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April 1, 2008
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
10 East Church Street – Town Hall
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 – 7:30 PM
2. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
3. ROLL CALL
President Donchez called the meeting to order. Reverend Carr from Trinity Episcopal Church offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, Karen Dolan, Gordon B. Mowrer, J. William Reynolds, J. Michael Schweder, and Robert J. Donchez, 6. Joseph F. Leeson, Jr. was absent, 1.
President Donchez announced that City Council held an Executive Session this evening, Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 7:15 PM in the Mayor’s Conference Room to discuss a personnel matter.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Minutes of March 18, 2008 were approved.
5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)
Five Points and One-Way Pairs Traffic Plan
Chuck Nyul, 1966 Pinehurst Road, inquired whether there is a final plan ready to be implemented for the Five Points and One Way Pairs traffic project or will Council vote on the funding for the project and see what happens.
President Donchez, affirming that City Council will vote on Bill No. 9 – 2008 tonight on Final Reading, informed Mr. Nyul that Council is voting on the recommendations and proposal that were presented to City Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on March 11, 2008 and on the funding that includes $500,000 from the City. President Donchez pointed out there may be some portions of the proposal that might be changed when it is finalized.
Mr. Nyul commented that usually Council would review more than one proposal and make a decision but now there is only one plan before Council. Observing that the plan includes sidewalk improvements and tree plantings, Mr. Nyul questioned how the traffic will be routed from point A to point B. He thought other proposals should be looked at from persons knowledgeable about traffic before the funding is voted on tonight.
Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, recounted that at the
South Side Task Force and other meetings he had suggested
the idea of reversible traffic lane lights that several people
thought was a good idea, and which concept he noted was brought
up by Mr. Schweder in a Resolution at the last Council Meeting.
Mr. Antalics pointed out that the traffic study prepared by
Taggart Associates did not consider the option of changing
lane lights based on traffic loads and it might be a viable
option. Mr. Antalics questioned how can one choose from the
best when there is only one option. Mr. Antalics thought the
option of reversible traffic flow lanes should be considered
before Council finalizes the matter. Mr. Antalics wondered
whether City officials are acting in the best interest of
Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, did not think it was a wise decision on the Five Points and One Way Pairs traffic plan, and that the matter should be postponed. Mr. Rodriquez thought that Council is being misled, and the best interests of the community are not being considered in the proposal. Mr. Rodriquez, highlighting the fact that he presented a petition signed by people in the Five Points area who are opposed to the proposal, questioned what will it take to convince Council that the people in the area do not want the proposed changes in the traffic plan. Mr. Rodriquez remarked that City officials are always saying the City does not have any money and yet $500,000 is being provided for the Five Points and One Way Pairs traffic plan. Mr. Rodriquez communicated that things were twisted in order to try to convince Council about the proposal. Mr. Rodriquez wondered whether there is concern for pedestrians. Noting it was discussed that if it does not work then it can be changed back, Mr. Rodriquez remarked that was done with the closing and then the reopening of Broad Street and it is wasted money. Asserting that $30,000 has been wasted on the plan from Taggart Associates and yet it is not the best plan, Mr. Rodriquez questioned what is it going to take to convince Council it is not the best plan and not in the interests of the community. Mr. Rodriquez asked that Council not allow this to happen and stressed it will be a mistake to follow the plan, it will not work, and a lot of people and businesses on the South Side will be hurt. Mr. Rodriquez asked Council not to vote for the proposal.
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, asked what the Resolution that was passed at the last City Council Meeting means for the project that directed a portion of the funding for the One Way Pairing-Five Points project, prior to beginning engineering and design of the One Way Pairing concept, to be used first for a traffic study of counterflow lanes through the intersections in the Five Points area so that the results can be compared with the One Way Pairs proposal to address traffic flow in the Five Points area.
Mr. Schweder, observing some people have said that since it is a Resolution it does not have standing, remarked that would mean the 12,000 plus Resolutions that Council has passed over the last 50 years have no standing. Mr. Schweder pointed out the Resolution was passed by a majority of Council and therefore it has standing.
