didn’t come without vision and a commitment to solid planning principals, not to mention an $11 million investment.

    Catasauqua was named the 2017 “Community of Distinction” Tuesday during the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s 4th Annual Planning + Development Gala at DeSales University Center.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    LVPC FEATURED ON RCN TV - October 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Lights. Camera. Action! The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission was featured on RCN TV4 cable television’s “Community Spotlight.”  During a 30-minute taping done Thursday, RCN Host Dan Mowdy dug into ongoing issues that included warehouse and apartment development across the region, farmland preservation and the Hazard Mitigation Plan being updated by the Planning Commission in 2018.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    BUILDLV 2017 REVEALS SPIKE IN WAREHOUSE AND APARTMENT BUILDING - September 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    It is a mosaic that was 12 months in the making and when the Lehigh Valley’s 2016 development picture came into focus two things were clear: the region is in the midst of an unprecedented warehousing boom and developers are building five times as many apartments as single-family homes.

     

    LVPC’s annual development report has become a must-read for municipal officials, real estate brokers, the economic development community and anyone who cares about how their community develops land.  The full report includes a menu of interactive maps, designed by LVPC Senior GIS Planner Justin Barclay, that provide development data for every municipality.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    Click here for the BuildLV report version

    Click here for the BuildLV interactive version

    LVPC PREPARING THE LEHIGH VALLEY FOR DISASTER - September 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    Even before Harvey and Irma arrived, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission was working on a plan to help the region better withstand the kind of destruction that swept through Texas and Florida earlier this month.

     

    With help from a federal grant, the LVPC in August launched a more than yearlong effort to update a Hazard Mitigation Plan that will spell out how each of the Valley’s 62 municipalities should prepare and respond to both natural and manmade disasters.  A process that will include input by community leaders, emergency management officials and private citizens from across the region is scheduled to yield a new plan by October of 2018.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    NEW ROUTE 22 BRIDGE TO OPEN THIS FALL - September 2017

    Matt Assad, Managing Editor

    After more than a year of driving through construction along Route 22, Lehigh Valley motorists will soon get a chance to drive on a newly-minted bridge across the Lehigh River.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

     

     

  • NEWSLV ARCHIVE

    3RD ANNUAL LVPC AWARDS HONORS REGION'S BEST IN PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

    This year’s 3nd Annual Lehigh Valley Planning & Development Gala and Awards had a celebratory air as over 250 partners, stakeholders, and community members gathered to commemorate 55 years of planning excellence by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC). The event, which took place on October 4, 2016 at DeSales University in Center Valley, also allowed the LVPC to honor seven local public, private and non-profit projects and one community for excellence in planning and development. Recounting the origins of regional planning’s in the Lehigh Valley in 1961, LVPC Executive Director Becky A. Bradley, AICP, kicked off the evening with a message that resonated with the audience: how good planning creates livable places.  Shifting focus to the present and the future, Bradley raised thoughtful points about the region’s many achievements before announcing the exciting next chapter for the LVPC, the kick off to the regional comprehensive plan update at the end of 2016.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    MOVELV: CONGESTION MANAGEMENT PROCESS

    The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) recently prepared an update of its Congestion Management Process (CMP). The CMP, required by federal regulations, is a performance-based approach to managing regional roadway congestion by identifying key congested locations and recommending targeted strategies and actions for reducing congestion at these locations. CMP strategies emphasize maximizing travel capacity on existing infrastructure through demand reduction and operational management strategies, as opposed to

    simply increasing roadway capacity.

     

    <<CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE>>

    LIVABLE LANDSCAPES - LEHIGH COUNTY PARK, RECREATION, OPEN SPACE AND AGRICULTURAL LANDS PLAN

    The LVPC is collaborating with Lehigh County to develop a Livable Landscapes plan, guiding future park, recreation, open space and agricultural land efforts within the County. The focus of the plan will be on environmentally-sensitive areas, farmland, trails, outdoor recreation, historic and cultural areas, economic benefits and the overall quality of life within Lehigh County.

