Lehigh Valley

Bieber Bus plans to revamp former Charcoal Diner

Company wants to build ticket center at Lower Macungie Twp. site.

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - The Bieber bus company has different plans for the former Charcoal Drive-In restaurant.

The Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission, at its monthly workshop meeting Tuesday, viewed initial concept plans presented by Bieber Transportation Group for the redevelopment of the restaurant site, located at 4440 Hamilton Blvd., near the Route 222/Interstate 78 interchange.

Bud Newton, of Newton Engineering of Allentown, represents Steven Haddad, president and chief executive officer of Kutztown-based Bieber Transportation.

Newton said the plan calls for the demolition of the former restaurant, which will be replaced by a new transportation station and ticketing office, offering greater convenience for Bieber customers. 

Haddad said the restaurant building has fallen into disrepair since it closed in 2007, and it would be more feasible to build a completely new station. 

The new station will have a parking lot with approximately the same number of commuter and temporary parking spaces.

No official date for the demolition of the restaurant was given by Newton or Haddad.

Newton said the plans call for the widening of the service road that allows for vehicle access to the ticketing station.

In addition, the cul-de-sac located right behind the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) "park and ride" lot will be widened. That lot sits directly adjacent to the Bieber property on its north side.

Haddad noted that nearly 250 commuter cars park in both lots on a daily basis. He added that the service road and cul-de-sac both need widening because presently his buses have a difficult time turning around and have been forced to make unsafe and inconvenient back-ups.

The plan also calls for access walkways between and inside the lots allowing for greater pedestrian safety and easier access to the station, said Haddad.

He commented on the sizable distance between the far end of PennDOT's lot and his ticket office, and the need for other improvements such as wider entrances, exits, and landscaping.

The construction would be completed in three stages which would eliminate the need for a satellite parking lot, Newton said. 

Haddad said he plans to meet with PennDOT to present his plans and again request they lease their lot to Bieber.

He noted last winter snow removal on its lot and the service road were an understandable non-priority for PennDOT, however, if he managed the property, snow plowing, debris removal, and weed cutting would be done in a timely fashion.

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