President Donchez expressed his opinion, as was stated two weeks ago, that nothing will be implemented until the new ramp is built. President Donchez continued on to point out that, as was stated in the Resolution, if there are any new options to be explored they will be looked into prior to the construction of the ramp. President Donchez denoted the Resolution stated that the proposal of counterflow lanes should be implemented on a trial basis, and he would hope that the Resolution will be looked into. President Donchez added that when a legislative body passes something it should be enforced.
Mary Pongracz, 321 West Fourth Street, stressed there is no emergency mandating that Council approve the traffic plan. Ms. Pongracz asserted there are so many other things in the City that could use $500,000 such as code enforcement. Ms. Pongracz, highlighting the fact that she lives in the area, remarked that the traffic proposal does not solve anything and it creates another problem. Ms. Pongracz agreed that the best can only be the best if there is more than one proposition presented. Ms. Pongracz expressed it is unfair to blame Mr. Taggart for anything because he did what he was asked to do, although it was not to the liking of many people. Ms. Pongracz, expressing the hope that Council will table the matter until it has all the information needed, stressed the City cannot afford to make another mistake. She emphasized if Council votes on this plan it is making a big mistake.
Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, asked if the idea of not implementing the traffic plan prior to finishing the new ramp is included in the Ordinance or the Resolution.
President Donchez, responding no, explained one would want to be able to get a good scope of the traffic flow without the ramp. He continued on to say the new ramp, that would be placed almost where the old ramp was, will eliminate a lot of traffic at Third Street and Brodhead Avenue because there will not be the traffic flow coming down off the Hill to Hill Bridge.
Mr. Pfenning thought if everyone agrees with the idea of not implementing the traffic plan prior to finishing the new ramp then it could be included in the Ordinance or Resolution so that what seems to be a wise course will be followed.
6. OLD BUSINESS
Pumping Station – Lehigh River Bank
Mrs. Belinski reminded the Administration that the Army Corps of Engineers gave the City an ultimatum that the pumping station at the Lehigh River bank must be restored by April 2008. Mrs. Belinski inquired whether the City is asking for an extension.
Mayor Callahan replied the City is in discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers and there is nothing to report to Council tonight.
Mrs. Belinski, remarking that the $500,000 to be spent on the Five Points traffic plan could be used to reactivate the pumping station, stressed if the area that includes the casino on the South Side were to flood the City will not have to worry about the increase in traffic coming to the casino.
Signs - Diverting Traffic from Barnsdale Road to Macada Road
Mr. Reynolds, noting a few residents of Macada Road had contacted City Council, asked if the signs recently erected to divert Barnsdale Road traffic onto Macada Road will be there permanently. Mr. Reynolds thought that the issue on Barnsdale Road was related to speeding rather than the amount of traffic.
Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, advised that residents were complaining of both the speed and the amount of traffic. Mr. Alkhal explained the signs help with reducing speed and the amount of traffic on the road to what some feel is the appropriate amount of traffic. Mr. Alkhal noted the signs are planned to remain.
Mr. Reynolds, referring to the City’s inspections program, thought that for the 2009 budget the Administration should consider adding another Inspector for the Inspections Bureau.
8 . REPORTS
A. President of Council
1. Administrative Order – Dr. Anthony V. Matejicka,
II – Engineers and Electricians Civil
Mayor Callahan reappointed Dr. Anthony V. Matejicka, II to membership on the Engineers and Electricians Civil Service Board effective until February 2012. Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Reynolds sponsored Resolution 15,287 to confirm the appointment.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolution passed.
2. Administrative Order – Lee F. Snyder - Engineers and Electricians Civil Service Board
Mayor Callahan reappointed Lee F. Snyder to membership on the Engineers and Electricians Civil Service Board effective until February 2012. Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution 15,288 to confirm the appointment.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolution passed.
3. Administrative Order – Matthew Potts – Assistant City Solicitor
Mayor Callahan appointed Matthew Potts as Assistant City Solicitor effective as of April 1, 2008. Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Reynolds sponsored Resolution 15,289 to confirm the appointment.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolution passed.
