City Council already approved $1.4 million for that work back in April, money which is being used to improve 35 other intersections in downtown before the new hockey arena opens in September.

Union Street intersections

The Union Street project proposes installing traffic lights at Lehigh and Union and, less than a city block away, at 6th and Union.

Messinger noted currently people going north on Lehigh can only turn right onto Union, then left onto 6th Street, continuing north to get to center-city.

With more jobs and more visitors coming to center-city, Messinger said the city wants to open up the Union and Lehigh intersection, so people also can turn left on Union to get to all downtown parking garages.

“We want to be able to split the traffic up, not put everybody on 6th Street,” he explained.

“If they want to head west, they have to go all the way to 6th and Linden, then drive up Linden Street. This will alleviate that.”

The total estimated cost of improving those two intersections is $1,391,000.

South Jefferson Street

Messinger said drivers speed on S. Jefferson Street between Wyoming and Lehigh, because “it’s a long stretch with no stop signs.”

The city plans to do “traffic calming through markings, sort of what we did on Hanover Avenue.”

The public works director said crosswalks will be added at intersections along that stretch of Jefferson.

The city also plans to add flashing yellow lights and yield signs to improve safety for people who cross Jefferson to get to a church, apparently the one where Jefferson merges with Lehigh.

Messinger said that project will include clearly delineating traffic lanes with thermo-plastic road markings, but no traffic signals, where several streets intersect with Jefferson at the entrance to Lehigh Parkway.

The total cost of that project is estimated at $200,000.

Pedestrian lighting

City planning director Michael Hefele said the pedestrian-scale street lighting would be installed on streets leading into and through the downtown area.

“One of the comments we often hear is that the residential streets are dark and creates a seemingly unsafe environment,” said Hefele.

He said the project is being proposed in response to that concern, as well as to create connectivity and walkability between residential neighborhoods and downtown.

He said City Council already has allocated $650,000 to the program over the last two years. “We haven’t spent that yet. We would marry it with this program, if it was successful, to create a total project cost of $1.6 million.”

Hefele said that type of lighting already has been installed in front of Sacred Heart Hospital, in the 900 block of Turner Street and on 19th Street.

Trail

Although few may know its name, the first section of the paved Martin Luther King trail already exists.

It begins at S. 4th Street near the Parkettes training building, parallels Martin Luther King Drive as it runs west, and ends at a parking lot in Fountain Park, next to the park’s closed swimming pool.

The plan is to continue the trail west, then south, crossing the S.
10th Street Bridge over Little Lehigh Creek. Then it will run between the old railroad line and the south bank of the stream. It will go under the 15th Street Bridge and terminate at Lehigh Parkway North, near the old humped Schreibers Bridge.