Fantasy Urbanist Agenda for Bethlehem’s 2014-2018 Mayoral Term

In no particular order:

– Implement all of Jeff Speck’s walkability report recommendations (some of which are in this list)

– Form-based zoning code to replace the new already-arcane zoning code

– Infill all the surface parking lots along 3rd Street, 4th Street and the Greenway with mixed-use retail and apartments

– New iconic buildings for the empty lot and gas station parcels at the bottom of the Fahy Bridge

More infill housing and retail in the Northside neighborhoods

– Scotch the anti-competitive mobile food vendor laws, create a revolving loan fund for new mobile vendor businesses

– Replace the Southside Conservation District with a more limited list of protected buildings, reduce obstacles to demolishing old-but-ugly buildings

– Single hauler trash collection

-Fahy Bridge bike-ped makeover

– Connect New St. to Fahy Bridge by building a huge staircase down the hill from City Hall Plaza

– Road diet for W. Broad Street

– Turn Center Street into a two-way street near downtown

– Free Bus Rapid Transit loop around Bethlehem, and between Bethlehem and Allentown along W. Broad

Performance parking

– End minimum parking requirements for all uses

Split-rate real estate tax, with lower tax on improvements and higher tax on land

– Hoover-Mason Trestle Park, funded with value capture


  1. Thank god you’re fringe. This would destroy Bethlehem.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      LOL how so? Lots of this stuff is in the walkability report that the city commissioned. It would raise land values, stabilize revenue, reduce the cost of transportation and rents, reduce car-dependence and create a bunch of nice new landmarks and amenities.

  2. You’re advocating taking a successful city and redo-ing it from top to bottom. That’s just fucking stupid. Bethlehem has done a fantastic job of incremental improvements while keeping its very special character and appeal; there is no need at all for a neutron bomb.

    Go redo a city that needs redo-ing. Maybe someplace in Connecticut could use your help?

    • Jon Geeting says:

      That’s not redoing from top to bottom, it’s doubling down on what’s working, building on existing successes, ending the mistaken planning decisions of the 60’s-90’s, and going all-in on being a city. It’s time to commit to city-style development in the core areas.

      • “Doubling Down” is exactly right – you’re willing to risk it all on a bet. Thank you for being honest.

        No one is that stupid. I know you don’t really understand the ramifications of bad decisions as your solution to everything is to have the taxpayer pay more to bail out bad decisions, but jeez this is just fucking stupid.

        Connecticut man. They need you.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          Not a bet, proven strategies that are working in cities all over the country. Strategies that are working right now in Bethlehem where they’ve been tried.

          • They’re not proven because they have not been tried on the scale you’re outlining. They are unproven and fraught with risk.

            When you get some experience you’ll see that.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            Which ones? I listed like two dozen ideas

          • Your headline states you want all these done in the next 4 years. You do all this in 4 years and you’re rolling the dice like you never have before.

            It’s just fucking stupid to even consider a plan like this.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            Obviously many of these could not be completed in 4 years, but they could be started, or studied, or wherever you need to begin to get the process rolling.

          • Oh good, more studies. That’s productive.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            It says a lot about you that you see the word “studies” as a pejorative.

          • I’ve seen thousands of studies in my lifetime. Easily more then 1/2 contained major flaws.

            The problem is that people commission studies to prove a point, not find out the truth.

            You’re young, naive and look at studies like a baby focuses on a shiny trinket. You’ll see eventually – you probably won’t admit it, but you’ll see. It’s insanity how much money we waste on this stuff and how many bad decisions are made based on these faulty studies.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            I’m fully aware that there are plenty of crap studies out there and am capable of telling the difference between quality analysis and propaganda. The solution isn’t to disparage all studies like some know-nothing buffoon, it’s to demand better studies.

          • Better studies have been demanded since before you were born. What have we gotten? Nothing but more crap studies.

            Sorry, 30+ years of having politicians and consultants shovel crap on you, it wears you out.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            The tools we have to study the impacts of our transportation and land use choices have only gotten better over time. Today’s studies are in fact better, and they keep getting better.

          • Keep telling yourself that and you’ll fail in everything you do.

            Challenge Jon. Ask questions, ask questions on the answers, and don’t let go when you find something fishy.

            You’re too quick to take as gospel a study that states what you believe. That’s hackery.

            I have to think you dropped six figures on your degree. You said it taught you how to think. Put that skill to work. Damn few people do – if you show you can, you’ll be worth your weight in gold.


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