C. Parks and Public Property Committee
Chairwoman Belinski presented an oral report of the Parks and Public Property Committee meeting held this evening, April 1, 2008 at 6:00 PM, prior to the City Council Meeting, on the following subject: Use Permit Agreement – Youth Athletic Organizations. After discussion of the proposed revised Agreement and additional proposed changes, the Committee unanimously tabled the proposed revised Agreement, requested that the Agreement be finalized by June 30, 2008, and suggested that the previous Use Permit Agreements that were terminated at the end of 2007 be re-executed for the interim.
9. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE
A. Bill No. 9 – 2008 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – Funding for Five Points Traffic Enhancement Plan and One-Way Pairs
The Clerk read Bill No. 9 – 2008 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – One-Way Pairing – Five Points, on Final Reading.
Mrs. Belinski, highlighting the fact that the services of school crossing guards are utilized to help students cross the streets, suggested that traffic police be used to address the traffic situation in the Five Points vicinity. Pointing out that the Southwest Community Police Substation is located close to the Five Points area, Mrs. Belinski noted that when traffic is lined up traveling down Wyandotte Street a few Officers could alternately change the signal lights with a remote control device. She emphasized this would cure the traffic problem very simply, and $2 million would not need to be spent.
Mr. Schweder advised that he will support the Bill tonight, and stated that Resolution 15,285 passed at the March 18, 2008 City Council Meeting to direct a portion of the funding for a traffic study of counterflow lanes through the intersections in the Five Points area does have standing. Mr. Schweder acknowledged it may well be that the One-Way Pairing plan to address the Five Points traffic issues could be the best one. Mr. Schweder communicated the only thing he is looking for is an honest test of various alternatives before the matter proceeds and he feels confident that will occur. Recounting he has stated for a long time that he has often considered that problems in the Five Points area have been caused by the left turn lane into the McDonald’s restaurant, Mr. Schweder notified the assembly that within the last two weeks he learned that PennDot never wanted to do that and that was forced upon them on behalf of the developer of McDonald’s. Mr. Schweder highlighted the fact that the One Way Pairing proposal does away with the left turn lane going into McDonald’s. Mr. Schweder expressed his thought that the counterflow lane study could be done in a matter of weeks at very little cost. Mr. Schweder continued on to point out that if it turns out that the One Way Pairs traffic plan does make the most sense then he will be supportive of it, but he did not think it was at that point now. Mr. Schweder further expressed the hope that if there are other ideas that were not considered they will be considered throughout the process so that the most intelligent, rational decision can be made based on what is thought to be best. Reiterating that he will support the Bill that contains the funding for the proposal, Mr. Schweder thought the funding should go forward and it can be used to look at other options or whatever else needs to be done.
Ms. Dolan reminded the Members that the plan was not launched
as a traffic plan but its original intent was a gateway enhancement
plan to improve the Five Points area in terms of pedestrian
safety, aesthetics, and parking. As Taggart Associates was
looking at the plan, it was realized that considering traffic
flow was key. Ms. Dolan highlighted the fact that traffic
engineers are the next people who will study it. She pointed
out that many options were studied with the assistance and
advice of traffic engineers. Observing that if the Ordinance
is approved tonight the plans will be studied further, Ms.
Dolan noted that under Mr. Schweder’s Resolution there
are specific options that will be studied and the recommendations
will be reported to Council, so there will be a second chance
to look at the plan. Ms. Dolan continued on to note that the
plan has to be reviewed by PennDot. Stating that currently
there are 85 one-way streets in the City according to the
Fire Department, Ms. Dolan pointed out that the Fire Department,
EMS Bureau, and the Police Department are in support of this
plan, along with Mr. Barron, Traffic Engineer, and St. Luke’s
Hospital, Sands BethWorks, South Side Vision 2012, Citizens
Traffic Advisory Committee, Planning
Commission, South Side Task Force, Lehigh University, LANTA, and the Downtown South Side Business District. Addressing comments that were made about moving ahead but not knowing what is being done, Ms. Dolan stressed that Council has taken quite a bit of advice and is moving forward judiciously, and she did not think anything is happening blindly. Ms. Dolan emphasized there are some intersections that are now rated C or B minus and if nothing is done then the ratings will go down in the future. In addition, factoring in casino traffic would mean failing intersections at a gateway. Ms. Dolan communicated she cannot sit back and wait to see what that will look like. Ms. Dolan stressed the time to move forward is now, and she will be voting yes on the Ordinance.
