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Old 05-05-2008, 08:15 AM
 
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Which town do you feel safer in, Allentown or Harrisburg? Does one offer more family oriented programs? We want to live on the outskirts of one of these areas, but really like to have ammenitie of a larger town/city near by.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:45 AM
 
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Great question but unless someone has actually lived in both places, how can one compare? And what if they lived in one city 20 years ago but now live near the other one? The best thing to do is try to spend some time in both places and see what feels right.

Besides, if you live near Allentown, you also live near Bethlehem and that doubles your city experiences. Guess you know which city I would vote for.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA area
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You can find safe areas in both places. I wouldn't use safety as a main criteria. I am biased but I would choose the suburbs of Harrisburg ("West Shore"). The schools are great, the area is beautiful, close convenient airport and you can drive to Baltimore in a little over an hour.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
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We lived and worked in the Lehigh Valley for almost 25 years. My wife grew up in Elizabethtown (a "suburb") of Harrisburg and her parents maintained a home there until they passed a few years ago. We're pretty familiar with both areas. My vote is for the Lehigh Valley.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familymom View Post
Which town do you feel safer in, Allentown or Harrisburg? Does one offer more family oriented programs? We want to live on the outskirts of one of these areas, but really like to have ammenitie of a larger town/city near by.
You can't go wrong with the suburbs of both areas. Both have wonderful schools are near large cities. The only thing you'll notice is the Lehigh Valley (Allentown area) is more congested. Getting around the Harrisburg area is a lot easier. Also, housing is more expensive in the Lehigh Valley. But there is better shopping there, if that's what you want.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
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We are looking to move to Easter PA, and I'm finding that the area is very beautiful. Surprisingly, there are some decent jobs to be had there as well.
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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Good point about the jobs and how well they pay. Congession is NJ middle name so I may feel overly spoiled if I could get somewhere faster than normal. I think both areas are beautiful and both offer much in the way of good qualities of family fun, that is what makes it so hard to choose one.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
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I grew up about 15 miles from Allentown and lived just outside Harrisburg for nearly 8 years until recently. Both cities have rough areas and both have nice areas too. In terms of downtown living, I'd give the edge to Harrisburg, but I think Bethlehem (5 miles east of Allentown) is better than both. In terms of proximity to bigger cities, both are very good, though Allentown is slightly closer to its "big city neighbors" (Philadelphia and New York) than Harrisburg is to its neighbors (Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, in order of distance). Harrisburg has fairly frequent and fast Amtrak service to Philadelphia and New York (and some bus service to NYC, Philly, Balmer, and DC), while Allentown has extensive bus service to New York and some bus service to Philadelphia; edge Harrisburg. Both places are near the Blue Mountain (the first ridge in the Appalachians), but Harrisburg is closer to more truly rural areas north of the Blue Mountain than Allentown. Harrisburg is better connected via major (4 lane or more) highways than Allentown to both larger urban, comparable urban, smaller urban, and rural areas. Allentown/Lehigh Valley is generally a little more expensive than Harrisburg and I'd say has a slightly higher standard of living (though it is very slight). The Lehigh Valley is a real battleground politically (think the color purple) while the Harrisburg area is fairly conservative (outside the city itself).

IMO, you can't go wrong in either area. I'd personally pick either area (including the rest of the Lehigh Valley with Allentown and the "West Shore" and Hershey areas with Harrisburg) over the rest of the intermediate-sized urban areas in eastern PA (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Reading, Lancaster, and York).
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Scranton
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Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
The only thing you'll notice is the Lehigh Valley (Allentown area) is more congested. Getting around the Harrisburg area is a lot easier. .
I'm not sure about that. I-83 in Harrisburg seems to be a parking lot around rush hour. It must be the idiotic design of that highway, how it narrows to one lane where I-283 splits off from I-83. 322 headed west from I-81 I remember to have some pretty bad traffic as well, but haven;t they rebuilt that stretch of 322? Although I've pretty much never driven through the Lehigh Valley at rush hour, so I wouldn't know how it is there.
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Old 05-06-2008, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,603 posts, read 77,247,404 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKrabs View Post
I'm not sure about that. I-83 in Harrisburg seems to be a parking lot around rush hour. It must be the idiotic design of that highway, how it narrows to one lane where I-283 splits off from I-83. 322 headed west from I-81 I remember to have some pretty bad traffic as well, but haven;t they rebuilt that stretch of 322? Although I've pretty much never driven through the Lehigh Valley at rush hour, so I wouldn't know how it is there.
Route 22 through the Lehigh Valley is a nightmare as well during rush-hour, yet more housing developments in the suburbs feeding into this highway are contiously being rubber-stamped. I never before saw an area that had traffic lights that helped people to get on and off onramps and onramps until I hit the Lehigh Valley. It certainly doesn't seem like the elected officials of the townships surrounding Allentown are very well educated in terms of long-range urban planning or else they'd see the need to ensure that existing infrastructure can meet the needs of anticipated growth BEFORE approving it! Ditto the Poconos, and eventually even our own Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is bound for this as well. Hell, I just got trapped in a traffic jam today on the Cross-Valley Freeway.
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