Archive for category bethlehem parking authority

How’s Bethlehem’s public parking? Sound off in city survey

The Bethlehem Parking Authority’s consultant is holding two upcoming public meetings Oct. 24.

Bethlehem wants you to share all your gripes and kudos for the city’s public parking system.

The Bethlehem Parking Authority and the city have hired Desman Design Management to perform a comprehensive review and evaluation of the Christmas City’s public parking.

As part of the study, the city wants the public to weigh in on the state of the city’s parking system via an online survey found here.

“The authority will be incorporating your thoughts and comments into the analyses, which will assist them in making informed future decisions on managing and operating public parking in the city of Bethlehem,” Mayor Bob Donchez said in a press release.

Desman will be holding two public presentations on Tuesday, Oct. 24 to provide an update on the status of the study, initial findings from the data collection, outreach and a laying out a timeline.

Why Bethlehem might seize land from the Sands casino

The first meeting will be held at noon at Northampton Community College’s Fowler campus, 511 E. Third St., in room 623. Then at 6 p.m., Desman will make the same presentation in Bethlehem Town Hall. 

The authority is expected to wrap up construction of a 626-space new parking deck at Third and New Streets next month. The garage was controversial because some opponents argued there was plenty of parking in South Bethlehem already. Critics advocated for a comprehensive parking study.

Authority Executive Director Kevin Livingston was out of the office Wednesday afternoon and did not immediately respond to an email seeking details of the study.

The authority wants to build another garage at Third and Polk streets, which is seen as critical to the ongoing redevelopment of the Third Street corridor. The authority last month threatened the Sands casino with eminent domain if it does not consider selling the land to the authority.

It is also currently studying the future of its Walnut Street parking garage, which needs extensive repairs.

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at ssatullo@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Why Bethlehem might seize land from the Sands casino

The Bethlehem Parking Authority is frustrated that the Sands casino is not negotiating to sell a crucial piece of land slated for a parking deck.

The Bethlehem Parking Authority&…

Parked for free in a Bethlehem garage? You’ve got until 11 p.m. to move that car

Bethlehem is lifting its snow emergency at 7 p.m.

Bethlehem is ending its snow emergency Wednesday night at 7 p.m.  
That means cars can again park on snow emergen…

How to park for free this weekend in Bethlehem

The Bethlehem Parking Authority is offering several free parking promotions.

Bethlehem is offering free parking over the holiday weekend.lehighvalleylive.com file photo 
Hol…

Parking 1st step to South Bethlehem transformation, mayor says

City officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the New Street parking garage Friday.

By next summer, visitors to South Side Bethlehem will have plenty of parking options.&n…

Why Bethlehem is offering a 2nd shot at lucrative tax zone

Bethlehem is seeking proposals for projects on less than 2 acres in the city’s CRIZ.

Developers that missed out on getting a project into Bethlehem’s CRIZ have a second shot later this month. 

Social Still was Valley's first microdistillerySocial Still, 530 E. Third St. in Bethlehem, was the first CRIZ project completed in the city. (lehighvalleylive.com file photo)Kelly Huth | For lehighvalleylive.com 

When Bethlehem won a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone designation three years ago on 130-acres, three Bethlehem Parking Authority projects were included in the list of shovel-ready plans.

Fast forward to today and two of those authority projects — the Walnut Street garage and the site of a new South Bethlehem parking deck — are no longer feasible. The parking authority has asked for the CRIZ designation to be removed from the 1.3 acres of land, which the city expects to happen by the end of the year.

It means developers interested in the tax incentive modeled off of Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which has transformed that downtown, can answer Bethlehem’s call for a request-for-proposals.

Bethlehem is seeking one or more project pitches from private or non-profit developers to certify their projects in the zone. The projects must be built on city sites of less than 2-acres. Proposals are due Nov. 30.

“The city is in the unique position to look around and see what other projects might benefit from this incentive,” Mayor Bob Donchez said in a news release. “Now that there have been improvements to the CRIZ law, I would like to see projects that are in the final stages of development but need this incentive to push the projects over the goal line.” 

This South Bethlehem road closes for good Tuesday

The CRIZ allows property owners to use certain future state and local taxes — including sales and liquor– created by CRIZ projects to pay off construction loans. Bethlehem’s CRIZ hasn’t been as powerful or fast moving as Allentown’s NIZ due to certain tweaks lawmakers made in developing the CRIZ.