Mrs. Belinski denoted that some drivers going west on East Broad Street have many times tried to make a right turn onto Linden Street and there have been numerous near head-on crashes. Mrs. Belinski thought that one way traffic is far more dangerous than two way traffic. Mrs. Belinski pointed out that traffic police, which she had suggested earlier, are utilized in Atlantic City to control traffic. Mrs. Belinski reiterated there is a simple solution that is to put traffic police there to control the lights and the traffic will flow, in addition to removing the left hand turn at McDonald’s.
Mr. Reynolds commented that the issue is not just about moving traffic through the neighborhood but to improve a neighborhood, give business more parking, and make it easier for people to cross the streets. Mr. Reynolds agreed that the left turn lane at McDonald’s was not a good idea, and there is the opportunity to improve that. Mr. Reynolds pointed out that consultants are hired to consider options and then come forward with the option they feel is the best. Mr. Reynolds, acknowledging there are a lot of positives and negatives with the plan, stated it is not a panacea. Mr. Reynolds, while noting there are people who will not be happy with the decision, said there is a bigger risk in not moving forward. Mr. Reynolds added the area is owed the chance to be successful and to have the same type of livable and safe neighborhood as those throughout the City.
President Donchez recalled that the issue was debated since
2003 and there has been a lot of input and discussion since
that time by many parties. President Donchez advised he was
looking at public safety, pedestrian safety, and traffic flow
that are important aspects. In addition to the construction
of the new ramp, President Donchez thought when the casino
construction at BethWorks is completed then First and Second
Streets will have to be used as major arteries in and out
of the complex. President Donchez noted he would expect some
changes in the plan as it moves forward in the process. In
addition, President Donchez thought in the future a road will
be built to the rear of St. Luke’s Hospital near Riverside
Road. President Donchez communicated it is the best plan at
the moment and he will vote yes on the funding.
Voting AYE: Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 5. Voting NAY: Mrs. Belinski, 1. Bill No. 9 – 2008, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4478, was declared adopted.
10. NEW ORDINANCES
A. Bill No. 10 – 2008 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – Emergency Web-Based Broadcasting System
The Clerk read Bill No. 10 – 2008 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – Emergency Web-Based Broadcasting System, sponsored by Ms. Dolan and Mr. Reynolds, and titled:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM,
COUNTIES OF LEHIGH AND NORTHAMPTON,
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AMENDING
THE 2008 CAPITAL BUDGET FOR NON-UTILITIES.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. Bill No. 10 – 2008 was declared passed on First Reading.
B. Bill No. 11 – 2008 – Amending Community Development Budget – Revisions and Year-End Adjustments to CDBG and HOME Programs
The Clerk read Bill No. 11 – 2008 – Amending Community Development Budget –Revisions and Year-End Adjustments to CDBG and HOME Programs, sponsored by Ms. Dolan and Mr. Reynolds, and titled:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM,
COUNTIES OF LEHIGH AND NORTHAMPTON,
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AMENDING
THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BUDGET FOR
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. Bill No. 11 – 2008 was declared passed on First Reading.
A. Approving Application for Preserve America Community Designation
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution 15,290
in support of the City’s application for designation
as a Preserve America community to improve the City's ability
to protect and promote its historical resources. The goals
of the Program, that is a White House initiative developed
in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,
the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department
of Commerce, include a greater shared knowledge of the Nation's
past, preserving the country's irreplaceable cultural and
natural heritage assets, and economic vitality of communities.
Bethlehem recognized the importance of these initiatives,
having created the State's first local ordinance historic
district in 1961.
Ms. Dolan expressed her excitement about the City applying for the program, and noted an intern is working on the application and it is not costing the City money to prepare it. Ms. Dolan commented it would be a boon to the City and add to the City’s list of accolades that could be used in marketing the City.
