Parking, public safety top concerns with 2nd Street two-way conversion


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Change is coming to a busy corridor in Harrisburg in the form of a two-way street.

North and South lanes are planned for a stretch of Second Street — from Divison to Forster Streets — which only has northbound lanes right now.

Thursday, residents had a lot to say about the planned changes at a public meeting at HACC Midtown, sharing concerns about parking and public safety.

“We’re getting more and more residents in there and less and less parking,” said Second Street resident, Andrew Campbell, who’s lived there for 15 years. “They’ve already taken away spots, painted triangles there, no one knows why and now with these designs that I’m seeing here, we’re losing parking and to me that’s unacceptable.”

Campbell said he is upset that both of the City’s proposed concepts actually cut parking spots.

Concept One has a center turn lane, broken up by pedestrian and landscape islands.

Concept two does not have a center turn lane, but there is a parking-protected bike lane; it’ll be 5-feet wide with a 3-foot buffer between bikes and parked cars, so passenger doors can easily open.

Both designs have mini-roundabouts and improved intersections throughout the corridor, which City Engineer, Wayne Martin, says is traveled by an estimated 10-15,000 cars a day.

“You wanna look at mobility, access and accessibility – that’s both pedestrians and vehicles – and you also look at safety,” Martin said.

Before Thursday’s meeting, Martin said safety is a top priority for the $5.7 million project – $2.9 million will come from PennDOT, $400,000 will come from an Impact Harrisburg grant, the city is putting up $1.6 million and $800,000 is coming from a liquid fuels tax.

The roundabouts, and added crosswalks, Martin explained, will help promote the city’s Vision Zero commitment.

“Sixty-six percent of all crashes, injury and deaths occur on only four percent of our city streets and this [2nd Street] is one of them,” said Martin.

Some residents also expressed concern about the decrease in the size of lanes, and if that, along with several roundabouts, would impede the access and maneuverability of emergency vehicles during a response.

Others are for the two-way conversion but want projected parking spot numbers to increase.

“I have to say that I’m a little bit more concerned now about the bike lane being there even though I would use the bike lane,” said resident, Jennifer Grove, who works and lives on Second.

She’s concerned because the bike line option cuts parking 13%, to 537 spaces from 620, while the center turn lane option cuts parking by 11%, to 550 spaces.

Martin wants more parking, and less speedy drivers.

“Pedestrian safety is a real concern, I think building a better community, slowing people down,” she said.

“I hope they listen to us, I really do, because I live there and I pay taxes and I demand that someone listen to me,” Campbell said.

The City will take the public’s input and make updates over the coming months, with bids expected to go out this winter.

Construction is slated to begin in May 2020, with project completion by November 2021.

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