I am finding it very hard to comprehend how there can be so many cars and trucks traveling around the streets of New Bethlehem these days causing congestion and gridlock when there are so many fewer stores and businesses than there were years ago.

All those gaping holes and most of the parking lots in the downtown area once had a building with a store or business operating in it. The stores and businesses that we are fortunate to have, do not have nearly the volume of customers as in the past. There are no booming industries left in the area.

We still have the same streets with the same width as there was back in the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and into the ‘80s when there were active businesses and industries. I am sure there are some out there that can remember a bustling New Bethlehem back past the 1950s. The daily traffic volume was much greater then than it is today, and not just on Broad Street and Wood Street; there were entrances and access to many businesses on the side streets and alleys as well. No outcry for one-way streets.

Can you imagine the amount of vehicles, plenty of them large trucks, traveling up and down Liberty Street heading for Red Bank Mills when years ago there could have been 10 or 20 times or more the number of dairy farms in the area? How was it possible for that same street with the same width to handle the much-greater traffic volume of the time? No outcry for one-way streets. There were also a couple of milk plants on side streets that were able to handle the added traffic volume and still no outcry for one-way streets.

Think about how large those Lincoln Continentals, Cadillacs, Oldsmobile Delta 88s, Chryslers, Dodges, Pontiacs and more were back in the 1950s and ‘60s. How was it possible for them to travel up and down and pass each other on the same size streets as they are today, Lafayette being one of them? Those senior ladies did not cry out for one-way streets in Newbie so they could get around in their aforementioned cars.

For many years, Skinner Trucking was located on Water Street. Their trucks traveled in and out of Water Street at Broad Street with no problems along with other traffic. There was a structure between Water Street and the creek at the time, making for less visibility than today. No outcry for one-way streets.

About the only time I can see that there is some congestion and gridlock in town is in the morning and afternoon when the convoy of school buses passes through. It only lasts for a few minutes. The bus congestion could be alleviated a lot by completing Vine Street over the Redbank Trail to Arch Street, making it a straight shot from Broad Street past the Eagles Club to the elementary school.

I have been an active member of the New Bethlehem Fire Co. for many years and thus have a scanner in the house monitoring emergency calls. I do not recall hearing police being called to or participating with the fire company at a rash of accidents in the so-called problem areas that the one-way streets are supposed to alleviate.

So, with these few thoughts I say again, I cannot comprehend the need for one-way streets in New Bethlehem. In this case, I believe they would be adding to one’s commute, going round-about the town instead of going direct to the store or business.


New Bethlehem

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