     

    A robust public engagement program includes a two-tiered steering committee (professional partners and municipal officials) and public meetings. The first public meeting for the project is a Planning + Pizza event at 12:00 noon, August 24, 2016. A review of the project scope and existing resources mapping will be presented. The plan’s vision for Lehigh County’s open space network will be discussed, which will define the desired future to be accomplished through the plan’s goals, policies and recommended actions. Your input will be critical to developing a Livable Landscapes plan that is implementable and reflective of the diverse and sophisticated community and economic needs of Lehigh County.

     

    The plan will be completed by summer 2017. The project is being funded by the County and a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. For more information on this project, contact Geoff Reese at (610) 264-4544.

     

    <<LINK TO PROJECT PAGE>>

    <<LINK TO FULL PAGE ARTICLE>>

    LEHIGH VALLEY BRIDGE CONDITIONS

    Pennsylvania contains about 25,000 state-owned bridges, the third largest in the nation, and leads the nation in the number of bridges classified as structurally deficient. Each of those bridges is inspected on at least a two-year cycle, more often if a bridge is identified with serious deterioration. The safety of those bridges and the traveling public is paramount. If a bridge is found to be unsafe, it is closed. Bridges deemed able to carry only certain weights are posted with weight limits. The Lehigh Valley contains a total of 912 bridges, 656 (72%) are state-owned, while 256 (28%) are locally-owned. Bridges can be classified as functionally obsolete—a bridge that does not meet current design standards (i.e. substandard lane or shoulder width, vertical clearance, etc.), or structurally deficient—a bridge in which one or more of its critical components requires significant

    maintenance and repair to remain in service and eventual rehabilitation or replacement to address deficiencies.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL PAGE ARTICLE>>

    WALKLV: REGIONAL SIDEWALK INVENTORY

    The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission recently released its first ever sidewalk inventory, which offers an assessment of sidewalk connectivity and accessibility throughout the region. Sidewalk gaps represent a significant barrier to accessibility, and the WALKLV report attempts to help regional communities and organizations identify and promote an interconnected network of pedestrian-accessible transportation corridors.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL PAGE ARTICLE>>

    LEHIGH VALLEY RETURN ON ENVIRONMENT - OUTDOOR RECREATION ECONOMIC BENEFIT

    In December 2014, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) completed the Lehigh Valley Return on Environment study, which documents the substantial economic value of regional open space. The purpose for the study is to show that through open space preservation, quality of life can be improved while saving tax dollars and growing the economy. The analysis includes four components—natural system services, air quality, outdoor recreation and property values. Each of these components will be highlighted in this and upcoming newsletters, with the first being Outdoor Recreation.

     

    <<CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE>>

     

    SOUTHWESTERN LEHIGH COUNTY MULTIMUNICIPAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN UPDATE

    The entire staff of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has made remarkable progress in the last six months in advancing the update to the multimunicipal comprehensive plan for the Southwest Lehigh (SWL) Region. Consisting of the six municipalities of Alburtis, Emmaus, Lower Macungie, Lower Milford, Macungie and Upper Milford, this partnership first emerged over a decade ago, culminating in the region’s first shared comprehensive plan, released in 2005. While this plan helped to galvanize collaboration and continued conversations among key issues that the six municipalities face, it is now showing its age, so inevitably it cannot account for some of the most prominent trends in land development and job growth over the last few years. Recognizing the need for an update, in 2014 the six municipalities cooperatively agreed to hire the LVPC to revisit the multimunicipal comprehensive plan, and through the help of substantive grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the LVPC spearheaded an intensive community engagement process that began in earnest in late 2015 and continued to the present.

