Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem discusses public parking issues in the city

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The status of a parking study involving Bethlehem City was presented Tuesday afternoon at the Northampton Community College Fowler Center Southside Center.

Tim Tracy, of Desmond Design Management, presented the current study.

According to Tracy, there are 2,431 public parking spaces: 444 on-street metered spots, 117 surface lot parking spots and 1,870 spaces elsewhere. The South Side, across from the Lehigh River, has 2,622 public parking spaces: 791 on-street meters 1,679 spots in 14 surface lots and 152 spaces in the Riverport Garage. Also, South Bethlehem has 1,200 parking spots.

"We did a fair amount of research on the South Side," Tracy said. "It's a vibrant operation of what's going forward."

The Bethlehem Parking Authority provided $69,000 for the study.

"It's still on the lower scale of public parking," Tracy said.

The study, Tracy said, will provide a road map for the city.

The study also led to stakeholders discussing parking issues. Those who were involved in the discussions included North and South Side businesses and institutions, SouthSide Arts District, hotel operators, event venue operators, Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority and private developers.

One trend heard, Tracy noted, includes discussing a logical distance people would like to go. Another discussion, he continued, involved how the Bethlehem Parking Authority does its business.

Additionally, Tracy also lauded the city for utilizing parking technology. All off-street facilities are automated.

"The authority has done a great job," he said.

According to Tracy, the city is currently in the works to seek approval to build a new garage at Third and Polk streets.

Tracy also said the last 10 years there has been more of an emphasis on the downtown.

"We need to address this moving forward," he said.

Tracy said the intent is to complete the parking study and present it to Bethlehem Jan. 8, with further findings presented Jan. 22 in a public meeting.

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