Friday, April 01, 2016
Bethlehem's New Parking Deck
"You're going to the meeting in Bethlehem tonight, aren't you?"
"Wasn't planning on it."
I was coaxed into going, especially when this friend told me he had a super secret study that shows that the world as we know it will end if a parking deck goes up next to Dennis Benner's approved building at Third and New.
"Send me the study."
"You got it. It's on its way."
It never came.
"Send me the frickin' study."
"Rightyo. It's on its way."
It never came.
I decided to go to the meeting, mostly because I bought a digital voice recorder and wanted to try it out. A reporter I admire very much uses one, and I'm a copycat.
I walked in at town hall at 7 pm, and the meeting was already well underway. My friend had given me the wrong frickin' time.
Because I was late, no one could run from me, and I sat my fat ass right next to Alicia Miller Karner. She's in charge of the City's economic development and I like her very much.To be honest, I am a little bit afraid of her. But it seems that every time I write a story about Bethlehem, she gets in trouble. So I tried to make amends last night.
"Do you come here often?" I asked.
"Shut up, Bernie."
The Berkenstocks were there, too, in all their glory. The Marxist from South Side Initiative, Breena Holland,and Al Wurth, who reminded everyone about 15 times that he's a college professor.
They're in "the sky is falling" camp, along with most everyone else.
I'm in the "You better hope this plan succeeds or it will be a long time before there's any development in the South Side" camp. By myself.
I've already sat in on two meetings in which this project as discussed to death. At the Planning Commission, my little head finally exploded. I'm not a college professor, but a bottom-feeding blogger. But before that happened, I distinctly remember St. Luke's explaining that there had to be a parking deck next to the Benner building and there had to be an elevated walkway as well. This is because they would be seeing pre- and post-operative patients who are not exactly ready to run a marathon.
In spite of what was clearly said, Al Wurth and Breena Holland's solution is to shuttle everyone in from parking lots located 14 miles away. They must want to set up some sort of gurney express.
My head exploded again.
Incidentally, the super secret parking study was available as a handout. I picked up a copy. I'll be reading that over the weekend, and will give you a serious report on this matter on Monday.
But I was mostly screwing with my voice recorder.
The Council member who dominated discussion the most?
Shawn Martell. 19 minutes. He beat Bryan Callahan by four minutes. But Shawn can be forgiven because he ran a very good meeting. If someone went over the five minutes by thirty seconds or so, he did not freak out. Also, both Callahan and Willie Reynolds engaged members of the public from time to time, so people did not feel like they were talking to a wall.
One resident made some terrific points about these goofy Historic Commissions that seem to be like Big Brother in so many communities. I'll be writing about that, too.