     

    <<CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE>>

    CONGRATULATIONS TO LEHIGH VALLEY GRANT WINNERS

    The Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) recently announced the recipients of State Multimodal Transportation Funds. Competitive awards were available for projects totaling more than $100,000 but not more than $3,000,000. There were 418 projects statewide that received funding for a total amount of $152,414,748.

     

    <<CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE>>

    2017 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM IN THE PIPELINE

    Largest Investment in the Lehigh Valley’s Infrastructure

    The 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) encompasses over $458 million in transportation infrastructure investment in the next four years. This plan targets the Lehigh Valley’s highest priority road, bridge, transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and rail infrastructure projects proposed to be developed with Federal assistance. Including over 60 projects, the TIP seeks to preserve the region’s assets, maintain and enhance mobility, reduce congestion, increase safety and operational efficiency, and promote partnerships.

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    REACHING 961 MARCON BOULEVARD BY FOOT: A PEDESTRIAN'S PERSPECTIVE
    ON WALK -TO-WORK DAY

    A previous article detailed the trip that several LVPC employees made on Friday, May 20, biking from various points in the region to the LVPC offices on National Bike to Work Day. But the annual celebration of non-motorized commuting is officially called “National Bike/Walk to Work Day”, and this year it included another LVPC staffer who commuted to work. That’s right: Eric McAfee, AICP, Director of Community Planning, lives close enough to the offices that it is perfectly reasonable to walk. If all goes well, it takes him about 15 minutes.

     

    In the previous article on Bike to Work Day, the bicyclists noted that, despite ample rights-of-way, the trek from their homes to the office in Hanover Township (Lehigh County) was often uncomfortable, due to a general lack of infrastructure specifically devoted to bicycles and the occasional motorist who did not show much regard for the two-wheeled vehicles sharing the road. From the perspective of walking along Marcon Boulevard and Irving Street, the conditions for pedestrians aren’t great either. Fortunately, Marcon Boulevard has a saving grace: a painted white stripe near the curb on the northern side of the street, which is clearly visible in the photo.

     

    <<CLICK FOR THE FULL ARTICLE>>

    WORK ON WHAT YOU LOVE ...

    The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) staff did exactly that on Friday, May 20 when they took to the streets of the Lehigh Valley for National Bike to Work Day. Becky Bradley, Executive Director, and George Kinney, Transportation Planning Director, began their two-wheel trek to work in west Allentown led by Scott Slingerland, Coalition for Appropriate Transportation (CAT)¹ Director, and his colleague Jennifer Swann.

     

    The six-mile journey ended 45 minutes later at the LVPC office near the Lehigh Valley Airport. Fellow LVPC colleagues, Tracy Oscavich and Brian Hite, were also along for the ride. Geoff Reese, Environmental Planning Director, also participated in the event, commuting more than 11 miles from his home in Bethlehem Township. Eric McAfee, Community Planning Director, walked nearly two miles from his home in Hanover Township.

     

     

    <<LINK TO FULL ARTICLE>>

    LEHIGH COUNTY LIVABLE LANDSCAPES PLANNING EFFORT TO BEGIN

    This summer the LVPC will collaborate with Lehigh County to develop a Livable Landscapes plan, guiding future park, recreation, open space and agricultural land efforts within the County.

    The focus of the plan will be on environmentally-sensitive areas, farmland, trails, outdoor recreation, historic and cultural areas, economic benefits and the overall quality of life within Lehigh County. A robust public engagement program will be accomplished for the project. A vision for Lehigh County’s open space network will be created that will define the desired future to be accomplished through the plan’s goals, policies and recommended actions. The plan will be completed by summer 2017.

     

    The project is being funded by the County and a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

    For more information on this project, contact Geoff Reese at (610) 264-4544.

     

    <<LINK TO PDF OF ARTICLE>>

    <<LINK TO PROJECT PAGE>>

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

961 Marcon Boulevard - Suite 310

Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: (610) 264-4544

Toll Free: (888) 627-8808

Fax: (610) 264-2616