HARRISBURG, Pa (WHTM) — The City of Harrisburg announced on Thursday, Oct. 6 that a two-mile stretch of Second Street through the city’s Midtown and Uptown neighborhoods will transition to two-way traffic starting on Thursday, Oct. 13 at noon.
A press release from Matt Maisel, the director of communications of the city, states that beginning at 12 p.m. on Thursday, Second Street will include southbound traffic from Divison to Forster Streets.
“It goes from a drag strip, which was ugly for everybody involved, all residents, down to a nice smooth residential neighborhood,” project manager Percy Bullock said.
Traffic in each direction will turn into one lane, with a turning lane in the middle. Many traffic lights have been decommissioned, in favor of roundabouts: Verkeke, Reily and Kelker streets respectively. There are also raised crosswalks at these intersections.
“Nobody wants to go over a bump real fast, that doesn’t feel too good. So when you do approach it, you’re going to slow down naturally and there you are,” Bullock said.
Construction on Second Street started in early April and was planned to be complete by late October, or early November. However, the work has been completed weeks ahead of schedule. Some miscellaneous touch-up work will need to be done such as additional line painting and sign installation.
The decision to turn Second Street back into a north-sound neighborhood road has been discussed going back to the 1970s.
“This has been like this for over 50 years, so it’s time to, we’re changing things around, we’re getting up into the new millennium and just slowing traffic, that’s all,” Bullock said.
The project is part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, an effort to eliminate traffic accidents resulting in serious injury or death, including collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Deaths from fatality accidents were climbing up, and the accidents themsel[ves] were climbing up, from vehicles to pedestrians to bicyclists to fellow cars to people jumping into houses in terms of traffic, vehicles going into houses by an accident here on 2nd Street, drunk driving. Those things took place and this would slow it down,” Bullock said.
The city expects some issues in the first few days of the transition. Bullock said construction crews will be out to help address issues of drivers going the wrong way or using the wrong side of the street.