The sale of the Allentown State Hospital property is an opportunity to kickstart some much-needed mixed-use development along the West Broad St/Hanover Avenue corridor between Bethlehem and Allentown.
NIMBYs like Dennis Pearson hate the idea of this huge property becoming a regional draw, but the fact is that this corridor is underdeveloped. LANTA hasn’t released their Bus Rapid Transit study yet, so I don’t know if this is in the plan, but I’m hoping to see Broad/Hanover become a BRT corridor with a dedicated bus-only lane enabling rapid transit between downtown Bethlehem and Allentown’s new waterfront buildings. Broad/Hanover is a big wide STROAD in most places, so there’s plenty of room for dedicated bus and bike lanes if folks are willing to take down the level of service for cars a bit. A dedicated rapid transit line would allow for substantial upzoning for mixed-use condos, apartments and offices, to grow the passenger base for the new transit line. Hopefully the Allentown State Hospital redevelopment planning process will start a conversation about more infill opportunities on Broad-Hanover.