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Remember: The Future of The Lehigh Parkway: Part 1 (And a New Video!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Future of The Lehigh Parkway: Part 1 (And a New Video!)

There are many competing ideas that go into the public debate regarding future construction projects in the city of Allentown.  Around here, parks are personal.  We all know our favorite parks, we know what park we grew up in, we know what park to visit on a first date.  Being a citizen of this city makes you an immediate denizen of the park system. 

It is because of this, that such fervor develops over specific ideas and implementations.  Environmental advocates, like me, want to see specific ecological standards met.  Recreationalists want to see the parks open in a way that serves their need for outdoor activity.  Bicyclists want places to go to ride openly, joggers places to run.  Some folks want to go to the park to see the scenery that has been there to see for as long as they have lived in Allentown.

All of these issues are in some way valid and in many ways backed up by a field of scientific research.  Obesity, carbon emissions, watershed health. stress relief; purpose after purpose our parks exist to serve us and the ones that use them the most want to see them cared for.

These competing ideals can be met in a great compromise and over a series of posts for the next few weeks I intend to describe how such a compromise could work.  I have chosen to do so in the Lehigh Parkway because, with no master plan on the table and major work needed to be done, a real conversation can begin to make sure that when the time comes, an informed citizenry can make a stand and hopefully, make a difference.

The first post will come in the next few days.

Today, readers I am asking you to leave a comment (and tell your friends to get on here and leave one too) about what you feel the future should hold for the Lehigh Parkway.  Consider this post, in essence, to be an open mike of sorts.  Don’t hold back, if you read and never comment, today is the day.

Whether you like what has happened at Cedar beach or not, the project has surely taught the city many lessons.  Tell me what you think about the Parkway and in a few days, I’ll begin my official discussion right here.

In the meantime, here is a video of Spring in true fruition at South Mountain, The Lehigh Parkway and Cedar Beach, Please, watch and enjoy.  I look forward to seeing some good comments.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me Lehigh has all the "features" it needs, so I would like to see environmental restoration and then the main thing I'd like to see is more signage - maps, educational signs, etc.

I'd also like to see Lights in the Parkway abolished.

April 20, 2010 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

Actually, except for Lights in the Parkway, I have never been to Lehigh Parkway. West Park was the park I grew up in - but I agree with anon 8:54 - I wouldn't be heartbroke if the Lights left. I don't think there's much of a future in having thousands of cars roll through the park.

April 20, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Great video, Andrew - spring in the Lehigh Valley has always been something magical to me. It is the first time I visited Muhlenberg, it is the beauty of the vibrant greens and pinks and purples and yellows that keeps Allentown in my mind as a very beautiful city.

I like the first commenter's idea of having some sort of educational signage (or maybe a center?) of the park and the park's history. The challenge would be to make it blend in. I go to parks for an escape - for the beauty - so of course my main perogative would be to preserve that, and possibly to improve upon it (there are some beautiful sloping hills near the paths in the parkway that are full of wildflowers in the spring. Maybe they can be stepped to help prevent erosion and help more flowers grow naturally, or can be planted with non-competing indigenous wildflowers, to have more variety and color?)

April 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real, honest to goodness, public involvement.

April 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Andrew for what you are doing for our parks. I have lived here for fifty-eight years and yes many things that are going on are very disappointing. The frogs are gone, the girl with the umbrella is gone and there is lots of paving. Many of us who cannot get to the parks as often as we once could appreciate your beautiful pictures and videos. Mayfair was on the West side many years ago. You are the voice of our parks, please keep up the great work you are doing.

April 20, 2010 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, these are beautiful. My only comment is that you title this Allentown Spring so that when people search for Allentown on youtube, this comes up. You have successfully captured the awe that many of us feel in the Allentown parks and it would be great to share it with the world.

April 28, 2010 at 2:39 AM  

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