(Note: There was no Resolution 11 B)
C. Amending Rules of Council
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution 15,291 that amended the Rules of Council, as follows:
Rule 1. - The time of City Council Meetings is changed from 7:30 P.M to 7:00 P.M.
Rule 2. - a Vice President is added; and the terms of office of The President of Council and the Vice President are set at no more than two consecutive terms.
Rule 3. A - The order of business is amended to add under
Old Business: Tabled Items and
Rule 3. C which reads as follows is deleted and the subsequent sections renumbered: Courtesy of the floor shall be extended by the presiding officer first to citizens of the City of Bethlehem, and thereafter, to all other individuals who wish to address Council.
Rule 3. D is amended to change the word citizens to individuals.
Rule 4. - written Resolutions or Bills are to be delivered to the City Clerk’s Office by Noon of the Thursday preceding the Council meeting instead of Friday.
Rule 5. Speakers under Courtesy of the Floor can address
the President of Council or the Council as a Whole.
Rule 6. B is amended to state that: Ordinances will be numbered serially by year, a catalog will be prepared with the list of Ordinances passed each year, along with the title; and Resolutions will follow the same format and procedure.
Rule 6. E is amended to add the reference to The Ethics Act,
Act 93 of 1998 for definition of a conflict of interest.
Rule 6. I is amended to state that the City Clerk’s office will work with the City Webmaster to update Ordinances and Resolutions on the City’s website.
Rule 7. is amended to add the reference to Rule 6 E - The Ethics Act, Act 93 of 1998 regarding disclosing a conflict of interest.
Rule 8. – The Council Committees duties are updated, as follows:
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - Housing Authority is deleted; health, code violations, and recycling are added.
HUMAN RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT - health, code violations, recycling, and ambulance service are deleted; Housing Authority is added.
PARKS AND PUBLIC PROPERTY - mechanical maintenance is deleted.
PUBLIC SAFETY - ambulance service is added
PUBLIC WORKS – landfill is deleted; water treatment plant, and mechanical maintenance are added.
The last sentence is amended to read that The President of Council shall serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of all committees, except in the case of a tie.
New Rule 13 is added to read as follows: City Council members, while carrying out the duties for which they were elected, shall follow all directives of the Code of Ethics resolution, No. 11,471.
President Donchez thanked Ms. Dolan and Mr. Mowrer for co-chairing the Special Council Committee and the members of the Special Council Committee. President Donchez observed that some of the changes were being followed but were not revised in the Resolution, and noted that the Committee duties needed to be updated. President Donchez advised that the Resolution, if passed this evening, would go into effect for the next City Council Meeting. President Donchez stated that the changes, if passed, would be placed on the City’s website, and a summary will be available for the public at the next City Council Meeting. President Donchez pointed out that the biggest change would be to start City Council Meetings at 7:00 PM instead of 7:30 PM, and the time change would be effective for the April 15, 2008 City Council Meeting prior to which there is a Committee of the Whole meeting at 6:00 PM to receive updates on Musikfest and ArtsQuest.
Considering Resolutions 11 D through 11 F As A Group
Mr. Schweder and Mr. Mowrer moved to consider Resolutions 11 D through 11 F as a group. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The motion passed.
D. Authorizing Records Destruction – Controller's Office
Ms. Dolan and Mr. Reynolds sponsored Resolution 11 D that authorized the disposition of the public records from the Controller’s Office as listed in Exhibit A, according to schedules and procedures for the disposition of records as set forth in the Municipal Records Manual approved on July 16, 1993 and Resolution 13,076.
E. Authorizing Records Destruction – Bureau of Purchasing
Ms. Dolan and Mr. Reynolds sponsored Resolution 11 E that authorized the disposition of the public records from the Bureau of Purchasing as listed in Exhibit A, according to schedules and procedures for the disposition of records as set forth in the Municipal Records Manual approved on July 16, 1993 and Resolution 13,076.
