Another step in a major development project in Allentown – the city has officially turned on the traffic lights at Riverside Drive. The lights are at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Hamilton Street and Riverside Drive and Linden Street.
Riverside Drive was first announced in 2015 by The Waterfront Development Company, after its acquisition of 3.5-miles of a former railroad stretching from Union Street in the City of Allentown, north to Race Street in Whitehall Township.
The three-lane roadway was constructed with an adjacent walking and biking pathway, that will help to unite the northern and southern legs of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L Trail).
Riverside Drive was created to help to ease traffic congestion along the adjacent Front Street Corridor and increase pedestrian safety in local neighborhoods as well as increasing access to Route 22 and Whitehall Township.
The roadway was constructed in two phases.
In Phase 01 the roadway was constructed from Union Street to Furnace Street in the City of Allentown. This phase was funded by a mix of private funds from The Waterfront Development Company, a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant, a PennDOT Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant, and a DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant. The total project cost was about $10 million.
The second phase of construction built Riverside Drive and the adjacent walking path from Furnace Street north, thereby increasing access to Route 22 and extending Allentown’s trail network.
In November 2021, The Waterfront Development Company, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the City of Allentown, Lehigh County and other stakeholders successfully applied for and received a coveted federal RAISE Grant.
The $21 million grant allowed for the construction of the new roadway north into Whitehall Township.
Earlier this year, the city in partnership with The Waterfront Development Company, opened the section of Riverside Drive from Furnace Street to Linden Street.