Becky Bradley, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, brought members of her committee to Hanover Township Sept. 17 to discuss a new plan dubbed Future LV.
LVPC is seeking comments before the final plan is released. Bradley has 12 conferences scheduled across the Lehigh Valley.
While most in attendance were municipal officials, the plan is online and can be accessed for a personal review at lvpc.org/futurelv.html.
Future LV is a new perspective on the planning process. Bradley and her staff not only presented the complicated subject in an efficient manner but have changed the direction of the planning process from decisions centralized within the LVPC to making recommendations to local planning commissions for decisions.
The concepts were intriguing. The easiest to visualize is improvements on MacArthur Road. There were concepts to utilize space at the long-vacant Lehigh Valley Dairy building and uses for its adjacent properties. Residential and mixed-use applications for the declining mall sites filled other underutilized land.
Importantly, a new approach to move people along MacArthur Road included quick-service bus links and bicycle paths and walkways with a green strip.
The emphasis on walkable corridors and bike paths is noticeable. According to data analysis, a revival of these types of transportation is in demand.
As gasoline engines become more efficient, electric vehicles are rapidly gaining favor and autonomous-driving vehicles are on the horizon. With affordable, short-distance transportation available via upstarts like Uber and Lyft, the need for multiple cars per family begins to drop while the need to go from place to place still remains.
Two immediate concerns are truck traffic and maintaining green space. By pushing decision-making down to local municipalities and defining areas where growth can happen, the LVPC has opened the door to making efficient uses of existing land.
Truck traffic controls are enforced with better traffic patterns and increased routes for truck travel.
Future LV is an overall guide with grand views of Lehigh and Northampton counties. The real work is integrating local communities into the process.
For Catasauqua and North Catasauqua boroughs and Hanover and East Allen townships, that process begins the third Tuesday of every month starting in October. This is the designated start of the River Central Comprehensive Plan, a regional plan that will address zoning and planning in each of the communities.
Representatives from each municipality will attend the meetings, which are open to the public.