Garbage Town

I did a ride and two walks yesterday. The ride really boosted my civic pride, but the walks, especially the second one, left me feeling deflated and outraged.

The ride was in the morning, and was a collaboration between CAT and the Bethlehem Historical Society. We rode around town, visiting various historic places (the original Moravian residence halls, the Colonial Industrial Quarters, Sand Island, Burnside Plantation) while our guide Keith told us about what we saw at these places. Some of it I already knew, but plenty was new to me and all of it was interesting. All in all it was a pretty good way to spend an autumn morning.

In the afternoon I decided to go get my flu shot, so I walked over to CVS on 8th Avenue. It’s just under a mile through our neighborhood, and a very pleasant walk, up until I had to leave the neighborhood and walk a short section of 8th Ave that’s basically a highway. What an unpleasant, noisy, and dirty mess! I almost got hit too, when I had to cross the road (at the walk sign) and someone making a left almost ran me down — his green light coincided with my walk signal, a classic WTF design, and I don’t think he saw me, or even looked, until he was practically on top of me.

The second walk was with Anne, a longer version of our evening stroll: we went up Broad and down Main, then crossed the Fahy Bridge, walked through Southside on 3rd and returned to the Avenues via the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. There was a rotting garbage smell in all sorts of odd places, possibly from the most recent “WhateverFest” last week, and overflowing garbage cans (and public drunks) along Main Street from whatever the current circus is; we managed to see — and hear, from really far away — parties or concerts at several public and private venues. On the Hill-to-Hill Bridge we negotiated a gauntlet of broken auto glass, garbage and dog poop while dealing with the obnoxiously noisy traffic just yards away. (Meanwhile, the big bright animated billboard had an ad shining down on us, touting the Lehigh valley as a great place for happy farmers and cyclists.)

It was all a bit much.

Anyway, the quartet is getting together this afternoon, for the first time in maybe a year.