HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Harrisburg drivers will see workers out on Second Street Thursday facilitating its transition to a two-way street. The change began at noon.
At noon, traffic in each direction turned into one lane, with a turning lane in the middle, from Division to Forster streets.
The two-mile stretch of Second Street started accommodating two-way traffic. For more than 60 years, it had been a one-way street — something people in the area are used to — and for many, the reactions to the changes are mixed.
“We hate this and we don’t understand why they did it, but now that it’s done I’m just happy that it’s over,” resident Betsy Rothrock said.
Rothrock has lived on Second Street for four years and said this whole project has been a headache.
“I don’t know many parking tickets I’ve gotten and I’m not the only one of my neighbors,” she said.
Now that the construction is done, Rothrock is nervous about some of the changes. Many traffic lights were decommissioned in favor of three roundabouts on Verbeke, Reily, and Kelker streets, and raised crosswalks were installed. Rothrock lives right by one of those roundabouts.
“Last week, after they got the roundabouts and the raised crosswalks in, somebody hit my car in the morning,” she said, adding her car was parked on the side of the street.
City officials said those changes are supposed to make things safer.
“Those speed bumps are there for a necessary reason to get you prepared for that pedestrian as you go across,” engineering department project manager Percy Bullock said. “Gives the pedestrians an opportunity to walk across the street clearly, safely.”
The project is part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic accidents resulting in serious injury or death.
Bullock said he knows this is an adjustment and asks drives to be patients.
“As you approach the roundabouts, be cautious and look both ways,” he said.
abc27 asked people in the area what they thought of the new configuration. Some are embracing the change and think it will improve the area, making drivers slow down. Others said they did not think there was an issue, to begin with.
Robert Lawson said the changes do make him feel safer. He lives on Second and Division.
“For the past six years, we’ve dealt with at least annually a car driving through our front yard,” he said. “My next neighbor has lost their front porch several times to vehicles running across their lawns and into cars and houses.”
Lawson said the new traffic pattern has slowed drivers down.
“It makes me feel safe when I’m in my driveway,” he said.
That’s one positive even Rothrock acknowledges.
“This was a drag strip,” she said. “Everything’s going a lot slower, so the cars can see you, drivers can see you as they’re crossing the street.”
Bullock said he does expect some hiccups as everyone gets used to the changes. He said there would be construction crews and police out at roundabouts and major intersections to help drivers get used to the two-way street.