But development stalled over a section of the CRIZ law that made banks nervous to loan money and hard for developers to attract tenants when they couldn’t quantify the incentive. A fix was passed in the current state budget that officials said they hoped would jump start development.

Social Still on East Third Street is the only completed project in the CRIZ.

Construction recently began on BethWorks Renovation’s Greenway Commons project, a three-building complex of 110 apartments, offices and stores next to Social Still, which developer Michael Perrucci’s BethWorks was also behind.

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at ssatullo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

This South Bethlehem road closes for good Tuesday

Graham Place is being shut down at New Street.

The proposed 626-space parking garage at New Street and Graham Place is shown in this courtesy rendering. (Bethlehem Parking Autho…

Bethlehem parking deck foes dealt major blow in battle to stop garage

It is unclear if the residents will file an appeal.

A group of Bethlehem residents opposed to a 626-space parking deck on South Side Bethlehem may have lost their legal figh…

South Side Bethlehem parking garage plans approved

Residents packed Thursday’s meeting to question the 626-space garage at New Street and Graham Place.

Plans for a controversial 626-space South Side Bethlehem parking garage cleared major hurdles Thursday night.

The city planning commission voted 4-1 to approved the development plans for the garage as well as the vacation of Graham Street from New to Vine streets.

Now, the Bethlehem Parking Authority just needs city council to agree to back the bonds it must take out to build the garage. The authority hopes to begin construction in June and open the deck in May of 2017.

Resident opposition to the project Thursday night centered around the added traffic the project will bring to the already congested South Side neighborhood.

“I’m not sure there’s a worse place to put a parking garage,” resident Al Wurth said. “… This does not sound like a sensible plan. This sounds like a recipe for disaster.”

Residents also dislike the design of a three-story pedestrian bridge spanning from the garage to Dennis Benner’s Greenway Park building, which the commission also approved Thursday.

Benner’s 6-story South Side building a go

The $17.75 million deck would be built at New Street and Graham Place, although a portion of Graham is being eliminated to make way for the deck. The first floor will include a Bethlehem police substation and a small parking authority office.

Many residents are concerned that the loss of a traffic shortcut on Graham Place will further exacerbate existing back-ups on New Street. It is already difficult to turn onto Broadhead Avenue from Graham.

“It’s obviously going to add more traffic to the area,” Tiffany Wells, city traffic superintendent, said of the garage.

Cars from the garage will be able to enter and exit the garage on South New Street and also exit onto Vine Street, which will be changed from one-way south to one-way north, funneling traffic onto Graham Place.

Some residents suggested making Vine Street open to two-way traffic.

On New Street, the garage will have an entrance and an exit and one reversible lane to ease traffic jams.

The city is working to try to mitigate the traffic impact of the garage, said Darlene Heller, city planning director.

Graham Place resident William Seixas said there is already limited parking on the block and it would be nice if residents could be given spots in the garage. He has four children and is concerned about the traffic and pollution the deck will bring.

The public garage is going to be largely used by the main tenants of Greenway Park, Lehigh University and St. Luke’s workers, who will have monthly passes that allow them to quickly enter the garage, said Rick Roseberry, of the engineering firm Maser Consulting.

Seixas is disappointed that the vacation of Graham Place makes it impossible to walk directly to New Street or the Greenway because there will be a gully alongside the garage.

The South Bethlehem Greenway is losing about 1,200-square-feet of space to the garage but it will gain added land further up the path through a portion of parking lot the Comfort Suites hotel is giving up, Heller said.

Hotel manager Dave Urban said it is giving up a key entrance to its parking lot, which will exacerbate existing parking issues. The hotel is considering adding a Third Street entrance.

“We’re spending a tremendous amount of money to do this,” Urban said.

Lehigh’s South Side Initiative chair Breena Holland lamented that the garage’s stairwells and exits don’t help funnel foot traffic to businesses on Third and Fourth streets.

There will be pedestrian exits at the corner of Vine and Rink streets and at New Street and the South Bethlehem Greenway.

Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub owner Charles Patrick said he supports the deck. He often hears parking is a deterrent for customers coming in.

WHAT’S NEXT

Council is scheduled to take its first vote on the project’s bonds April 19 and a second vote May 3. The city is scheduling a public meeting for the public to ask questions about the South Side Bethlehem parking feasibility study.

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at ssatullo@lehighvalleylive.com.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

It’ll cost you more to park in Bethlehem garages, lots

Hourly rates are going up 25 cents, to $1 an hour.

Bethlehem is raising its garage and surface lot rates to help pay for a new South Side parking garage and repairs to two c…