F. Authorizing Records Destruction – Department of Water and Sewer Resources
Ms. Dolan and Mr. Reynolds sponsored Resolution 11 F that authorized the disposition of the public records from the Department of Water and Sewer Resources as listed in Exhibit A, according to schedules and procedures for the disposition of records as set forth in the Municipal Records Manual approved on July 16, 1993 and Resolution 13,076.
Mr. Schweder, commenting he does not have a problem so much with the records from the Department of Water and Sewer Resources proposed to be destroyed, communicated he is not sure that the destruction of the financial history of the City is the smartest thing to do since the financial records would be destroyed forever. In light of technologies available today, Mr. Schweder thought it should be considered whether there should be a way to preserve those types of documents such as by scanning and placing them in archives. Mr. Schweder expressed the hope that the Administration would look into the matter. Mr. Schweder stated he will oppose this matter tonight as he is not sure that financial records should be destroyed any more.
Ms. Dolan, observing that financial records are easily saved to various drives and backups, asked whether the City is doing this currently.
Dennis Reichard, Business Administrator, advised the current records are being saved with backups. However, these records were reviewed by the Law Bureau, and there is a specific schedule for how long records must be retained.
John F. Spirk, Jr., Esq., City Solicitor, affirmed that the Law Bureau reviews records destruction requests to determine whether they are in compliance with the State law that specifies what is legally allowed to be destroyed. Attorney Spirk added, as to the wisdom of whether someone wants to destroy records even though they are legally allowed to, that he does not review.
Tabling Resolutions 11 D, 11 E and 11 F
Mr. Schweder moved to Table Resolutions 11 D, 11 E, and 11 F. Mrs. Belinski seconded the motion. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Schweder, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The motion passed.
President Donchez asked the Administration to look into the questions that were raised and respond prior to the next City Council Meeting.
In response to the Mayor, President Donchez advised the questions are can the various documents be saved, how far back are documents being destroyed, as well as requesting a review of the process.
Mr. Reynolds wondered about the cost and manpower to save the records.
Mayor Callahan noted there is a shortage of space in City Hall, and someone would have to be paid to scan the documents.
Mr. Schweder, commenting he would wait to see what the cost is, observed if the information is in the computer system already then it would seem easy to save it. Advising he does not have as much of a problem with Resolution 11 F, Mr. Schweder restated he has some concerns about records to be destroyed by the Controller’s Office and other documents that have been destroyed over the years. Mr. Schweder pointed out he is not requesting that every document be saved.
Ms. Dolan asked if the documents are saved somewhere else.
Mr. Reichard, confirming that documents are backed up, highlighted the fact that there are hundreds of boxes of documents in a storage area in City Hall that need to be reviewed in order to determine what can be destroyed. Mr. Reichard explained that some of the old records are what come before Council for approval of destruction. In addition, there are boxes of documents in the basement.
Ms. Dolan questioned why the boxes need to be saved if the information can be backed up on the server and a disc.
12. NEW BUSINESS
Committee Meeting Announcements
Chairman Mowrer announced a Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 PM on the following subjects: Amending Police Civil Service Rules and Regulations - Appointment and Examination - Promotion Procedures; Establishing Article 314 - Security Cameras; and Updates from Police, Fire, and EMS Departments.
13. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR
Diverting Traffic from Barnsdale Road to Macada Road
Terry Larimer, 928 East Macada Road, affirmed that he sent an e-mail to the Members of Council concerning the change of traffic patterns that divert Barnsdale Road traffic onto Macada Road. Mr. Larimer recalled that in the past the City had considered widening Macada Road but that was not possible due to the fact that the roadway which was built in the 1800’s is very narrow with structures built up to it and there is a cemetery across the street. Since the State declared Macada Road an unsafe highway, children are picked up by school bus although they are within legal walking distance of schools. Mr. Larimer explained there is no pedestrian traffic at his end of the roadway because it is impossible to walk in the vicinity. Due to the nature of the roadway, the City required the developer at the time to extend Johnston Drive all the way through to Linden Street to take traffic off Macada Road. The developer of Barnsdale Road was prohibited by the Planning Commission to put a cul-de-sac at the end of the development and Barnsdale Road had to be extended to Linden Street and had to connect with Butztown Road in order to take the traffic off Macada Road. The developer had to pay for a traffic light, plus the widening of the street and the left hand lane, in addition to the fact that development lots were lost, and the cost of the lots decreased due to heavy traffic. Mr. Larimer highlighted the fact that now the City has put traffic back on Macada Road with the traffic pattern change, and asked what was done to authorize this change to divert traffic from Barnsdale Road to Macada Road rather than having traffic travel on Barnsdale Road that was designed for the specific purpose of taking traffic off Macada Road. Mr. Larimer observed the City is incurring liability unnecessarily. Mr. Larimer further informed the Members that a nursery school is planned to be built on Macada Road.
