Allentown Should Legalize Skateboarding Downtown

Banning skateboarding in downtown Allentown is a seriously bad idea. Allentown should be embracing the Lehigh Valley’s national reputation as a skateboarding/BMX destination like Bethlehem is, not working at cross purposes with it. I would go hard in the opposite direction. What if the city oriented more public infrastructure around skateboarding? Or private infrastructure through zoning?

More curbs, railings and sides of buildings could be built or retrofitted to serve both their standard purpose and as skateboarding infrastructure. The city could build a skatepark with several big bowls and a 360-degree loop on one of the surface parking lots near center city:

Councilman Ray O’Connell said by putting all the laws under the Neighborhood Improvement Ordinance — which specifically addresses quality of life — it will make penalties uniform and make it easier for city residents to find.

The ordinance prohibits skateboarding between Walnut and Linden streets and Fourth and 12th Streets, as well as at night in all areas of Allentown.

O’Connell said skateboarders are a particular problem at the Arts Park at Fifth and Linden streets, as well as on the front steps of Allentown school buildings.

He said it would benefit the city to consider a skateboard park in the future, along the lines of the Bethlehem Skateplaza that opened in July 2010 across from Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

“Skateboarders are a problem in many places” in Allentown, O’Connell said.

“So hopefully, in the future, we can look at a skate park and getting them all in one spot.”

(Thanks: Colin McEvoy)

What Should Allentown Do If Townships Kill the NIZ?

Go big: raise all city revenue from the land value tax. Scrap all other taxes and most other fees, and only tax land. Persuade the school district to do the same thing. Don’t have an earned income tax at all, on residents or commuters. Become a tax haven.