Easton’s Transportation Project
To shed some light on the Revitalizing Older Cities Initiative, started by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, and the six policy areas identified as crucial to the initiative, I am running a brief series on how the older communities in the Lehigh Valley are undergoing redevelopment. The first policy area is transportation and infrastructure.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation released the news that it was allocating $59.2 million to fund community-powered projects under the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI). Of the multiple Lehigh Valley projects, one of these is a transportation improvement project in Easton, PA. Identified by PennDOT as a proposal that adheres to all ten Smart Transportation themes, the plan will improve the roadway, pedestrian, and bicycle network on Larry Holmes Drive, near the city’s Intermodal Transportation Facility.
When construction on the Intermodal Facility began, city planners quickly realized that the local transportation network needed some improvement in order to raise the level of safety for all commuters. A study initiated by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission found that missing sidewalks impeded pedestrian activity, and that stop bars at crosswalks were inadequate in ensuring that pedestrians were safe from car traffic.
Revitalizing older communities in terms of transportation requires increasing transit choices – including walking opportunities. Many community members would like to walk to their destinations, but, unfortunately, street and road design stymies their efforts because pedestrian safety is not often a high priority in city planning. Easton took note of this concern in the Larry Holmes Drive proposal, where some of the improvements include:
- adding pedestrian signal heads in visible locations
- extending curbs to prevent drivers from passing other stopped cars in their effort to make a right turn (these drivers often do not watch for pedestrians on the right)
- providing a marked crosswalk and a sidewalk ramp
- replacing some of the sidewalks in the area.
Through land-use planning changes, Easton is improving on their current transportation network and ensuring that the needs of the city’s pedestrians are addressed appropiately. The planned improvements are one part of the larger Easton Waterfront project. The sketches for the entire project are available on the City of Easton’s website. The proposal is in line with the larger efforts to revitalize the older communities of the Lehigh Valley through transportation and infrastructure.
In the next post of this series, the focus will turn to housing within the Lehigh Valley.
Posted on August 12, 2009, in Municipal Government, Neighborhoods, Public Infrastructure, Transportation and tagged infrastructure, Lehigh Valley, Revitalization, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.