Easton Sustainable Development Project

 
As the Easton area continues to grow in population, the 13th Street Corridor is growing in importance as a commuter route and a primary regional traffic corridor.  The Corridor stretches from Bushkill Drive in the north to Northampton Street in the south.  A 2010 Lehigh Valley Planning North End EastonCommission traffic study revealed that Route 22 was the only road within city limits to carry more traffic per day than the 13th Street Corridor.

In addition to connecting the Easton neighborhoods of College Hill and the West Ward, the 13th Street Corridor forms a key link between Easton and the bordering municipalities of Palmer, Wilson, and Forks.  It functions as the primary western approach to Easton, and as a gateway from the US-22/13th Street interchange.  Rt 22 InterchangeIn addition to these existing roles, the 13th Street Corridor will provide access to the Simon Silk Mill and Karl Stirner Arts Trail.
 
The 13th Street Corridor project seeks to develop a plan that improves this essential route so that it may be:
  • Transportation-equitable: The 13th Street Corridor is currently designed for automotive use, lacking the infrastructure needed to promote pedestrian and bicycle use.  The project plans to redevelop the streetscape according to “complete streets” principles, which lead to streets that effectively cater to all modes of transportation.  These improvements may take the form of sidewalks, traffic calming measures, street trees, etc.
  • Environmentally friendly: The 13th Street Corridor will incorporate principles of green stormwater infrastructure.  Green stormwater infrastructure utilizes the street infrastructure to manage runoff by evaporating some water, returning some water to the ground, and preventing contaminants such as salts and oils from reaching streams.  The results will improve the water quality of the nearby Bushkill Creek; decrease the amount of stormwater entering the sewer system; and control erosion and sediment runoff.
  • Easier to navigate: The 13th Street Corridor features several currently-confusing intersections: with Lafayette Street and Bushkill Drive at the northern end, with Wood Avenue by US-22, and with Northampton Street at the southern end.  Improvements to these intersections, allowing them to be readily negotiated by drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, will be planned as part of the project.
  • More connected: The 13th Street Corridor provides access to two existing community revitalization projects.  The Simon Silk Mill, which will be redeveloped into a regional arts hub, is located along 13th Street.  A trailhead for the new Karl Stirner Arts Trail is additionally located along 13th Street.  This trail will eventually be extended to meet a growing regional trail network, as outlined in the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s Regional Greenways Plan.  The planned improvements to the 13th Street Corridor will keep these two projects readily accessible to City and regional residents.
The 13th Street Corridor project will facilitate increased connectivity between the West Ward, other Easton neighborhoods, and the region.  It will allow for easier access to the mixed-use West Ward, supporting the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership’s ongoing infrastructure improvement programs.
Mid way Easton Easton

The northern portion of Easton features several industrial sites, with the 13th Street Corridor providing the most direct connection from much of the City.  Improvements to the Corridor will provide residents greater access to potential employment within their community, and provide Easton’s industry with greater access to regional transit networks.


In addition to the 13th Street Corridor effort, the City of Easton is focusing work on the Simon Silk Mill site to refurbish and repurpose the multi-acre site.  The 13th Street Corridor effort and Simon Silk Mill effort combine to drive the largest piece of the City of Easton's project-- an update to the City of Easton's Comprehensive Plan.  The current plan was implemented more than a decade ago and requires updating to make the city more sustainable.  The City of Easton's Comprehensive Plan will coordinate with and reflect the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission's Comprehensive Plan...The Lehigh Valley 2030 to support the regional sustainability plan. 

The City of Easton and their partners have been meeting with local residents and organizations throughout 2013 to gather input for the update of Easton's Comprehensive Plan.  Over 800 people have participated already.  The City will be releasing their notes to City Council for review shortly.  A public meeting is planned for July to reveal the goals for the Comprehensive Plan, developed by the public's input.  Stay tuned for exact details!

Comprehensive Plan Rewrite

Easton is currently in the midst of an exciting endeavor to envision its priorities over the next two decades – the Comprehensive Plan Rewrite. A comprehensive plan is a document establishing goals, visions, and principles to guide a municipality’s growth over a timeframe of approximately 20 years. All Pennsylvania municipalities are required by law to adopt a comprehensive plan addressing a range of topics such as land use, transportation, and community facilities.
 
Easton’s current Comprehensive Plan dates to 1997. The Planning Commission has completed a yearly review of the plan since then, offering recommendations to the Planning Bureau and City Council. In 2012, the Planning Commission indicated a need for a new Comprehensive Plan to replace the 1997 plan.
 
The new Comprehensive Plan will be an acknowledgement of Easton’s recent renaissance, offering a compelling vision for a vibrant, sustainable Easton. It will seek to expand upon the economic development successes of the past decade to improve the quality of life of all City residents. The Comprehensive Plan will blend a strong emphasis on preservation of Easton’s historic assets and traditional urban form with the clear acknowledgement of modern usage patterns. It will call for environmentally sound growth that enhances Easton’s distinctive character as a “river town.” Perhaps most importantly, the Comprehensive Plan will set a vision for a consistent, integrated Easton composed of four complete, unique neighborhoods: Downtown, West Ward, South Side, and College Hill.
The Comprehensive Plan Rewrite process is coordinated by the Planning Bureau, with support and oversight from the Easton Planning Commission, the City’s administration, and a community task force. In 2013, Planning staff met with over 800 individuals to discuss their visions for Easton, assembling over 60 pages of valuable suggestions and input. Through a Request for Proposals process, Urban Matrix Architecture & Planning PC was selected as the consulting firm to rewrite the Comprehensive Plan. Urban Matrix will use the information gathered through these meetings to produce a graphically appealing Comprehensive Plan capable of serving as both a policy document and a promotional vehicle for the City.
In 2014, the City, in coordination with Urban Matrix, will collect additional community input and release a draft of the new Comprehensive Plan for public review and comment. The new Comprehensive Plan will be presented to the Easton Planning Commission for approval in the fall of 2014, leading to its projected January 2015 official adoption by Easton City Council.
 
We would like your input on the Comprehensive Plan Rewrite! Take our survey here. SURVEY