Lehigh Valley

LVPC looks to the future with FutureLV

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - How will you ever reach your destination if you don't know where you're going?

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission presented a 188-page road map to guide future development and investment for the next 25 years during the second of two public meetings held Wednesday night at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem.

The plan, called "FutureLV," is the region's fifth comprehensive plan, done by LVPC in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study. It took LVPC nearly three years to produce the plan. Pitched as a "living breathing document," the plan is a virtual grab-bag wish list for government agencies, municipal planning commissions and environmental activists that solicited and received public input. It was presented as a document to garner "cultural change."

LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley said that if the region's bureaucracy and private enterprise works together, history has shown the Lehigh Valley is resilient. This cooperation, Bradley said, proves "we can do anything."

"We overcame the collapse of slate, we overcame the collapse of steel," she said.

During Wednesday night's presentation attended by one dozen people, Bradley said the plan was built around what planners call "a centers and corridor concept." LVPC recommends that almost all future development would be focused around these 57 centers or along the road-and-trail which occupy geography in all shapes and types throughout the region.

Doing this, Bradley said, will "help preserve the region's farmland and open space."

The LVPC plan articulates five major goals:

1. An efficient and coordinated development pattern.

2. Connected-Mixed Transportation Plan.

3. A protected and vibrant environment..

4. Competitive, creative and sustainable environment.

5. Safe, healthy inclusive and livable communities

The presentation also offered an artist's rendering of what various Lehigh Valley locations could be in the future, provided the "right policies" are implemented, Bradley said. This included LVPC's plans to reconstitute shopping malls such as the Whitehall and Palmer Park malls. Another slide showed MacArthur Road, reimagined as a tree-lined, pedestrian-accessible through-fare with express bus lanes.

LVPC will accept public input on the plan through Sept. 23.

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