Labor Day Traffic Jams Could Be Daily Occurrence By The 2020s, Study Says

The traffic jams we can anticipate on highways like Route 22 this holiday weekend will plague American highways routinely by as soon as 2020 without increases in traffic capacity or other solutions, according to a travel-industry study.

In a report released Thursday, the U.S. Travel Association joins a growing list of engineers, contractors and other business interests, as well as federal and state agencies and officials, urging Congress and state governments to add new lanes and new highways. Long lead times for planning, design, environmental and other permitting before construction begins emphasize the need for early project starts.

“At current rates of highway-traffic growth, unless additional capacity … is created through expansion of existing infrastructure, new facilities or innovative techniques, the typical day will approach Labor Day peaks” of frustrating traffic jams, concludes the study by consultant Cambridge Systems Inc.

Though none of the interstates in the Lehigh Valley region are among the 16 segments used in the examination, the roads’ geographical diversity suggests that “together, they provide a reliable snapshot of the growing congestion on America’s highways” generally, according to U.S. Travel.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-road-congestion-labor-day-20130901,0,4247270.story#ixzz2dkwrwOsz
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Lower Macungie Commissioners Voice Support For Costco Tax Financing

English: This is a logo for Costco.

English: This is a logo for Costco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lower Macungie commissioners Thursday formally made known their unanimous support of tax financing for the proposed $140 million Costco-anchored shopping center in their township, and they’re asking Lehigh County commissioners to back it as well.

Township commissioners decided at their meeting to send a letter to the county board, urging it to approve a controversial tax increment financing plan for the Hamilton Crossings shopping center and allow development of a project that would bring tax dollars and jobs.

County commissioners twice have put off taking action on the proposal.

The township board had hoped to vote Thursday on the TIF proposal, which would allow up to $7 million in tax dollars generated by the shopping center be used to finance the work.  But they said they’re required to wait until after the county commissioners chime in.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/eastpenn/mc-lower-macungie-costco-0620-20130620,0,5470365.story#ixzz2WrZev4ym
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Lehigh Valley Planners’ Review Of Costco Shopping Center On Hold

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The developers planning to bring a $140 million Costco-anchored shopping center to Lower Macungie asked the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Thursday to postpone their formal review of the project to allow them to better explain their traffic improvements.

The sudden change in plans came two days after Lehigh County Commissioner Percy Dougherty told his board that he expected the planners to oppose the project’s traffic plan during their Thursday meeting.

Jeremy Fogel of the Goldenberg Group, one of two developers proposing the shopping center, said Friday that he and partner Tim Harrison of Staten Island wanted to meet with planners before they finalize their review and make recommendations. The shopping center, billed as a center modeled after the Promenade Shops of Saucon Valley, is planned for 63 acres to the east and west of Krocks Road, between Hamilton Boulevard and the Route 222 bypass.

“While they have some information that we submitted to the township, they do not have anywhere close to the full file of information related to transportation issues that has been created during the two-plus years that we have been working with [the state Department of Transportation],” Fogel wrote in an e-mailed response to questions.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/eastpenn/mc-lehigh-valley-planning-commission-hamilton-cros-20130426,0,7797015.story

Allentown’s American Parkway Bridge Groundbreaking

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At first glance, Friday’s groundbreaking for the American Parkway Bridge looked pretty much like every other ceremony where shivering, dark-suited community leaders poke their gold-painted shovels into some carefully piled dirt.

But this time, behind all the pomp and pageantry were more than five decades of planning, fighting, waiting and frustration.

It was 1956 when excited city leaders first proposed a direct path between downtown Allentown and Route 22, and Friday those shovel-wielding leaders celebrated the beginning of construction of a $46 million American Parkway Bridge project they say represents both the struggles of the past and the promise of the future.

It will span the Lehigh River just north of the Tilghman Street bridge and south of the Route 22 bridge.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-american-parkway-bridge-20121214,0,3965525.story

In Post-Lower Macungie Development Boom, Talk Of ‘Smart Growth’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jim Palmquist is one 66-year-old who has the time, motivation and legs to walk the nearly two-miles from his Lower Macungie home to the closest restaurant.

What he doesn’t have is a death wish.

With the proliferation of cars and trucks clogging roads between his Fresh Meadow Drive neighborhood and the closest Brookside Road businesses, walking can be a life-risking proposition, particularly because of the sporadic placement of sidewalks and walkways that go virtually nowhere.

“This is a township that is completely auto driven,” said Palmquist ,who recently did a thorough study of sidewalks in the area of Lower Macungie and Brookside roads. “You can’t walk to the Wawa. You can’t walk to the township building.”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/eastpenn/mc-lower-macungie-smart-growth-20120930,0,2415679.story