According to the Morning Call
The $64.7 million project, which will stretch to November 2020, will ultimately replace three bridges and widen the highway from four lanes to six. PennDOT is requiring lane closings to come only at night, but planning officials warn that no project this big comes without pain.
Needed and long overdue. However if we continue on the same path we’re on its essentially a bandaid. Moving forward unless we’re prepared to repeat the same conversation in another decade we have to get land use policy under control.
This is because… induced demand is a thing. In the world of traffic improvements it’s been proven time and time again. What it means is basically improvements are forced because of existing capacity issues. Problem is those same improvements just generate more induced demand instead of forcing a self correction in terms of land development practices. This leads to a vicious and expensive circle. 6 lanes today is a band-aid for a few years. But we’ll need 8 lanes tomorrow.
Remember when I-78 the last “big fix” was the end game?
Meanwhile we continue to lose the character that makes the Lehigh Valley a special place. The reason so many move here.
Lower Macungie – We’re a part of the problem.
Since 2010, Lower Macungie has rezoned over 850 acres of land for more intense development.
For starters, Lower Macungie will generate 800 more residential units than were ever planned for, nearly 4+ million square feet of warehousing and a couple hundred thousand additional square feet of commercial.
Strategic planning? How can you possibly plan for such a moving target?
Lower Macungie is definitely in part responsible for the expensive mess we are in. But we certainly aren’t alone. Other communities are as well. Moving forward unless we want to plan to throw another billion dollars at Rt. 22 or some other massively expensive capacity project for 8 lanes in another decade we have to get land use decisions under control across the Lehigh Valley. Remember, in a world where state and federal funding is less and less reliable eventually the pain could very well be felt more intensely at the local to fund these improvements. Personally, I think that is the most likely scenario.