Becky Bradley: E-commerce key factor driving Lehigh Valley’s growth – Allentown Morning Call

The Lehigh Valley is in a period of great evolution, largely due to the effects of globalization and our unique position in the world economy. Planning for the road, bridge and transit systems, and infrastructure, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission helps connect the region to the New York and New Jersey and Philadelphia metros, the west and, ultimately, the world.

Creating a critical transportation gateway through the seamless web of Interstate 78, Route 22, Northeast Extension of the Turnpike, Route 33 and Interstate 80 is a primary role of the LVPC. This highway system opens opportunities for residents and businesses to move within the Lehigh Valley and between other regions quickly.

A new freight and logistics network is emerging and taking advantage of the highway network and the region’s relative lack of congestion in comparison to the gridlocked roadways around New York City. Significant multimodal connections via the Norfolk Southern rail line and an easily accessible and less congested airspace also drive the growth of cargo into the Lehigh Valley International Airport, cementing the region as the keystone in the New Inland Empire.

In the post-Great Recession era, commercial development is recovering more quickly and more fully than residential development. The total approved non-residential floor area for 2015 increased by 27 percent over the previous year. In 2016, commercial, public and transportation development increased by 141 percent over 2015. In fact, 2016 is the post-recession peak where nearly 9.7 million square feet of non-residential floor area was approved for construction.

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