McMahon completed a feasibility study for the City of Allentown to evaluate the traffic operations and feasibility of improvements utilizing modern roundabouts at the complex confluence of Hamilton Street, Front Street, Walnut Street, and Union Street on the west side of the Hamilton Street Bridge in the vicinity of the Lehigh River Waterfront Area within the City of Allentown. Currently, the one-way nature of Front Street, portions of Union Street and Second Street, and the complicated network of grade separated ramps and at-grade intersections, results in driver confusion, a lack of connectivity and accessibility to the Waterfront, and a lack of amenities for bicycles and pedestrians.
Through prior efforts completed by the City, it was determined that this confluence of major roadways is in need of traffic operational and roadway geometry improvements in order to create a sense of place and destination, reduce driver frustration, provide accessibility and multimodal opportunities, and create a gateway and entrance to the Lehigh River Waterfront Area. As summarized in the Lehigh Riverfront Master Plan, the current configuration in this area, referred to as the “Lehigh Landing/Hamilton Gateway”, provides no direct access between Front Street and Union Street, or between Front Street and the Hamilton Street Bridge. The Lehigh Riverfront Master Plan identifies the opportunity for over 140,000 square feet of redevelopment to be accommodated within this zone.
The feasibility study evaluated the traffic operations for various conceptual improvement alternatives, utilizing modern roundabouts to balance the traffic operational needs with the need for street connectivity, accessibility to the Waterfront, and provisions for multimodal travel. Based on input from staff at the City of Allentown, a conceptual plan and feasibility assessment was completed for the alternative that best met the overall goals. For this alternative, the study included roundabout geometry, an evaluation of constructability, and preparation of an engineer’s conceptual opinion of cost.
McMahon facilitated a very successful stakeholder meeting to share the findings of the study, utilizing graphics and sharing educational roundabout materials, and to provide an opportunity for public input from community leaders, waterfront area developers, and area residents and business owners.
Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, through the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.