Bruce Thomas, 934 East Macada Road, explained that not only will there be increased traffic from the nursery school planned to be built on Macada Road but there is already a lot of foot traffic on Macada Road which has no curbs and no sidewalks, and pedestrians have to walk in the street. In the section of Macada Road where Mr. Thomas and Mr. Larimer live that is located between Altonah Road and Linden Street, two of the oldest houses were built across from each other on either side on the road with no setbacks and there is a narrowing of the road in that one block area. Mr. Thomas highlighted the fact that this is where the traffic is being channeled rather than Barnsdale Road.
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, thought the easiest solution would be traffic enforcement. He commented that traffic humps are used in certain sections of the City to slow traffic, and said it might make sense to use the equipment recently acquired that displays the speed of travel in the neighborhood. Otherwise, Mr. Grubb stated that a speed trap could be set up. Mr. Grubb communicated he could not understand why traffic was being diverted back on to Macada Road that is very narrow. Mr. Grubb added that the speed limit on Barnsdale Road could be lowered.
Stop Sign - Eaton Avenue at Kaywin Avenue
Bill Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, noted he tried several years ago to get a stop sign on Eaton Avenue at Kaywin Avenue, since he was told by a Police Officer that traffic on Eaton Avenue between Eighth Avenue and Beverly Avenue reaches 65 miles per hour. Mr. Scheirer observed it seems to be easier to get stop signs on much less traveled streets in other parts of the City.
New Ramp; Traffic Lights; McDonald’s; Stop Sign; and One Way Streets
Chuck Nyul, 1966 Pinehurst Road, questioned why a new Third Street ramp is being installed.
Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, affirming it is a ramp at Second Street, explained the awkwardness of the existing intersection that is less than safe with a less than desirable level of service, and the confusion it presents for motorists unfamiliar with the area where the ramp meets Third Street. Mr. Alkhal advised it is part of an overall plan devised by the State to make improvements in the entire area. Mr. Alkhal confirmed to Mr. Nyul that the two traffic lights will be moved forward.
Mr. Nyul thought the two lights could take care of Brighton Street that could become west to east so motorists could make a left hand turn onto the Hill to Hill Bridge.
Mr. Nyul wondered if any City officials called McDonald’s restaurant to ask whether they want to move the restaurant across the corner where there is now a vacant lot.
Mr. Nyul noted there is one stop sign on Pinehurst Road between Kelchner Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, there was a tree in front of his house that was hit twice, and the traffic travels very fast.
Mr. Nyul highlighted the fact that there are many one way streets in Allentown and the traffic patterns work well.
Musikfest; Gambling Impact Study Commission
Wade Haubert, President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Star Lodge 20, commented that Musikfest continues to grow every year but there has not been an increase in the staffing of Police Officers hired by Musikfest in the last 5-10 years. Mr. Haubert commented that a critical assessment will have to be done this year. Mr. Haubert advised that the FOP’s Treasurer and President have the authority to agree with anything concerning the FOP, and he looks forward to working with the Administration to discuss safety concerns related to Musikfest.
Mr. Haubert recalled that the results of the Gambling Impact Study Commission were to be provided, and wondered when the study would be released so that the public can offer comment on it.
Mayor Callahan advised there is no comment on the matter.
