This public participation also included a survey of 800 Lehigh Valley residents, performed by Muhlenberg Colleges's Institute of Public Opinion, who were asked questions about challenges to the, economy, environment, transportation and livable communities. People would most like to see better-paying jobs; clean air and water; better roads; and more quality housing for working families.
Jobs. - Over the past five years, the biggest gains in employment have been in the healthcare and social services industry. There are also 4,567 new transportation and warehousing jobs. Many of these jobs, however, are in industrial parks away from the cities. Though agri-business is considered an emerging job market, the Lehigh Valley has lost 80% of its farms and 53% of its farmland since 1930.
City or Suburb? - According to former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, the move to the suburbs is “over.” Not in the Lehigh Valley. Between 1980 and 2010. Lehigh Valley townships and boroughs are responsible for 87% of the population increase. Most people - 57% - live in single family detached homes. Whether it is city or 'burb, 89% of Lehigh Valley residents are within bicycle distance of schools and stores (2 miles). Only 15% of the Lehigh Valley, however is within walking distance, calculated at 1/4 mile, of a school or grocer.
Public Health Rate. - Out of 67 counties, Lehigh County is ranked #19 and Northampton County #21. Northampton County has more morbidity (#53) than Lehigh (#35), but strangely is ranked higher in health behaviors.
Bethlehem's Eastern Gateway. - Darlene Heller, Bethlehem's Director of Planning, explained changes at Bethlehem's Eastern Gateway, which extends east from the Skateplaza and includes the greenway in South Side Bethlehem, between 3rd and 4th Streets.
Southside Steely was there, too, proving that even super heroes believe in good planning.