Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

THE REGION'S FIRST EVER BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN DRAFT MASTER PLAN IS HERE - December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

The Lehigh Valley has a robust road and bridge network, more than 300 miles of trails and a public transit system that serves more than 5 million riders a year.

Transforming those components into a seamless transportation network for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and even drivers is key to the region becoming one of the nation’s most livable.

That’s the mission of Walk/RollLV, the Lehigh Valley’s first ever active transportation masterplan. The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study released the first draft of Walk/RollLV Wednesday, opening up a 45-day public review process designed to give community leaders, elected officials and the general public the first look at the blueprint for improving walking, biking and accessibility in the roads, trail and transit system.

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PENNDOT RELEASES 12-YEAR PLAN TO SPEND $400 MILLION ON I-78 -

December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

PennDOT Wednesday released a 12-year interstate renewal plan that includes nearly $400 million being pumped into Interstate-78.

The $10 billion statewide plan allocated money for several Lehigh Valley projects, the lion’s share of it going along I-78 between Route 100 and the Berks County line.

The plan calls for:

• $336 million to be spent between Route 100 and the Berks County line to reconstruct the roadway, add truck climbing lanes and to construct a new interchange at Adams Road. Most of that money isn’t slated to be spent until between 2027 and 2032.

• $20.5 million to repair I-78 from Easton Road to Route 33, for patching, road surface repairs and drainage improvements. The work is scheduled to be complete by 2024.

• $20.8 million to be spent along I-78 between Lehigh Street and the Route 309 Interchange. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

• $10.3 million to repair rough roadway along eastbound I-78, from Route 309 to just west of the Route 412 Interchange in Bethlehem. Most of the work is to be completed by 2022.

• $7.75 million to repair rough roadway along I-78, from Cedar Crest Boulevard to Lehigh Street. Most of the work is to be done by 2022.

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TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM DRAFT 2021-2024 PROCESS BEGINS -

December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Wednesday opened the process of building the 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the Lehigh Valley.

The $272 million initial cut of the infrastructure funding plan was released during the public meeting of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS). The plan, which includes several carry over projects from the current 2019-2022 TIP, will be debated and revised in the coming months, before its scheduled adoption in July.

The LVTS began discussing the first draft for the 2021-2024 TIP immediately after adopting the FutureLV: The Regional Plan in October. While FutureLV includes the 25-year Long-Range Transportation Plan, the TIP is a four-year spending plan for road, bridge, bicycle and pedestrian projects.

The proposed draft TIP comes six months after state officials notified municipal leaders and transportation planners from across the Commonwealth that local transportation budgets would be drastically cut, in part, to allocate more money for the state’s deteriorated Interstate system.

In the coming months the draft TIP will be put through a detailed air quality, equity, and environmental justice analysis, and a public comment period, and could be in for significant changes as Lehigh Valley planners, municipal officials and PennDOT officials try to maintain a transportation network where funding is shrinking, even as the region grows by 4,000 to 6,000 residents a year. The Lehigh Valley’s cuts were 26% less than previous estimates.

The four-year TIP is updated every two years and the new TIP is scheduled to take effect in October of 2020.

FUTURELV IS NOW THE REGIONAL PLAN - December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

It is the product of more than 240 public meetings, events and strategy labs attended by nearly 10,000 people had input from hundreds of community groups and stakeholders and been the subject of intense debate for the past three months.

Over the past three years, people in every corner of the Lehigh Valley have had a say in crafting the vision for FutureLV: The Regional Plan, and as of November 26, the plan designed to guide the region to 2045 and beyond has the approval of Lehigh and Northampton counties.

It has previously been adopted by the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission in October. It remains under review by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“This really has been the work of so many people from across the region, from everyone who attended the planning meetings to the municipalities who sent us data to the county leaders who helped us refine the plan during the comment period,” said LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley. “I’d like to thank all of them. Their commitment to maintaining the Lehigh Valley as a great place to live work and play is unmatched.”

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INTRODUCING WORKSHOPLV - December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

The Lehigh Valley has a new regional plan that sets direction for everything from housing to land use to water management to transportation.

Now, comes the task of putting all that new policy to work—and you can help.

WorkshopLV will be a series of new working groups, populated by interested citizens, to help tackle some of the region’s most important and challenging issues.

“This is all about building collaborations to get things done,” said LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley. “We’ve chosen two of the tougher issues to start with - Housing and Water.”

The kick-off meeting for the new WorkshopLV | Housing is scheduled for 3 pm, December 18, at the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley’s 555 Union Boulevard, Allentown office.  The effort will be a collaborative, open table whose job will be to identify and address a wide range of housing issues, including supply, variety and cost.

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MOUSETRAP BATON PASSED TO EASTON - December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

Benjamin Franklin once said the only things certain in life are death and taxes. That’s only because old Ben didn’t get a chance to see Lehigh Valley public works professionals repeated placement in Pennsylvania’s Build a Better Mouse Competition.

For the fifth time in seven years, a Lehigh Valley municipal crew – this time from the City of Easton – is being recognized statewide for its initiative, ingenuity and frugality.

Easton’s public works crew members Duane Woolverton and Bob Piperato channeled their inner McGyver to pull together an old stop sign post, car jack and a hook to create a device that can easily lift inlet grates – some of them weighing as much as 1,000 pounds.  The contraption, costing $150 in labor and scrap parts, keeps crews from needing a backhoe to remove inlet grates during seasonal cleaning, said Easton Public Works Director Dave Hopkins.

Easton’s submission placed second among entries from across the state.

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LEHIGH VALLEY COMMUNITIES GET $5.1 MILLION FOR PEDESTRIAN SAFETY PROJECTS -

December 2019, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

Seven Lehigh Valley communities will be benefiting from state grants designed to make their streets, neighborhoods, trails and development projects more welcoming to pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities.

Grants from the Multimodal Transportation Fund were approved in November for safety improvement projects in Alburtis Borough, Coopersburg Borough, Easton, Fountain Hill Borough, Lower Macungie Township, Macungie Borough and Upper Saucon Township.

The $5.1 million in Lehigh Valley area grants were part of nearly $80 million in grants approved for 141 projects in 42 counties across the state.

“Supporting Pennsylvania’s infrastructure supports our communities and our economy,” said Governor Wolf. “By making infrastructure investments in projects across the commonwealth, we will make it easier for commuters to get to and from work safely, and for businesses to transport their goods efficiently. These are investments with far-reaching impacts.”

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YOUR VIEW: HOW TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN GROWTH AND PRESERVATION-

December 1, 2019, Becky Bradley, Executive Director, article in The Morning Call

The Lehigh Valley is such a successful region that 4,000 to 6,000 more people arrive every year to take advantage of its unique character, beautiful landscape and high quality of life.

But how do we preserve all that good, while managing all that growth? Well, we’ve been working on that for close to three years. The result of that work — along with input and ideas from literally thousands of people from across Lehigh and Northampton counties — is FutureLV: The Regional Plan.

FutureLV is a blueprint designed to guide the region to 2045 and beyond. The fact is, the Lehigh Valley is at a tipping point. We’re not only growing fast in people, but we’re developing fast.

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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