Five Points and One Way Pairs Traffic Plan; Drugs
Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, said there is a lot of dumping in the City, and added that the annual spring cleanup was not enough. Mr. Rodriquez asserted that Council made a bad mistake tonight in approving the funding for the Five Points and One Way Pairs traffic plan, and a lot of people will be hurt by the plan. He stated that traffic will find alternate routes on narrow streets where children play. Mr. Rodriquez stressed that he showed pictures to Members of Council but they were ignored. Mr. Rodriquez communicated that business owners and residents feel they are not worth the time of City officials, and he remarked that the Members did not take the time to go out and see what the problems are and to be part of the community. He thought that Polk Street should be considered as an alternate route.
Mr. Rodriquez advised that the drug problem in the City is very bad. He thought more money should be invested in cameras.
Five Points and One Way Pairs Traffic Plan
Mary Pongracz, 321 West Fourth Street, remarked what she saw tonight was a total repudiation of what she believes democracy is, and it was an absolute disgrace. Ms. Pongracz stressed that everyone who spoke about the Five Points and One Way Pairs Traffic Plan spoke against the project, and wondered why she is wasting her time speaking to Council when Council does not pay attention to the residents. Ms. Pongracz questioned how dare Council vote against the people who pay taxes, raise children, and work and live in the City. Ms. Pongracz highlighted the fact that the Members of Council do not live in her neighborhood, and asserted it is an injustice to the people who live there. Ms. Pongracz remarked the City has no money and yet has $500,000 to throw away on the traffic plan. She stated how dare Council denigrate those who spoke against the motion, and do this to the people who live there. Ms. Pongracz highlighted the fact that she has no trouble walking out of her house or on her sidewalk due to traffic. Ms. Pongracz exclaimed this is the biggest slap in the face to the citizens of Bethlehem, and Council has the nerve to tell the residents what they need. Ms. Pongracz said this is an insult to every citizen of the City. Ms. Pongracz, commenting that people are expected to come to Council Meetings and give their opinions, asserted why bother because Council does not listen.
Louise Valeriano, 3114 East Boulevard, pointed out when traveling from St. Luke’s Hospital onto Delaware Avenue heading north there is bumper to bumper traffic after 3:00 p.m. She highlighted the fact that in order to get to Fourth Street under the One Way traffic plan because the portion of Fourth Street will be made one way she will have to go on many streets including Wyandotte Street that is filled with traffic. Ms. Valeriano observed it is ridiculous to make one block of West Fourth Street one way. Ms. Valeriano questioned how cars will be able to move over on the one way streets when emergency vehicles travel against traffic, and stressed that is not a safe thing to do.
Shaw Street – Conditions
Ms. Valeriano, noting a group of people are trying to rejuvenate St. Michael’s Cemetery, advised there is a small street called Shaw Street in the vicinity and the condition is terrible. There are deep mud ruts on the street, trucks dump garbage at the turnaround and the area is filled with furniture boxes, and there is a dumpster filled with garbage bags over the top. Questioning why the area is allowed to be in this condition, Ms. Valeriano asked that the matter be looked into.
City Documents; Five Points and One Way Pairs Traffic Plan; and Garbage on South Side
Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, commented that the Library may be able to scan documents for the City.
Mr. Antalics, referring to comments of Ms. Dolan, said traffic consultants did not look at alternative plans in their study. Mr. Antalics remarked that something which is very critical but was never looked into was to come into Bethlehem from the top of Wyandotte Street hill to Black River Road and to Lynn Avenue. Mr. Antalics pointed out that the creation of South Boulevard where the Greenway is to be located, which would totally take traffic off Wyandotte Street and would feed into the Second Street Ramp, was not considered because the Five Points Traffic Enhancement Study report did not look at anything in the past. Mr. Antalics felt the consultants negated their responsibility to the City. Mr. Antalics pointed out that City officials listened to the consultants rather than to the citizens.
Mr. Antalics, advising he has contacted the City about trash on the streets in the South Side, stated he reported 5 to 7 tires in front of a fire hydrant at his property, and bags of discarded matting for rugs. Mr. Antalics continued on to advise that the curbs at Atlantic Street and other streets are filthy. Mr. Antalics said when he drives through the North Side he does not see these conditions. Mr. Antalics further advised that the wooded area at Eighth Street is a dumping ground.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.