One NY family who visited the Lehigh Valley this weekend draws an interesting distinction between Bethlehem and Easton. Unlike Bethlehem, Easton had free parking this holiday weekend and will continue free parking on weekends until Christmas. Here's a letter she sent to Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez:
My family and I visited the Lehigh Valley area this weekend for Black Friday shopping. We shopped in Easton, Bethlehem and the Sands outlets; we spent more than $2,000 supporting your local businesses. While Mayor Panto enabled visitors to shop this weekend by suspending meter parking, we were surprised to received a $10 parking ticket while supporting some of your local shops on 3rd Street in Bethlehem on November 24.I am informed Mayor Donchez has informed her he will discuss this matter with the Executive Director of the Parking Authority. That discussion should have been had a long time ago.
I will pay this ticket since I did break the law by not feeding the meter. Next year, we will shop in the towns that provide visitors with a suspended meter courtesy while supporting your local businesses. Downtown Bethlehem is scratched from our shopping stops.
Don't leave here thinking Easton is blameless. Mayor Sal Panto does deserve credit for suspending parking enforcement over the holiday season. But as Terrence Miller observes in a recent letter to the editor, Easton has pretty much failed to improve the infrastructure in its neighborhoods.
To put it in perspective, while the city leverages debt by giving away a $6 million parcel of land to the Da Vinci Science City project within a $30 million commitment, bank rolls $360,000 on behalf of Billy's Diner fit-out while losing millions of dollars on the City Hall and Transportation Center, it can't afford a mere $15,000 for traffic-calming signs to protect children from speeding cars on a single street that cuts through the West Ward.