A meeting, co-sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Sierra Club and Lehigh University’s Southside Initiative, was held February 3rd in Bethlehem at the Charles Brown Ice House. Lehigh professor Breena Holland did great work in planning and presenting this community dialogue. A follow-up meeting will be held February 24th.
The speakers included: a city planner, a county parks representative, an urban trails planner, a Lehigh University architecture professor, a Lehigh Valley Mountain Bikers spokesman, and a Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Trail representative.
All kinds of publications these days talk about what it is that makes a city exciting and a great place to live. They speak of active arts and music venues; vibrant downtown restaurants and shopping; festivals and fairs. They point to the beauty of natural features of the area like rivers and parks. They tell of places that are not only good places to work, but allow easy access to recreation in the true sense of the word.
User-friendly easy flow between all these elements is the focus of the diverse group of citizens who met at the to talk about a bridge for bicycles and pedestrians across the Lehigh River that would pull the city together by linking the north and south side commercial and recreational opportunities. It would provide a needed connection for the expanding bicycle trail system and make it so much easier to enjoy city-wide events.
Future meetings will be needed to think about where it will take off and land, what it will look like, how much it will cost, and where the money will come from. But everyone in the room felt the energy and excitement as each individual pictured their own vision of how the increased connectivity would improve the Bethlehem experience.