Introducing an inspiring new corridor that links cities, townships, and neighboring boroughs with revolutionary new districts to create a health transportation system with options for different modes of travel.
Riverside Drive is made possible by Public-Private Partnership. The Partnership manifests the potential of underutilized urban land by pairing of public entity expertise with the resources of private enterprise to increase pedestrian safety, create equity, mitigate climate change, reduce traffic congestion, and forge a path toward future opportunity.
The Riverside Drive Multimodal Revitalization Corridor is a 3-mile project that will create a robust, multimodal commuting, emergency management, and equitable access corridor stretching from the City of Allentown through Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania. The driving theme behind this shovel-ready project is providing safe, healthy, and efficient transportation mode choices by connecting roadways, transit, sidewalks, and trails into a more equitable and sustainable system.
The 2021 RAISE Grant Application is being submitted by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC). The Application can be downloaded via the following links. Additional reports and materials are available in subsequent sections.
The Riverside Drive Multimodal Revitalization Corridor Project has received overwhelming support from its Partners, Stakeholders, and regional Legislators. Letters of Support can be downloaded here:
In addition to improving pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion, and uniting the northern and southern legs of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L Trail), the Riverside Drive project will allow for further ties into the September 11th national memorial Trail.
The Public-Private Partnership has collectively contributed a range of supporting plans and studies to verify the benefits of the Riverside Drive project. Respective reports are available by entity:
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) in 2019 released the region’s fifth comprehensive plan. FutureLV establishes goals, policies and actions designed to carry the region through 2045 and beyond, but it will be updated every four years to account for the changes of a successful and growing region. FutureLV refreshes a 2005 plan that had substantial updates in 2010, and is among the first comprehensive plans in the nation that merges the land use, economic, environmental, housing, preservation and farming policies with the transportation planning and investment policies of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study. FutureLV cover’s both Lehigh and Northampton counties, creating a forward-thinking strategy that leads the region into the future, while addressing the needs of today.
Walk/RollLV is the Lehigh Valley’s first ever transportation network masterplan aimed at creating a connected road, trail, sidewalk and transit network that’s safe and convenient for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and transit users.
Equity means that all people have the same access to the housing, education, employment and transportation resources and opportunities that are essential to quality of life. It is important to allow everyone to reach their full potential and contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of the region. Opportunity refers to the resources and assets needed to achieve success. However, access to opportunity is not equal region-wide. Equity is vital to supporting a sustainable region. An equitable region is more successful and productive because there are more hands and brains contributing to the betterment of the region. For this analysis, Equity among different Lehigh Valley populations was calculated using a mix of 14 homeownership, transportation, employment, poverty and education data sets.
The Green Infrastructure Guidelines document was prepared in conjunction with the Monocacy Creek Watershed Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan Update, 2017. The Guidelines are important for reinforcing the message of the outstanding natural resources present in the Lehigh Valley and their wide variety of essential services and benefits to local residents and visitors, describing the best practices available for community and site design to preserve or enhance those resources, and defining improved stormwater management site design practices to better mimic natural systems. The Guidelines provide 1) an overview of green infrastructure at a regional scale and the associated benefits and 2) engineering guidance for site-specific stormwater management practices to help designers understand and comply with the water balance and green infrastructure provisions of the updated Act 167 Ordinance.
This sidewalk inventory is the first of its kind for the Lehigh Valley region and intends to provide an assessment of sidewalk connectivity. Among the many beneficial applications to this study is one main goal: to promote an interconnected network of pedestrian-accessible transportation corridors. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) has analyzed the results of this inventory against both the transit stop inventory in an effort to identify significant gaps and the trail inventory to identify opportunities for future connectivity. Sidewalk gaps represent a significant barrier to accessibility. This report will lay the groundwork for a future regional bicycle and pedestrian planning study, which municipalities can use to underpin a variety of additional multimodal activities. This study will support the prioritization of projects, inform funding decisions; support comprehensive planning efforts; support bicycle and pedestrian; and parks, recreation, and open space initiatives. The results are available to our state, regional, and municipal partners, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Lehigh, and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANta), Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape, health officials, and school districts. In addition, the inventory will be readily available in an easy-to-access online format, which will serve as a tool for future planning and prioritization.
The City of Allentown’s Re-Industrialization Plan outlines a demonstrable strategy to create economic competitiveness and align job-creating goals to the skill sets of the city’s workforce. This occurs through the leveraging of existing and new resources, like infrastructure, to encourage reinvestment in low-income neighborhoods. The plan addresses five of the six HUD Livability Principles: encouraging mode shift, transportation choice, and the physical infrastructure necessary to support re-industrialization; building on the area’s existing economic strength to become more competitive; supporting the existing low-income community through job creation aligned with educational attainment and experience; leveraging federal policies through reuse and revitalization of the existing economy and infrastructure; and valuing the communities and neighborhoods in the City’s industrial districts by avoiding displacement and by reusing sites not occupied by residences.
The Lehigh Valley received a $3.4 million HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant in 2011. Using the award monies, a broadly represented regional consortium, called Envision Lehigh Valley, worked continuously from 2011 to 2015 to develop a strategic implementation plan with a specific focus on quality of life improvements related to land use, transportation, and economic development. The final result included 21 plans and projects focused on four interrelated themes: economy, environment, transportation, and livable communities. Several important Envision Lehigh Valley plans support the Riverside Drive Multimodal Revitalization Corridor Project.
LANta created a Transit Supportive Land Use Plan for the Lehigh Valley, also a part of Envision Lehigh Valley. This plan targets services, sidewalks, site planning, and centers as four vital components of transit-friendly development. Municipalities play an essential role in transit-friendly development by encouraging the density appropriate for desired service levels. An area’s population and employment densities help determine the placement or intensity of bus service and route type. The Riverside Drive Multimodal Revitalization Corridor pursues transportation equity in its development decision-making by comprehensively considers the need for walking, biking, and transit.
Enhanced Bus/Bus Rapid Transit
The Lehigh Valley Enhanced Bus/Bus Rapid Transit will benefit current riders, expand the transit market and attract new riders, promote the revitalization of the Lehigh Valley’s urban core, maximize productivity and increase equity throughout the Lehigh Valley. This effort is in response to growth in population and vehicle traffic and will encourage sustainable growth throughout Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) supported the specific work of the Re-Industrialization Plan in A Blueprint for Success: An Economic Development Strategy for Sustainable Growth in the Lehigh Valley, the agency’s region-wide exploration on strategies to attract and retain companies, build a talented workforce and support new investment. The City of Allentown’s and LVEDC’s efforts now provide the region a blueprint to expand the talent pipeline and cultivate a highly-skilled workforce. Their efforts intend to leverage the region’s many assets to attract high-quality jobs to the entire Riverside Drive Multimodal Revitalization Corridor project area that will increase economic opportunities for all residents, consistent with multiple HUD Livability Principles.
The Waterfront is an inspiring new development spanning twenty-nine acres of land within the City of Allentown’s urban limits. The former brownfield site will be fully remediated and will transform the former home to Lehigh Structural Steel into a dynamic 1,250,000 square foot mixed-use campus, comprised of twelve new buildings. The Waterfront will be home to 2,800 new employees, 750 new residents, and will introduce a host of dining, shopping, and recreational opportunities to help drive tourism to Pennsylvania’s third-largest city.
The Public-Private Partnership has collectively contributed a range of environmental studies to verify the current and future safety of Riverside Drive and its related projects:
The Waterfront Development Company purchased three-and-a-half miles of former rail line in 2015 and has since worked with local municipalities to develop the underutilized land into a three-lane roadway. More information on the acquisition and land is available here: